Christmas Traditions #12 ~ Christmas Eve

Soon all of these Christmas traditions will all come together as Christmas Eve is in just 12 more days! I am almost as excited to wake up Christmas Eve morning as I am to wake up on Christmas!

Christmas Eve we will probably sleep in, make a nice breakfast and head out to the mall to walk around and people watch (one of my favorite things to do). We’ll come home, wrap presents and make the Sour Cream Coffee Cake. For dinner, we will order Chinese and eat it while we watch a Christmas movie. We will exchange ornaments and put them on the tree while we enjoy dessert (something special thanks to Pinterest). Before bed, we will leave cookies, milk and reindeer food out for Santa, read The Night Before Christmas and put P to bed. Then Rob and I will fill the stockings, put the presents under the tree and relax by the fireplace. Eeekkkk, I am just bursting with excitement. I maybe 29 years old, but I still believe in the magic of Santa and the joy, gratitude, caring and mystical feelings it brings!

I hope you have enjoyed our 12 days of Christmas family traditions and check back after Christmas. I can’t wait to reveal our Christmas card, our handmade ornaments, and the Sour Cream Coffee Cake recipe and pictures.

Christmas Traditions #11 ~ Food

You had to know that eventually, I would be talking about food! I mean, it’s what what the holidays are all about 🙂 When I think about Christmas, I think about three things in particular. Without them, I don’t think it would feel very much like Christmas at all!

Sweet Treats
My Mom is pretty much an expert on cooking, baking and crafts. As a result, I have become a little but of a holiday sweets snob. I am certainly not getting to it this year, but moving forward I really want to start holiday baking. This year I think I will just make some chocolate chip cookies! One of my favorite memories of the holidays is my Mom baking and making beautiful trays of cookies and candies for my Dad’s office. He always got so many compliments of how professional they looked. I am very excited to continue this tradition and do it for Rob. I am sure his coworkers won’t mind 😉

Way back in 2006, my Mom hosted a holiday cookie making weekend. It was such a great time and I wish we had kept track of the amount of flour and sugar used! We made tons of yummy treats and each took a container home with us.

 

  

  
 

Christmas Eve Dinner

When I was younger, we always had pizza on Christmas Eve. When I started working at Toys R Us in high school, I always had to work Christmas Eve. That was when we started getting Chinese because I could pick it up on my way home. I honestly couldn’t imagine a Christmas Eve without it now! We usually spend Christmas Eve hitting up the last minute sales and wrapping all of our gifts. In my family, everyone doesn’t necessarily get their own food. Everyone orders something they would like and then we all share. It’s perfect because I love the Beef & Broccoli.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake
I feel I am being a tease again because I am about to start talking about something but won’t finish it until Christmas Eve. Sorry! I feel like I keep saying this but our Christmas morning breakfast is hands down one of my favorite traditions I grew up with. Christmas is always so busy that there is no time to really enjoy a sit down breakfast. We get up, open gifts, relax a little and then have to get ready to head to our family’s Christmas party. Usually we dig into the coffee cake half way through the presents. It isn’t usually made until the night before so I will share the recipe and making it for the first time by myself in just a few weeks!

      Full Hands, Full Hearts
Organizing Made Fun

Christmas Traditions #10 ~ Volunteer

I often forget how lucky I have been to grow up with a roof over my head, food on the table, clothes on my back (and in my closet), an education and pretty much anything I ever needed. Don’t get me wrong, my parents worked extremely hard, and still do, to provide for us.

I truly believe in paying it forward and  positive karma. Up until now, I have only participated in about a dozen service experiences. My ultimate goal, when P is a little older, is to participate as a family in a volunteer experience a few hours each month. Until then, we will stick to finding something during the holidays we can all do.

I found this extremely helpful website, http://www.volunteermatch.org, where you can enter your zip code and from there, local opportunities are identified. This really helps alleviate one of the more difficult parts of volunteering, finding an experience that you truly enjoy and value. I have done many service projects and trips in my day and know how frustrating it is to volunteer only to be tasked with pulling weeds in the forest.

I was very excited when I saw this one. I don’t think P is quite old enough to interact with people closely we do not know but really want to do this next year.

Holiday Gift Delivery to Seniors In Need

We Are Family coordinates a major holiday gift delivery to 300 of the seniors we work with. We need your help to make this happen! We will gather on December 25 and divide up to deliver the gifts and visit with the seniors. Prior to delivery volunteers will have called the seniors to determine their gift preference, purchased the gifts, and wrapped them.
These seniors are facing extreme hunger and poverty and are often isolated and immobile. Without our deliveries they might spend the holiday completely alone and forgotten. You can help make an immense difference in their lives by adding some holiday cheer and warmth to their hearts!

      Full Hands, Full Hearts
Organizing Made Fun

Christmas Traditions #9 ~ Ornaments

Ornaments has to be hands down my favorite thing about Christmas! I have received ornaments every year since I was born and have been making, buying and giving them since I became an adult. My Grandmother started me on the Mary’s Angels collection in addition to any cute ones I get from my Mom and Dad.

I have always wanted to exchange a few gifts Christmas Eve but my Sissy always refuses. So our compromise has always been to exchange ornaments on Christmas Eve. I still wish we exchanged some gifts but this was a compromise I have grown to love.

Up until a few years ago, it would have been hard to pick out my favorite if you had asked me to. Then on Christmas Eve in 2009, I received what will always be, my favorite ornament. I wish I was blogging at the time so I could have shared the strong then, but my memory of that night is still pretty clear.

Rob and I went to NJ for the holiday. We had only been dating for 9 months but he had already been there a few times and we all felt pretty comfortable especially since we moved in together that June. Another tradition, that I will talk about in a few days, is eating Chinese for dinner. I won’t get into details so that I can talk about it more later on. The problem is, no one every wants to be the one who drives to get it. Yes, my parents live in a small town where THERE IS NO DELIVERY. I should have thought something was up when it was time to get the Chinese and I didn’t volunteer and no one said anything. I was upstairs playing with the cats when Rob had asked me to come downstairs. He had a gift in his hands and told me to open it. I was hesitant because he had already given me several gifts early. I finally gave in and sat on the couch to open the box. While unwrapping the gift, I moved over and told him to sit down but he said he had been sitting all day. With out even thinking, I commented that he hadn’t because he had been shopping (still obvious at the time). It was a Disney box which came as no surprise because I knew he had gotten me something there. This is what was inside…

Since then, we have gotten some other pretty important ornaments, but the one from Rob will always be my favorite!

I can’t share the ornament I got for Rob or the ones I am making my parents and Sissy this year but will make sure to share them after the holiday! Since we called Parker Peanut for nine months, we decided that we would get him a Peanut’s ornament each year. We decided to get him this one:

And my Grandma found this one and knew she wanted to get it for him because the flag says Li’l Peanut 🙂

I am very excited to talk about my next and last three Christmas family traditions I have planned!

      Full Hands, Full Hearts
Organizing Made Fun

Christmas Traditions #8 ~ Adopt A Family

When I moved to DC, some of my colleagues went in together and adopted a family for the holidays. It was a program run by our school so I am not sure of the exact name but we would get a family of 4 or 5 and a few of us would be responsible for each member of the family. We had to find clothing, an educational item and a toy for the children. We always had a blast doing it and felt so good after that  we were bring joy to a family on Christmas day.

This year, I was introduced to the program called, Operation Christmas Child, by one of my fellow blogging friends, Christa, over at Little BGCG. I am cheating just a little here because I have already posted about this program, but still wanted to share it as one of the family traditions Rob and I have started this year and plan to continue as our family gets bigger.

      Full Hands, Full Hearts
Organizing Made Fun