My Favorite Christmas Traditions


When I started this post, I had visions in my head about making cookies with the kids and it being so magical and fun. Well, it wasn’t. I was cranky, the kids weren’t rolling the dough out right, the dough got too warm so it wouldn’t lift up easily, and my photographer (my husband), was really irritating me and not getting the photos I wanted. The longer it went on, the worse my mood got and there was no turning back. My kids were trying to be so sweet and said “this is such a fun activity mom”, but I knew they were just trying to be nice. In actuality, I had ruined the activity because I envisioned perfection and it wasn’t turning out how I wanted. But that’s what Christmas is all about right? There’s a Christmas movie (and I can’t for the life of me remember which one it is) where someone says “Moms don’t ENJOY, they give JOY”. Ain’t that the truth.

I was planning on writing a post about fun family holiday traditions and when I sat down to write it, I realized….I hate this tradition. πŸ™‚ If I’m completely honest, I do it all for the kids and for the photos. I am not a very patient person and I do not like chaos (which is exactly what helping two kids make sugar cookies is while losing precious light in your kitchen). As you can tell from the photos above, we rolled out the dough, cut the shapes and that was it. I baked them in the oven and called it a day. There wasn’t any decorating, nor were there any magical memories being made.

As I reflected on today, I learned a couple of things. First, to be more prepared. I thought I was prepared, but clearly I wasn’t. I tried to squeeze too many things in during our weekend and therefore we didn’t have enough time for our activity (which led to me being cranky). Secondly, I need to keep my frustrations inside so I don’t ruin their experience. All too often, I lose my cool, yell at my kids, and regret it later.

On a happier note, there are lots of traditions that I quite enjoy during the holidays and I want to share them with all of you. It’s been fun incorporating traditions that Erik and I had growing up into our holidays every year and creating new ones for OUR little family. Last year, we went to a Catholic (we’re not even Catholic) Christmas Concert that I had been dying to get tickets for and it was amazing. I made a mental note in my head that I want to do this every year, so I hope it sticks, because it was wonderful. Another tradition of ours is that the kids get three gifts under the tree on Christmas. We’ve told them that Jesus was given three gifts, so they get the same. They get one present from my husband and I, one from their sibling, and one from Santa (Santa also puts stuff in their stocking though). This has been an easy way to limit the gifts so things don’t get too out of hand. Some other traditions that we enjoy are:

Visiting Santa (in the kids fancy Christmas outfits)

Picking out one Christmas ornament (something that represents a fun vacation or memory from that year)

Seeing Jack (our elf) arrive every December 1st with a present to kick off Christmas (their pjs or ornament)

Delivering gifts to our friends and neighbors

Watching Christmas movies (Home Alone, Elf, and Christmas Vacation are our favorites)

Attending our church party (we did this yesterday and it was a lot of fun)

Eating warm scones and drinking hot chocolate

Looking at the Temple Square lights in downtown Salt Lake

Going to The Grand America hotel and seeing their holiday window display

Taking family portraits

Decorating gingerbread houses

Visiting our local library and checking out Christmas books

Writing and mailing a letter to Santa

Going sledding (if there is snow)

Visiting Santa’s reindeer (if we can find them at a tree lot)

Making a holiday craft (Michael’s has great foam crafts that are cheap)


Sometimes traditions stick and sometimes they don’t and that’s okay. Who knows, maybe making sugar cookies with an irritated mother will be a funny memory the kids will remember years from now. Or, maybe I can make a positive change and it will be a wonderful memory for both of them. They’re still pretty young so I may have a fighting chance. πŸ™‚

I would love to hear what some of your holiday traditions are so please comment below!


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