Christmas Traditions

The best way to spread Christmas cheer (besides singing loud for all to hear) is to partake in your family’s favorite traditions. These are the little things that just make the holiday meaningful for you. These are the little things that your family talks about and looks forward to all year long!

– Decorations –

As soon as Thanksgiving dinner is cleared from the table, Christmas decorations are a go in the McGraw house! Usually, we wait until Black Friday to bring out the decorations, but this year it was Thanksgiving night when my mom and I dragged the huge boxes filled with Christmas tree up the basement stairs!

We build our tree one branch at a time. When I was younger, I remember having a real Christmas tree, but I also remember how much my mom disliked vacuuming the pine needles ha! I guess that is part of the real tree charm. 🙂 When I was 10 or 11, my parents found a 9 foot tall artificial tree on major clearance after Christmas. They were sold on this huge tree when they also found a rotating base to put the tree in. So we decorate all sides of the tree because it spins!

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When we moved to our current house five years ago, we started decorating a tree in the game room, too. This tree holds all the homemade ornaments that don’t make it on the tree in the family room upstairs. 🙂

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I always have some kind of tree in my bedroom. This one was pink, if you couldn’t tell. 😉 When we were younger, we had little green trees that were about this size with M&M character ornaments. We called them our M&M trees! Now, I am actually really sad, because I don’t know what happened to the M&M trees ha!

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I spend Christmas (and the days leading up to Christmas) at my mom’s house, but I still like to decorate my apartment. This is a picture of my apartment in college! I still have that tree but it is in storage at home and since I flew home for Thanksgiving, I wasn’t able to travel with any of my decorations…so now my current roommate is talking about buying a new tree. We must!

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I also did this to my fridge a few years ago. What, you don’t have random colors of construction paper on hand? #teacherproblems

– Desserts –

Pizzelles are our FAVORITE holiday treat to bake. The first set of pizzelles always turns out like that. Stuck to the iron! I like to make a big batch and put them in cute Christmas bags as a little treat at school or work for friends or coworkers.

We also love to bake my Grandma’s Candy Cane cookie recipe and steal cookie ideas from Pinterest. That particular year, we didn’t even need an oven! We used Nutter Butters, M&M’s, pretzels, and icing to assemble our Reindeer cookies.

– Activities –

I take pictures of every Christmas tree I walk past. And if the opportunity presents itself, I will hop in the picture, too. 🙂

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Why not shop and take pictures, too? #alltheChristmasthings

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And of course I drink my coffee and tea from all the fun Christmas mugs!

I love any and all holiday attire…including these reindeer antlers. Me, 4 years ago, loving life…and then this past weekend, we had Amigo in antlers…he was embarrassed.

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Colby’s thoughts on Christmas dress up? Side eye. He did wear the Christmas socks, though. 🙂

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Amigo HATES having his paws or legs touched, so the fact that he was in Christmas socks was no easy task! And truthfully, he loves the Christmas sweater because he is always cold.

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Another one of my favorite traditions is opening my birthday presents…because they are always under the Christmas tree! My birthday is December 10 and since the tree is already up, I have to take advantage of it, right?

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We also LOVE making gingerbread houses! My mom makes the best homemade icing to hold our houses together. She has a big gingerbread house decorating event in her kindergarten class, too. We have an expert building with us!

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I’m not sure if this is a ‘me’ thing or a family thing, but I love Christmas lights! Whether it’s driving around neighborhoods or actually going to see a display, I love the lights.

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Hershey Park 2005

A huge park in the Pittsburgh area called Hartwood Acres used to have the best light display. You could tune your radio to a certain station and hear Christmas songs that sang along with the lights as you were driving!

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Hartwood Acres 2012

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Sadly, Hartwood Acres doesn’t have their huge light display anymore. Last year, I made my mom and Jake drive with me to Overly’s Country Christmas. The line of traffic to get up to the farm was LONG but it was so fun!

There are so many fun things to do during the holiday season with friends, too! I’ve run a Reindeer 5K, seen the floral and light displays at Phipps Conservatory, heard Trans-Siberan Orchestra in concert, and run the National Mall past all the big Christmas trees.

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A tradition that is pretty unique to my family is taking a little trip right after the holiday. In the week or so between Christmas and New Years, my family likes to go away for a few days. We definitely haven’t done this every year, but as we’ve gotten older, it’s easier to get away. As you can see, when we were really little, we visited Hershey Park in central Pennsylvania. They, of course, have a huge light display too! My favorite.

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Last year, we went to Disney World. The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is just that…a spectacle! Somehow, they even manage to make it snow!

– True Traditions –

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Our stockings are always on the floor and they are always the first thing that we open! Our stockings are the only time that we open presents at the same time.

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We always celebrate with these people at my Uncle’s house on Christmas Eve. If you saw my Thanksgiving picture, you know that we try to take a picture in height order. In this picture, we were being obnoxious. There is no order! No age order, no height order, nothing. Just fun. 🙂

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We always make a fun breakfast to eat together after we open our presents! It’s just me, my parents, and my brothers for breakfast.

I always get some kind of new running gear so I have to test it out after present opening and breakfast eating. Of course Colby and Amigo love to join me. 🙂 This picture was actually Amigo’s first run with me EVER in 2013!

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We always watch and record Michael Buble’s Christmas special. Then we watch it over and over and over again. This year, we played his show from last Christmas while we made Thanksgiving dinner. Ha!

*The two movies I watch the most are Jim Carrey’s The Grinch (hilarious) and The Santa Clause with Tim Allen.

*Even if my Dad and I have all our gifts wrapped, we like to run out and shop for a few hours on Christmas Eve.

*My parents wrap our gifts in different wrapping paper instead of putting name tags on everything. We figure out which presents are ours when we see the little mini gifts wrapped in our stockings!

*I always sneak downstairs in the middle of the night to see what Santa left behind. When I was younger, I was convinced I could hear him on the roof!

So tell me…what’s your favorite part of Christmas? I obviously can’t just pick one thing!

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Northwest Native & Say Yes To Happy

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11 thoughts on “Christmas Traditions

  1. I love this post!!!! I put up our Christmas decor last night so I’m in the Christmas spirit! I can’t believe our birthdays are both in early December…small world!! I love all your traditions! I can’t wait to see how you decorate your new apartment.

  2. Love all of your traditions! We’ve always had a real tree growing up, but because my parents are between houses, we’re not sure if we’ll get one this year. I do love looking at Christmas lights though! There are tons of places in Baltimore and I’m scoping out the DC ones next. Oh, and Christmas cookies. I miss that tradition! If only I was home for more than a couple days this year…

    • Ooh I’ll have to explore and find some good lights!! I also really want to go to The National Harbor and see their Christmas decorations too! Make cookies as soon as you arrive. Then you can enjoy them for all the days that you are there 🙂

  3. Ahhh so many great things! I love those cute pancakes. Also I don’t think I’ve actually ever made a gingerbread house and I think I need to! (Although I know mine will look like a child did it! Ha!) Ahh a 9-foot Christmas tree sounds perfect! And I love opening our stockings. Especially now that I know what most of my presents are going to be, so my stocking is usually little surprises! Thanks for linking up!!

  4. UM yes. Decorations, activities, sweets bring it on!!! We have our decorations out and now we’re ready for all the activities. I also want to say how much I love that pancake breakfast. It’s so cute and festive! Brilliant!

  5. ahh so many fun things kylie! Love that you decorate immediately after thanksgiving. And your fridge is cute! I saw that on pinterest and thought to myself how did I not think of that? And those pancakes are precious! thanks for linking up!!!

  6. A rotating tree stand is such a cool idea! Then you can fit tons of ornaments and still see the ones in the “back” since the tree spins! I love your fridge from a few years ago. Very festive. And those reindeer cookies. YUM. Nutter Butters are my favorite snack cookie!

    Amigo in Christmas antler and socks just made my day, hahaha. He and Colby are so stinkin’ cute! Also, yes to Christmas mugs. I used a snowman one this morning and it made me so happy!

    This post was so much fun to read. I love all of the traditions your family does together. Between the breakfast, opening stockings together, and shopping with your dad on Christmas Eve… it’s all so awesome! Thank you for sharing 🙂

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