Monday, November 22, 2010

12 Days of Christmas/Christmas Holiday Traditions-Day 1

Over the past couple of days, I have been reading blogs that have different "blog parties".  I have never heard of them before but I participated in one the other day, click here, and it introduced me to a whole new group of blogs.

This morning I received a blog from my friend, Holly, about different family Christmas traditions.  This link party is being hosted by The Fushcia News

Here are the days:

Day 1: Christmas/Holiday traditions
Day 2: Black Friday/General Shopping Tips & Tricks
Day 3: Most meaningful gift/best gift you've received
Day 4: Tips/Tricks to a Budget Friendly holiday season
Day 5: Favorite Holiday Movie/TV Show Special
Day 6: Gift ideas (what do YOU want? We all have family/friends reading our let them know!)
Day 7: Holiday Craft/DIY (If you don't make anything, what do you WISH you could make?)
Day 8: Least favorite thing about the Holidays
Day 9: Favorite Holiday recipe
Day 10: Favorite Christmas Songs/Caroles
Day 11: New Year Resolutions
Day 12: Show us your decorations (indoor/outside)
Day 13: Favorite Cookie Recipe
Day 14: Oprah's Favorite Things: What item(s) would you want if you were in the audience?

Our Christmas holiday tradition begins on Thanksgiving night with the reading of The Elf on the ShelfOur elf's name is Chuckie.  He starts arriving the day after Thanksgiving and appears every morning until Christmas morning.

When I was growing up we always opened up our Christmas presents on Christmas Eve and then got up early to go to my Grandma Hendrix's house for a day of family.  As we got older, things changed.  My sister's husband's family did their Christmas on Christmas Eve and then my husband's family did his Christmas on Christmas Eve.  With all of the confusion and frustration, my mom decided a couple of years ago that her Christmas would always be the Sunday before Christmas day.  We've done it for the past 2-3 years and it has worked out great because it makes Christmas last longer than just one day.

My mom's Christmas is very chaotic.  There are 5 kids and 6 adults at her house.  It is usually pretty loud and we destroy the place.  We don't have a formal meal but just plenty of appetizers, sandwiches, and usually a meat tray.

Here are the kids from last 2009.  My niece, Alison, is holding Caleb.  Then my nephew Aidan, GracieAnn then Kanin.

On Christmas Eve we get dressed up and go to church and then to my sister-in-law, Debbie's, house.  Christmas outfits are a big deal around here and I search long and hard to find matching ones.  We used to go out to Debbie's house around 5:00 and eat, do presents and then go to church.  Last year, though, Debbie and her husband, David, moved to a new house in the city and started attending a new church.  We decided to try out early church and it was perfect!  We are going to do it again this year.  Church around 4:00 then over to Deb and Dave's to eat and open presents.  Then, home to do Santa.  The last couple of years Santa and Mrs. Claus have been getting in bed around 3:00am and were so tired the next day.

In Scott's family, it is a tradition for each individual family to take a picture in front of the Christmas tree.  Then, we take one big huge picture with everyone in it.

We buy gifts for all kids under the age of 18 or who are still in school.  Up until last year, the adults drew names and we bought gifts for that person.  This year, though, there are so many of us spread out.  One nephew is in Afghanistan.  Another nephew will be here this year but is normally in San Dieg (last year he was in Iraq).  A niece lives in Chicago and her mom and step-dad go up to do Christmas with them.  Another niece has to split time between our Christmas and her husband's Christmas.  It was just so chaotic.  We decided that this year if you are going to be at Deb and Dave's house then just bring a $15-$20 gift card and we will do a drawing for those.  This way if any extra friends, boyfriends, etc decide to tag along, they can participate, too.
 Here is our picture from 2009. 

After having Christmas Eve with the Westerhold's, it is back to our house to put the kids to bed and to do Santa Claus.  This is always such a fun time for the two of us.

Here is our tree from last 2009

Christmas morning is sweet.  The kids don't really know what to think when they walk in and see all of the toys under the tree. 

After opening gifts at home, we get dressed and head to the Ameristar Casino for the Christmas brunch.  The Ameristar has a great brunch every Sunday but their Christmas brunch is over the top.  We started this a few years ago because I did not want to cook on Christmas!  It is an open invitation to the whole family and we usually meet around noon.  We usually are so stuffed from this one meal that it ends up being a fend for yourself kind of dinner later on that night.

After brunch, we go back home and play with our toys, watch football, take naps and just enjoy being together!


  1. Your family is gorgeous! Love all your traditions. I NEED to get The Elf on the Shelf asap before Friday!

    Thanks so much for joining the blog challenge!

  2. You have lost a lot of weight since that last Christmas picture!!

    Great pictures. :)

  3. You have some great traditions! Your Christmas is going to be amazing!