An Uncomplicated Life Blog: Creating Holiday Traditions

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Creating Holiday Traditions

Why it's important to create your own holiday traditions after you've started your own family

This year, we're celebrating Thanksgiving with just us; a family of four. Last year we had family in town for both Thanksgiving and Christmas (since I was 89 months pregnant and couldn't travel) and the year before that, we only had Henry and it was "easy" for us to fly to our extended family. This year though, I had no desire to brave the lines at the airport and face weather delays with two kids. Nope. So we're having a simple holiday. But I'm excited that it gives our young little family the opportunity to create our own holiday traditions.

Why it's important to create your own holiday traditions with your family

When I was little I remember my dad always made cinnamon rolls the morning of Thanksgiving or Christmas (my parents divorced when I was very young so they traded off holidays). We would eat our turkey around 3pm so we'd have a big sugary cinnamon roll to tide us over until the meal was ready. I remember the smell of them baking and taking turns with my sister as we licked the icing container, waiting for the rolls to be cool enough to eat.

Christmas Eve was always spent with my mom, and it was always just the three of us. She'd cook a big meal, usually a fancy ham. We'd set up a table in our living room so we could eat by the light of the Christmas tree and be in front of the wood burning fireplace. Then my sister and I would take turns opening presents. We'd play with whatever we got right there on the oriental rug while my mom would sit back with a glass of wine. My sister and I drank sparkling apple cider and I thought it was so grown up to actually drink out of a champagne glass! I actually still have those champagne glasses; I've moved them to every apartment I've ever had, across the country three times and they're currently on display with my other stemware in the buffet in our kitchen.

After all the presents were played with, my sister and I would drag our pillows and down duvets out into the living room and sleep under the tree (a real tree!) with all the lights on. I don't know how my mom managed to sneak "Santa" presents with us there! But we'd wake up to our stockings full of little things like nail polish and lip gloss. Then we'd go over to my dad's house and do it all again. In fact, I remember distinctly thinking that the holidays were the only time it was cool to have divorced parents - double the holidays!

Henry's first Christmas, 2014

I'm not sure what part of those holiday traditions I'll implement with my kids. Maybe they'll love fake champagne as much as I did, maybe not. We don't have real Christmas trees in Texas, but perhaps they'll enjoy playing in front of our wood burning fireplace as much as I did. Knowing them, they'll try to get in the fireplace with a fire burning in it, but hey, I loved flames too as a kid! Who knows, maybe we'll discover something totally different that works well for our little family of four.

Christmas 2015, with a very little Otto

And a much bigger Henry

I'm not sure what we'll do, but I do know that it's important for us to create our own traditions. Even though it will just be our small family for Thanksgiving, it's a time for us to be together and enjoy ourselves. Henry is to the age now where he's likely starting to create his own memories that he'll cherish as he gets older. I want to make sure we create our own holiday traditions so that my boys have as many pleasant memories over the holidays as I do about my childhood.


  1. omg BABY HENRY! He and Otto look super different. I love the idea of creating your own traditions over using old ones. But I also like the idea of continuing to have fancy ham for all the Christmases haha

  2. I am 100% with you on this. I'm very big on traditions, and Kellen's family just likes to do whatever each year, but I'm all Nazi about Thanksgiving (we host) and Christmas (we have to see my parents since I'm an only child now). Other than that I don't care what we do. Love that you guys are going to have Thanksgiving with just the 4 of you this year. I bet it's going to be much less stressful.

  3. Making our own traditions is one of the things I love most about starting a family. Clearly, it's just the two of us now but we already have so many "just us" traditions for the holidays. I have great memories of Christmas as a kid and family traditions are WHY.

  4. I am still following traditions of my family, although getting married last year sort of changed that up. Also can't wiat to start own when my husband and I have a family.

  5. The first time we spent the holidays away from our families (and especially with the kids), I was so worried it would somehow be less special for Hubs or the kids because it wasn't a huge family gathering. But it all turned out way better than I could have imagined. We learned how we like to do our own Christmas, and we started some new traditions. Good luck to you and your family! It's a little rough being on your own, but you'll still have a wonderful holiday!

  6. Thanks for sharing! I love holiday traditions. They're fun for kids and create lasting memories! We did a gingerbread house contest every year

  7. How wonderful Holiday traditions are so important. And your little man is SO adorable! Thank you for sharing!

  8. Awww... so sweet. Love all your pictures.

  9. Such cute little babies! Christmas will never be the same without these kids around. Children are God's gift and during Christmas they are the center of attention, that's why parents from develop a Christmas program for street children who can't afford to celebrate Christmas.