Every time I say "traditions" I can't help but think of the Fiddler on the Roof song, and I kind of have to say it twice.
Jon & I got married just over two years ago, but this will be our 3rd Christmas together. We have similar types of families, but we have very differing traditions. Part of the joy (and challenge) for the two of us, has been deciding what traditions we will use in our own families. While for now its just the two of us, I'm pretty BIG on Christmas & celebrate it the whole month of December... OK, and November too. Anyway, just wanted to let you know some of our joint Christmas traditions, because I love hearing it from others too.
Friday after Thanksgiving:
This is the day my family has always devoted to "deck the halls." We bring out the tree(s), all the ornaments, stockings, villages, etc. The holiday music is turned all the way up, singing is mandatory. We spend all day not only putting things up, but also rummaging through and remembering how much we loved that ornament, or remembered that picture. Its so fun, and helps us truly ring in the holiday.
All Month Long:
We are always listening to Christmas music. The good ones: Dean Martin, Elvis Presley, Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Natalie Cole, Doris Day, Judy Garland, etc. This kind of overwhelmed Jon, it was too much festivity, so I've had to tone it down with him. Playing for the most part when he's at work, or just a little bit at night instead of 24/7. But he's also made compromises for me, when we drive to see family, or even just to the grocery store, he'll tune it to a Christmas station. I'm really lucky like that.
During month of Christmas
Jon's mom has this amazing tradition of making delicious candies with family. It all started with Derin & her grandmother. After Jon's great grandmother died, Derin continued the tradition with her siblings, and as they each began having families of their own, the party grew. Last year we had about 40 people in the Rodriguez home... no joke! It was insane, chocolate & frosting was everywhere, and I think everyone was a little hyper from the sugar fumes. Those delicious candies were not only a joy to eat, or share with neighbors, but it was also such a treat (no pun intended) to be together as a family.
Jon's family has a program they do every Christmas Eve which is devoted to Christ's birth & why He came to Earth. Its titled "The Promise" and Derin wrote it. The script is so simple, pulling its truth from scripture and adding to its sweetest with well known hymns. It was such a sweet reminder of the real reason we celebrate. We often get so wrapped up in the silly little traditions, that we forget why its important. This year we read this with my parents, both sets. It was so moving, and meant so much to Jon. I'm so grateful for his example of celebrating the holiday around Christ.
This one was a little difficult. We both have Christmas morning food traditions that we feel very strongly about (lets be honest about it, we feel strongly about food in general) Every Christmas my mother would make her famous Christmas granola. Its so so so good. Its a huge processes. It takes pretty much all day, but the end result is worth it. Fun fact about this, its a recipe that is completely secret & has been passed down to the women in the family, never to be shared.
So every Christmas morning we would unwrap presents and eat milk & warm granola. My mouth is watering just at the thought.
So, Jon's family also has a delicious family tradition. Christmas morning was fresh Tamales & Over Easy Eggs! It's seriously SOOOO good together. Last Christmas I had this with Jon & his family. They don't hand make the Tamales, but purchase them from the amazing chefs that sell them in the city, those things are amazing.
As you may have guessed, this caused a delema between our two breakfast favorites. The compromise? We have Christmas EVE granola instead of morning. I feel that its a perfect compromise. We'll all enjoy something sweet and milky before bedtime anyway, and those tamales are so good, cuz you're so hungry Christmas morning from opening all those lovely gifts.
This one is fun, because we both have traditions that do not affect the other, but just enhance it. My mother made all of us these adorable Bucilla stockings. I have already continued the tradition. My stocking is an angel, and Jon's is Santa on a motorcycle (funny I made that even before we got the Harley). They take a lot of time, but I really enjoy sewing them.
Jon's family has always put an orange in the toe of the stocking. They said it was from Jon's grandpa, Renee Rodriguez, grew up in Anaheim California, and his family didn't have much, but they always had an orange on Christmas. I love these two traditions.
There is really so many more that I could mention, but I just don't have the time. These are the really big ones, the ones I remember the most throughout the rest of the year. I'm so grateful for an understanding husband who puts up with "the crazy Quinn women Christmas" as he puts it (Quinn is my mother's maiden name, my grandmother & all my aunts have always loved Christmas). How lucky I am to afford a beautiful apartment, and music, decorations, and presents?