Thursday, December 5, 2013

Our Family Christmas Traditions

Man, oh man have I missed blogging.  It just feels so, so good to be back!  But you want to know what one of my most favorite things about blogging is?  A good 'ol link-up!  So, when my girl Holly announced this fun, festive link up, I just knew that I had to join in.

My immediate family (Mom, Dad, Sister and Brother) always had the same traditions every. single. year when we were growing up, and I loved every second of it.  As I've said before, both sides of my family (Mom's three siblings, their kids and parents and Dad's three siblings, their kids and parents), all lived/live within 15 miles of each other, so we always got together to celebrate Christmas with both sides.  Christmas Eve was always spent going to church, then heading to Grandma and Grandpa Rodehorst's (My Mom's side) eating, singing Christmas Carols, and opening presents before heading home to get some shut eye before Santa came that night.

Then, Christmas morning, us 3 kids were always up at the crack of dawn, (sometimes all sleeping in the same room just so we would all wake up at the same time) before running into Mom and Dad's room waking them up before we headed into the living room to see what Santa had left us.  We would spend the morning opening gifts, eating breakfast, watching Christmas movies that we got in our stockings and playing with whatever new toys/gadgets we had gotten.  Then, later that night, we would all head to Grandma and Grandpa Went's (My Dad's side) to eat supper, open presents, and hang out until we couldn't stay awake any longer.  

Those years bring back soooo many wonderful memories and for some reason, as I typed that out, I couldn't control the tears streaming down my face.  I loved every single minute of the Christmas season, and I want those same feelings to be passed down to my own little family.  Aaron and I have tried really hard to come up with some fun, family traditions that can be carried on from year to year.  Madden is at the age where he is really starting to understand what is going on, so this Christmas is probably going to be my favorite one yet.  His innocence is so amazing, I just can't wait to experience this season with him this year.  Here's a peek into what our "new" Christmas traditions look like:
I am kind of a freak when it comes to decorating our home for Christmas.  It takes a lot of work to get everything set up to just enjoy it for a couple weeks, so I typically set up the decorations the week before Thanksgiving so we actually can enjoy the blood, sweat and tears beauty of it all!  We blast Christmas music on the stereo, and dance around while trimming the tree.
Then, all season long, Madden sleeps in Christmas jammies, we read Christmas stories every night before bed and be sure to watch at least a couple Christmas movies a week.  Some of our favorites being "Elf", "The Santa Clause", and "Home Alone".  Just this year, we introduced the Elf of the Shelf concept into our house.  It has seriously been sooo much fun watching Madden come down the stairs every morning to see what "Randy" has been up to the night before.  It's definitely a tradition that will be carried on from year to year!
Christmas Eve is spent heading back to my parent's house late morning, where we eat dinner, open presents, and hang out before heading to church as an entire family that night.  Then, we still head to my Grandma's house to spend that evening the way we always have for the past 27 years of my life; eating, singing Christmas carols and now watching the great grandkids open up the gifts!

Now, call us crazy, but Aaron and I pack Madden up and head back to our house that night, usually not getting home until after 11 at night.  But we made the decision right before Madden's first Christmas that we want him to wake up in his own bed on Christmas morning.  And we have never regretted that decision!

Christmas morning is spent seeing what Santa left Madden, opening up gifts from Mommy and Daddy, eating breakfast (usually a crockpot breakfast casserole) before getting dressed and ready to head back to Columbus.

Ever since Aaron and I started dating, clear back in 2002, I have spent my Christmas Day with his family.  This is a tradition that is still ongoing as we get there late morning, eat monkey bread, divvy up the mountains of presents, sit in a circle and one by one, we each open up our gifts.  We usually let the kids (all six of them) go first, we take a break to eat lunch, then we continue on with the adults.  After that all day event, we just hang out, snack, and play games until we turn around and head back home that night.  

Whew!  If you are still reading this, I applaud you for hanging on through that all!  Our traditions may have changed a tiny bit throughout the years, but the traditions are still there, none the less!  I can't wait to celebrate this season with the ones I love.  And remembering now, more than ever, that Jesus is the Reason for the Season.
Until next time...


  1. Love all your traditions and I also have those fond "teary" memories from when I was a kid! I will treasure those days and memories forever!

  2. Love it! My tradidions were really long too! Your fireplace and Christmas tree look so beautiful! I can't wait to have little ones and see that excitement and innocence! Enjoy!

  3. I'm totally with you on the kids waking up in their own house Christmas morning… my family is 2 hours away and the Hubs' family is an hour away, but we also make the late night drive so that can happen for our kids!

  4. I loved reading about your traditions!
    I am an army brat and was not close to my extended family at all, so I am just used to my parents and sister. Luckily we are all within an hour and MY kids do have grandparents.

    We also made the decision to have our intimate christmas at home before starting the trek to the grandparents house. I love our little celebration before the big fun with everyone at grandmas.

  5. Hi Jenna, I just happened by your blog. Love your tree. It's so nice to see family's continue with the same traditions they grew up with plus add some of their own. Thanks for sharing, Happy Holidays.
    I'm a new GFC friend. Connie@

  6. Your tree with the fireplace looks like a picture from a magazine! :)

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