This year Husband and I are celebrating our second Christmas together. Right now, life is full of flux. We ebb and flow, we try to keep up, we try to slow down. Husband has had four different jobs since we married just over a year ago and I have gone from part-time work/full-time student to full-time work/part-time student. We have moved, added a puppy to our home, and so much more.
That said, Christmas is hardly “established” in our little family. And I am determined not to force us into establishing all of our Christmas traditions all at once just because of my inexplicable fervor for holiday traditions.
When we were dating, we made a gingerbread house together. We did so again last year, on the day we brought our puppy home (hence the name “Ginger”), and we made another one this year. It’s a lovely tradition–fun and not too difficult, great to do with other couples or families or whatever.
Last year we traveled all the way to the mountains to cut down a real Christmas tree (we went to the Blue Ridge mountains about 3.5 hours away from our coastal city), and we did it again this year. The smell of fresh pine in the house is divine!
We have gone to visit “the lights” every year. When we were dating it was the lights on the boardwalk at the beach. Every year they do a big lights display and close the boardwalk in the evenings so cars can drive down it. Last year we went to Norfolk Botanical Gardens where we were delightfully impressed by the array of lights as we drove through the park. We’re planning to go again this year, hopefully with Husband’s brother and Husband’s brother’s fiancee. Someday we’ll get up to Busch Gardens for their Christmas celebration, we’ve heard it’s truly inspired. It also costs about $25 a person and we are, after all, poor newlyweds.
And we gave each other (sort of) a chick for Christmas. It’s a great way to give without adding clutter and unnecessary consumerism to your life. Instead of stuff, you can give a gift that can truly change a life, and help children escape the cycle of poverty and hunger. Learn more at World Vision.
This year we’re adding baking gingerbread men to our list. Husband loves gingerbread men decorated with Royal icing, and I have never made them (although I bake an array of other Christmas cookies), so I agreed to make them if he helps =). We’re going to work on them this weekend…
And I asked Husband to make crepes on Christmas Eve (he hasn’t made them since we were dating, and I do love crepes).
We have also brought over a few traditions from our childhoods, and modified them to fit us. I LOVE having grapefruit on Christmas morning, so Husband preps one for me =). And last year we started having fondue for Christmas dinner; my family used to have it on Christmas eve. We attend the Christmas eve service at church. We visited a few train stores this year and bought a little building; my family used to spend an entire day building new model pieces for our train set (and we received a train and track from my parents as a Christmas gift last year which Ginger somehow feels the need to attack).
Now that we have these traditions established and a few modified, I’m looking for additional unique ideas that will work for our crazy, delightful little life.
We’ve talked about celebrating the 12 days of Christmas (like they do in parts of Europe), but I haven’t been able to find a lot out about those traditions, it seems they are as varied as the groups of people who celebrate Christmas.
Last year, we received several ornaments as gifts (apparently it’s popular to give “First Christmas” ornaments to newlyweds). If we don’t receive one this year, we might have to go in search of one. Having at least one ornament from every year can be fun. I have them from my entire childhood.
We’re working toward decorating our tree together. Last year Husband was so busy with work that I did the decorating alone. But this year we managed to do it together by working on it in stages: putting up the tree one night, hanging lights another night, adding ornaments on a third night, etc. Maybe someday we’ll be able to do it all at once!
Maybe we’ll get to take Ginger on a special walk Christmas day…last year it snowed Christmas evening and we were able to take a walk on the beach in the snow! Unfortunately, white Christmases here are rare.
And who knows what other lovely traditions will join our repertoire over the next few years? I’m looking forward to every minute of it…