This year, we began the season hosting a family gift exchange at our home. A couple of years ago we started a family tradition where all of the adults in the family participate in a secret santa gift exchange. As for the children in the family, they receive presents from everyone. It's actually quite fun and allows you to spend a little more on one person, instead of getting everyone cheaper gifts. We had two very creative gifts given this year. One was a $50 bill frozen in a chunk of ice - "cold, hard cash". The second was a series of dollar store gifts wrapped and numbered in a box. Each gift came with instructions. Needless to say it drove the recipient a little crazy and kept them guessing! Then at the end, they received their real secret santa gift.
When we had Little Man, we started a tradition of watching a Christmas movie each night leading up to Christmas in December. The list included classics like "It's a Wonderful Life" and "A Christmas Story", comedies like "Elf" and children's movies such as "Frosty the Snowman" and "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer". For us, it's a fun time to watch movies that we really only get to enjoy once a year, and gives us the opportunity to share them with Little Man.
This tradition started with Mav's family. Christmas eve they would always celebrate with a mexican themed meal - tacos, enchiladas, lasagna (this stuff is delicious... it's like an enchilada but layered like lasagna). We're not really sure why this tradition started, but most years when we gather on Christmas Eve, someone will cook up a delicious mexican meal.
The Three Trees
Before opening gifts on Christmas eve, our family will read "The Three Trees" as well as the Christmas story from the book of Luke. It's a great way to refocus on the reason why we are celebrating, rather than just on the gifts.
Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning
Growing up, my family always opened gifts on Christmas morning. Mav, on the other hand, always opened presents on Christmas Eve. When it was just the two of us, we didn't really pay attention to those traditions. Now that we have Little Man, we've decided to open presents on Christmas morning. I don't think that we necessarily put a lot of thought into it. It just sort of fit into our schedule. Although, apparently there are a lot of people who open gifts Christmas even as opposed to the following morning.
What are some of your favorite holiday traditions that you do at home? Are you a family that celebrates Christmas eve or morning? Or do you have a separate tradition altogether?
Did anyone celebrate "Thanksgivukkah"? Did you know that this year Thanksgiving and Hanukkah fell on the same day for the first time in 125 years?!