Christmas has always been my favorite holiday and I’m excited to really be able to introduce James to it this year.
We’ve been spending Christmas in Park City with my in-laws for as long as Andrew and I have been dating. And i can’t wait to head there tomorrow. It really hasn’t felt like Christmas that much this year – we are going out early this year, so we decided to skip the trees, cookies, presents and Santa trauma until we get there so other than the occasional holiday party, I almost forgot Christmas was less than a week away.
When we get there, I can’t wait to trim the tree, attempt to make my moms famous Christmas cookies, take some pics with Santa who always stops by Deer Valley on Christmas Eve, and of course, open presents, go to lots of fun holiday parties and ski and sled. We’re hoping we’ll get a white Christmas so James can play in the snow and maybe try skies on for the first time (or at least sled).
Growing up, we always celebrated Christmas Eve with my dad’s parents and my parents and then spent Christmas Day opening santa presents and celebrating with my moms family, so I want to make Christmas Eve special for James too that can be our Utah tradition: baking cookies to leave out for Santa, some sledding (night skiing or skating when he’s older)and fireside dining (a super fun experience at our favorite ski resort) with his grandparents. Oh yeah, and of course, we’ll be wearing our matching pajamas and taking pictures by the tree, a tradition I plan to force my family to participate in for endless years to come.
On Christmas morning, we love to have a big breakfast, ski and then help my in-laws set up for a huge dinner with family and friends. I love helping to decorate the table and plan the seating chart and get dressed up for the festivities. There’s always lots of good food, wine and fun conversation and even after dinner games. Every year, my in laws get a giant Smithfield ham from Virginia that gets devoured over Christmas and is a fun staple I love seeing out with the appetizer spread (even if I don’t eat ham).
There are other traditions I love like hot chocolate and cookies after skiing, meeting up for lunch on the ski slopes with all our friends, an annual movie outing (which has become Star Wars) with our good friends, shopping on Main Street, and hitting up some annual parties that are always sure to be way too much fun.
In case you’re trying to think of holiday traditions or Christmas activities to do with your family, here’s my list of faves from my own family or that I’ve been introduced to by other families:
1. Matching Pajamas
2. Christmas Day family ski
4. Ice Skating
5. Go see the big movie of the holiday season
6. Caroling (fun fact: we love going to the same caroling Christmas party on the Upper East Side each year and yes, everyone gathers around and sings and it’s delightful)
7. Visiting Santa
8. Baking Christmas cookies
9. Volunteering at a shelter or soup kitchen or toy drive
10. Family holiday photos (for the holiday card or just to have — you really never regret spending this money or time)
11. Writing Christmas letters to Santa
12. Elf on a Shelf (I actually don’t get this tradition yet, but I’m told I will)
13. Opening Santa gifts Christmas morning
14. After-Christmas Dinner Games (We love Apples to Apples but anything from Scrabble and Charades to Monopoly could be fun)
15. Polar Bear Swim (or I supposed just a swim if you celebrate someplace warm)
16. Christmas morning hike or run (I like to do this on Thanksgiving too and get some exercise in before the gluttony)
17. Smithfield Ham (a favorite of my husband’s family and prepping and carving it is half the fun)
18. Advent Calendar
19. Reading Christmas stories
20. Drive around to look at Christmas lights
21. Decorating the tree
22. Shop for toys to donate to families in need for the holidays
25. Hot chocolate and Christmas movies in pajamas (favorites of mine are Elf, Home Alone, The Polar Express, Charlie Brown Christmas and The Family Man)
27. Hot cocoa bar
28. Pick out the tree
29. Decorate gingerbread houses (a blogger I love has an annual gingerbread house decorating party, which I plan to try next year because doesn’t that sound like so much fun?)
30. Make your own Frosty the snowman