Christmas Traditions – Do you have your own?

Christmas Stockings

What are your traditions?

The other night Bug and I were delivering our goodie bags to the neighbors. (Total aside, at the first house she almost refused to give the bag of cookies away… I’m not entirely certain what she felt was our purpose for carrying over bags of cookies, just to show them off??). Of course as we were delivering the topic of our plans to travel back to our home state of Missouri to visit family came up. I explained that we would be driving back this week and staying through Christmas.

Now I guess I should explain that this is what we’ve always done. Every year we’ve lived out of town we have traveled back to our home state for at least the Christmas holiday if not both Christmas and New Year’s. I’ve always felt that Christmas is a time to be with your family.

Anyway, my neighbor (who incidentally has 2 grown daughters of her own) then mentioned that her daughters have never forgiven her for not starting their own traditions. She told me that they always did what we’re doing, traveled back to see her parents and her husband’s parents. THAT was the tradition. And her daughters wished they had done something on their own as a family… even if just every few years. And it got me thinking, are we doing enough things as a family that my kids will say “we had a tradition that…”?

So this year we had our own family Christmas. We did everything we normally would do on Christmas, but in our own house and it wasn’t technically on Christmas. BUT, my kids got to experience what Christmas would be like in our own house and frankly if you were a kid wouldn’t you just LOVE the idea of TWO Christmas mornings??? They each got to open all their gifts from us and we opened our gifts to each other. I gotta say, it was pretty damn exciting just for me. I freakin love Christmas.

What are your traditions? Have you made sure to start your own and not just do what you were brought up with?

(By the way… spare me with your “gifts are not what Christmas is about, blah, blah” I realize that.)

Use what you have – Wrap in Aluminum Foil

Christmas Tree with Aluminum Foil Wrapped Presents!

Some years ago when the Mr and I were freshly married he had an idea. “Why don’t we wrap our presents in Aluminum Foil? It’s shiny, cheap, recyclable and best of all it can be compacted into a tiny ball once you’re done ripping it off the gift.”

Naturally I scoffed at the idea. I think I attributed his silly idea to his lackadaisical attitude towards gift-giving and thought that anyone who really cares about gift-giving wants the gifts to LOOK pretty.

So that year, he did it. He wrapped all his gifts in aluminum foil.

Well let me tell you it was a hit! Every year since then we’ve wrapped in Aluminum Foil and it’s now become our trademark look. Oh, I get a little liberal with it now and then by decorating with ribbon or special tags. But the basic theme is still there and now everyone in our family knows which gifts are from us.

As a part of my “use what you have” charge, I’ve shoved a large roll of aluminum foil into my baggage to wrap presents with once we get to our parents houses.

Ever thought about doing this? You should try it… and not just because you ran out of the expensive stuff… because it’s actually quite fun.

Merry Christmas and happy gift wrapping!

Homemade Goodie Bags – Great Gift in a Flash!

Need an inexpensive, fast gift to give neighbors, co-workers and anyone else left on your list? I know it’s not original but I find that a bag of goodies is one of the best gifts. Instead of just making the same old standard here are a few fast recipes to try! Give me an hour and you’ll have a bag worth of goodies that’ll have the Mr hanging around for scraps.

Use my free printable bag topper and you’ve got a fantastic, good lookin bag o’ goodies! Oh and did I mention that these are all crazy easy and delicious… and fast?

Cake Batter Bark (I think this could stand to get more cake batter put into it so don’t be shy to be liberal with the yellow cake mix if you wish!)

Break & Bake Cookies – So if they make tollhouse dough all ready for you… why would you ever make it yourself??? I use these all the time, ask my neighbors.

Chocolate-Caramel Pecan Clusters – a spin off of turtles… but easier.

White Chocolate Popcorn w/ M&M’s – this is my favorite snack to take to parties, why not make little bags?

Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Rods and/or marshmallows – crazy easy but are so good! Love the salty/sweet

Donut-Hole Snowballs – I kind of just want to make a batch of these for myself… aren’t they pretty??