I find it interesting to hear about other people’s holiday traditions. Maybe you do, too, so the rest of the post is about what Steve and I do when Christmas approaches!
Annual Christmas Ornament
One thing we’ve done every year (albeit unintentionally at first) is to pick out an ornament that represents the past year.
2002 – “Our first Christmas together”
This was a wedding gift that we received. It stayed packed for our first Christmas together because we didn’t have a Christmas tree that year, but it did spark the idea of getting an ornament each year.
We got a Christmas tree ornament to commemorate our first Christmas tree together. It took a while to find an ornament of a Christmas tree; the 2003 Hallmark Veggie Tales ornament would have been perfect because it was of Larry the Cucumber dressed up like a tree, but every store was out by the time we got around to looking for an ornament. We ended up finding this 2002 Hallmark edition ornament for half-price instead!
This adorable sheep holds a cake that says “Happy Birthday, Jesus” and, with its other hoof, a present labeled “To My Shepherd” behind it. This had been a year where we felt that God had really been leading us, so the sheep/shepherd imagery and sense of gratitude was very appropriate.
After a change of direction, we thought a compass was appropriate to symbolize the new directions we were looking at in 2005. We picked up this compass from a sporting goods shop.
We went to Monterey several times in 2006, so got together this very non-traditional ornament of a stuffed sea otter wound through a Monterey Bay Aquarium keychain. A bit ghetto, but it represented a lot of the good times that we’d had that year.
Our friends gave us this ornament after they found out I was pregnant. The Veggie Tales ornament says “Peas On Earth,” but they had labeled the three peas on top with “Steve,” “Corrie,” and “Little Haffly.” The ornament was so cute and appropriate that Steve and I decided that it would be our official 2007 ornament!
Getting a tree
This started out as our good friends’ tradition and we joined in and adopted it for ourselves! A local Christmas tree farm has both pre-cut and cut-your-own trees. We go there with a group of friends to get a tree, help ourselves to free popcorn and apple cider, and ride on a “sleigh” on wheels pulled by a tractor decorated to look like moving reindeer. It’s very fun to hunt for the perfect tree and to watch our friends hunt for their trees.
This year, we splurged with our housemates and got a pre-cut tree. I finally got around to taking pictures! We kept our ball ornaments wrapped up this year and used our housemates’, but both put out our special ornaments. The rose petals around the tree skirt are my specialty as are the little stuffed monkeys at the top of the tree.
Monkeys in the tree
Lacking a “real” tree topper our first year of having a Christmas tree, we took our smallest monkeys and put them at the top of the tree. The slightly bigger white monkey doesn’t always make it, but the two baby monkeys have been on every tree since then.
We started a new tradition this year! We haven’t had a nativity scene before because I’ve been very picky about finding one that I like. I found this little set made out of polymer clay, but the thing we like about it is that it comes with a card that prompts you on how to set up something every day. There are twenty pieces, so some days you do things like making a road to Bethlehem (Steve and I colored a piece of paper) or putting out “hay” for the donkey. I think the little pieces are adorable.
Sleeping by the tree
One thing we did for the first time last year was to drag a mattress out by the tree and sleep by the tree. Then, we have our own little Christmas morning ritual of exchanging presents with each other. Our housemates will be out of town so we can do it again this year. I forsee us falling asleep by a nice cozy fire, as well!
What unusual or special traditions do you have during the holiday season?