Our Holiday Traditions

Tommy and I have been married almost 6 years, enough time to get some solid holiday traditions going on consistently. But now... here's Sunday! And it's a whole new ballgame! Here are a few of the traditions we've kept around and some new ones we started now that we have some offspring of our own. :)

1. New PJs every year at Christmas. For the first three years of this tradition, everything went pretty smoothly. But then Tommy said "Liz, I really don't need anymore pajama pants." But, I insisted! "No, this is going to be A TRADITION!" So he went with it for a while and by this year (year 5), I started to understand what he was saying. While the tradition itself is a simple, fun idea... we weren't growing. We were just collecting more pajama pants every year. Our drawers were full!

But... now there's Sunday. And I get it. The PJs we buy her this year will most definitely not fit her next year. And so, we have decided to move the tradition to buying PJs for our children and no longer for one another. I love it, though. The PJs will be something the kids can open on Christmas Eve and wear Christmas morning.

2. A new ornament for each person every year. I love, love this tradition!

Tommy has also tried to veto this tradition and it wasn't until this year that I recognized why. He is not the biggest fan of Christmas so you will probably never catch him decorating the Christmas tree. Of course, as I am hanging each and every ornament on the tree, I reminisce about the memories of years past. But he's missing this!

The VT ball ornament was the first one I ever bought for him and the Oak Island ornament represents the Christmas Day we spent at the beach (one of the best Christmas' ever!). There are so many memories wrapped up in each ornament and it's awesome to have that time of reminiscing, even if I'm doing it alone right now.

At this point, all Tommy sees is that we have started a collection of ornaments and perhaps we don't need anymore. I can understand that. Especially being someone who likes to simplify. But, I like traditions more than a minimalist lifestyle. Plus I'm a mom and I feel like it's my job to create these traditions and happy memories for my children. So this tradition is here to stay. :)

3. No Jesus in the nativity scenes. Alright, this is a new one.

Realistically Jesus does not appear in the nativity scene until Christmas Day, right? So we have him put away right now and when Christmas morning comes, Sunday will help us put baby Jesus where He belongs.

I am looking forward to this becoming the very first thing that we do together Christmas morning: setting baby Jesus out in the nativity scenes. It's one small reminder (of many I hope to incorporate) to help us remember what this holiday is all about.

4. Envelope Advent Calendar. I started this tradition a few years ago, and if I'm honest with you, it's definitely turned more into decor than an activity.

I used to hang these little envelopes along twine with mini clothespins (look at me all ahead of the trends so long ago!). They were super cute with the fun patterns on the envelopes. (I made the envelopes with Christmas scrapbook paper.)

Inside of the envelopes are little slips of papers with activities on them. They are mostly designed around date nights since I created the calendar when it was just the two of us. I kind of like that it's centered around marriage and dates... but since we barely even participate anymore, I will be changing the activities to reflect a family with a toddler. I've been looking through this pinterest board for some fun ideas.

5. Words. I don't know how much this is tradition or just personal preference. I decorate for the holidays with words. The only non-gifted ornaments on our tree are words. I love to remember the season for what it is... peace, joy, celebration. Here are a few pictures of the words around our house during this season:

So, those are our family traditions as of now. I look forward to creating more memories and traditions in the future. Especially doing things like driving around and looking at Christmas lights, hot chocolate on Christmas morning, and bringing in a Jesse Tree.

Okay - I'm off! It's Christmas Eve! I hope you have a wonderful holiday!!

Liz Cook

Liz Cook is a wedding, birth, and motherhood photographer based in Central Virginia. Her intuition and creative perspective allow her to connect both professionally and personally with her subjects, and thus, her portfolio is saturated with authentic emotion. Whether she's sharing her story with fellow entrepreneurs or enjoying quality time with her husband and two daughters, Liz is both present and passionate about capturing and celebrating life. Her work has been featured by O "Oprah" Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Glitter Guide, Essence Magazine, domino, Rue Magazine, among others.