Friday, December 21, 2012


I absolutely love hearing about other people's holiday traditions so I thought I would share our family's with you. From October 31-December 25th our lives are filled with the joy of the holiday season. Now that we have our little family finalized (Little Butt IS our LAST child!!!) it is time to start reveling in the traditions we have built for our family.

I am sure our Halloween traditions will hinge on where we live. When The Senior and The Freshman were little we lived in Nevada where the weather was nice late into October. We didn't have much of a neighborhood so we went to the Shooter's parents house where my MIL and I would take the kids around their neighborhood.

Once we moved to Evanston and added two new kids to the mix, we didn't have family to team up with, so one adult stayed home to give out candy and one took the kids out around our quaint little neighborhood. But you know, it was mighty cold for the littlest ones so when we moved to Casper and hardly anyone was home in our neighborhood, we decided to try the trick or treating at Wal Mart and the mall. All of a sudden we had our newest tradition. So now every year we head to the retail section of town and go Trick or Treating.

It seems that just as soon as the excitement of Halloween calms down it is time to prepare for Thanksgiving. Our celebration is usually pretty low key but still fun.  We spend all day hanging out and preparing dinner. When dinner time rolls around we sit down as a family and, luck being on our side, we have a great family meal. (We can be flexible too though because this year dictated we go out for dinner and it was fun but very expensive!)  After dinner, The Senior and I partake in early Black Friday Shenanigans, but only if by doing so we help the family financial situation by finding stuff we really need on super sale.  When money is tight you do everything you can to save money and make Christmas great for the little ones. Otherwise we wait until Friday to brave the mess.

The day after Thanksgiving is not only spent shopping, but decorating for Christmas too.  We spread it out throughout the whole day, singing Christmas songs and making sure everything looks perfect.  We end the day with a repeat of our Thanksgiving meal And...before we know it, it's Christmas!

I think our Christmas traditions are probably my favorite and Christmas Eve is the best day. We spend it together, cooking and watching Christmas shows while we fix our big Christmas Dinner of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, sauerkraut, peas and pies. This  one was quite foreign to me and I wasn't sure if I liked it at first . . .but then I had kids and now I love it. It became very hard with my physical limitations, to manage all of the excitement of Christmas day festivities when it involved cooking all day too. I discovered it was nice to just play with the kids and their new toys.

After Christmas Eve dinner we open up one present each (sometimes more. if between relatives and Santa, we have too many) No matter how many we open early, one of them always has to be the one from Uncle G.  It just wouldn't be Christmas Eve without our Uncle G. presents being opened :)

We actually let the kids stay up a bit late in hopes that they won't wake up so early, haha. It doesn't work usually, but they enjoy watching Santa on NORAD while they wait for bed time so it is worth it anyway. Santa's gifts then get put together and put out before it is bedtime for the adults and bigger kids.

You see, for our family, Santa doesn't wrap the gifts he gives (and Mom and dad don't get gifts from him so the kids can get more) He just puts them near the tree. But he does wrap the stocking stuffers to spice things up a bit.

As soon as the kids wake up, usually between 7:30 and 8:30, our day begins and the kids get some time to enjoy the unwrapped 'Santa' gifts. Once things settle down again it is time to open the stocking gifts. Of course the kids tear through this in no time even though they have to patiently take turns. Breakfast is next on the agenda - always something out of the ordinary. Might be a decadent cinnamon roll or a full breakfast. It all depends on what the breakfast chef (The Shooter) decides he wants to do.

While the kids are still somehow sedated by the big, filling breakfast, we tackle the presents under the tree. We each take turns and if someone wants to stop to play with a new toy or add songs to their new MP3 then that is what we do and then resume opening gifts when everyone is ready (little ones are always ready) It doesn't really matter how long it takes though because we just hang out and play all day. Some of us even get the chance to nap before we have an 'instant repeat'  of the previous night's dinner.

There is one tradition that we used to have that we miss very much. Driving around town to look at Christmas lights was so easy in Nevada, we didn't have to worry about the weather or work schedules interfering. In Wyoming we have had one or the other putting a dent in our plans.  I wanted to go on Christmas Eve this year since The Shooter is off work, but low and behold, the weather is supposed to be crap. So I guess we will see what happens.

Until next time...If you send me some of your traditions I will compile them in a blog post to share. (No names necessary) Any holiday from any culture or religion will be wonderful.  Just email me at


Tammy said...

Thanks for sharing! It's so nice to see another family that doesn't rush through all the gift opening, even with excited kids! So much thought and effort goes into Christmas day that I think it's worth taking the time to enjoy, and celebrate what others' get as well as our own gifts (in your case the kids enjoying the other kids opening their gifts.) Merry Christmas!

JJ Ellis said...

This is not a tradition I grew up with, but then again there was only my dad and I for years. Now that I have a big family it is the only way to go. I think most of the joy of our day is in watching others receive gifts. Thank you and Merry Christmas to you too!