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She'sWrite: Making New Christmas Traditions for Our Family

Logan’s preschool sometimes gives him “homework” assignments, which always means after school work for mum and dad too. This week we had to do a piece on our family’s Christmas traditions and it got me thinking, what are our traditions?

The columnist's son Logan helps decorate their tree.Our family is still pretty young and small, so we don’t have a lot of them yet, largely because this is our first Christmas at home. But that’s one of the cool things about having your own family, you get to start your own traditions, do things your way.

I looked back on my childhood to see, what did we do? Three things popped into my mind.

Baking Christmas goods for the neighbors. I grew up in a cul-de-sac and all the neighbors would swap treats. I remember loving to make homemade sugar cookies, mostly because I like eating icing. Also mom’s peanut clusters, were beyond yummy.

Christmas light drives. My mom, dad, my sister and I would get in the car and drive around looking at people’s crazy holiday light displays. The local newspaper would print out the best houses in various neighborhoods which we’d use as a guide to the spectacular shows. The most packed display was the Kirby’s house. There wasn’t a square inch of their yard that wasn’t blazing, singing or dancing to spread Christmas cheer.

Opening Gifts. We use to pick one gift to open on Dec. 24 and then tear into the rest of our packages on Dec. 25. The Dec. 24 gift had to be picked carefully, you didn’t want to open it up and find a lame sweater, but you also didn’t want it to be your “big” gift.

I think we’ll carry at least two of those traditions to our family. Though I vow to make Christmas cookies each year, I’ve not done so in the past three years. But wait, I’ve still got time this year! Not quite ready to break cookie promises quite yet.

Also, even before Logan was born, Hubby and I would drive around looking at people’s Christmas lights. For me it was nostalgia, for Hubby (who’s Norwegian) it’s bearing witness to the stereotype of how over-the-top Americans can be. Though he’s increasingly becoming one of us, this year our display grew in that we got a 4 foot tall inflatable Santa/Christmas tree/Snowman combo. We don’t have the Kirby’s house, but it’s a good display.

As far as opening one gift on Dec. 24, I’m not sure how to deal with that, Hubby and I will probably play that by ear. In Norway, Santa Clause comes late on Dec. 23, so that on the morning of Dec. 24 the kids tear open their presents. It kinda makes sense though for him to spread the gift-giving out over two nights instead of packing the deliveries into one.

What about you? What are your traditions?

She’sWrite is the pen name of a journalist who commutes daily into the Loop from the home she shares in the northwest suburbs with her charming, 3-year-old son and endearing Norwegian husband. Every Wednesday on Go West Young Mom, you’ll find her musings about being a mom, career woman, wife and friend, and the crazy juggling act in this curious circus that we call life. She publishes several times a week on her own blog, also called She'sWrite, and you can subscribe there to get email notifications of new posts.

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