Merry Christmas! It’s my favorite time of the year because I love this holiday. There is nothing I love more than finding the perfect present for someone. That one gift you know they will absolutely love. Of course, I love all my family’s Christmas traditions that we’ve made up (and deleted and altered) over the years.
1) It’s A Wonderful Life. This is a new addition to our traditions but it’s already one of my favorites. Last year was the first time I’d ever watched the movie (Don’t freak and start yelling. I had seen it performed as a play before). My mom and I sat down and watched it while my dad was at work. This year we all watched it together on Christmas Eve and I’m pretty sure it’s something we’ll be doing from here on out. As far as non-cartoon Christmas movies go, this one is my favorite. I’m not sure it can compete with Frosty, Yogi’s Christmas, The Flintstones Christmas, and Olive, the Other Reindeer, but it’s on my extensive list of Christmas specials that I must watch yearly.
2) Christmas lights. Yeah, I love seeing our house decorated with all the lights but that’s not what I’m talking about. For two years now, my family and our neighbor, Devin, have gone to see a Christmas lights show. Our original plan was to go back to Crumland Farms like we did last year but that didn’t happen. Why? Because when we got there, there were no lights. So we whipped around and headed to Adventure Park USA. And I’m glad we did because, I’m sorry to say, it was better than Crumland’s. You turn your radio on the specified channel that is playing Christmas songs. The lights are synced up to the music, making for one trippy ride through the park. At the end, you can go inside where Santa is visiting or pick up your hot chocolate. The arcade, laser tag, and other activities are on discount as well. For $25 per carload, it’s definitely something worth doing. Plus, we found my mom’s new favorite Christmas song: It’s Called Christmas with a Capital C.
3) Our Christmas tree. Every year for as long as I can remember, we go to one of those places where there is a huge field and you cut down your tree. This year was kind of a pain because the field has been so picked over after all the years that we had to go all the way to the bottom of the giant hill and there still weren’t many good trees to pick from but hey, it’s tradition. My mom, dad, pappy, and I climb into the truck and make the drive over every year. We even used to take our dog, Roxie, back when she was a puppy. Then we come home and decorate. All the plastic bulbs go at the bottom so the cats won’t break anything. All the ornaments Pappy and Grandma got me forever ago that are the characters from Mickey’s Christmas Carol must go on (I love Mickey’s Christmas Carol. I still cry over Tiny Tim) and my new Princess Belle with the Enchanted Rose ornament I got this morning (Thank you, Mommy and Daddy!). The ornaments for the cats have to go on. Every little craft project we did in elementary school goes on. It’s a pretty sweet tree. Plus, it used to be that I got to pick out a new ornament at the lot every year. After we cut the tree, I would go inside the store with my mom and we would pick out a new one for the tree because my pappy let me (Yes, I am an only grandchild and spoiled).
4) Cookies! I love cookies but more than that, I love baking cookies. This year, my mom and I spent over a week baking everything we had to. We not only have to make cookies for ourselves but cookies for our friends and family and pies too. Peanut butter cookies and snickerdoodles are a staple each year. Peanut butter pie, too. This year we tried a few different ones to replace old ones like oatmeal (which I’m a little sad over) and chocolate chip. I made S’mores cookies, which were a sticky mess to make and half came out a little more done than normal thanks to a new cookie pan. I made Chocolate Peppermint ones as well. Thank you, Pillsbury, for an easy way out on that one. However, one cookie beat them all–the sugar cookies. You might be wondering what’s so special about a sugar cookie but there is something very special about these. You see, last year my mom and I were supposed to make them with our Aunt Odie but she got too sick so we never got a chance. This year, in order to keep her memory alive, we made…oh…somewhere around six batches using her recipe. And these are special cookies. It’s a very old school recipe and a pain to have to wait for the dough to chill but it was all worth it. See, she made a ton of these cookies every Christmas for us and the church (It was supposed to be for all the kids but all the grown up kids got them too). We had to make enough for our family (It’s possible my pappy is turning into a sugar cookie), Aunt Odie’s brother-in-law and her children, our friends who knew her, and a few other people who were lucky enough that we like them enough to get some. There’s no doubt these are cookies that will be on the list every year from now on.
5) Coach. Okay, so this one’s not exactly a Christmas tradition but it’s a tradition all the same. Tomorrow, my mom and I will be heading out early to the Coach Outlet. Why? Because they are running sales and it’s her birthday. She will get a really good deal on a new purse and spend the rest of the year waiting for her birthday to come around again so she can get another one.
6) Old Tyme Christmas. Each year, Harpers Ferry celebrates Christmas old school. They line the streets with luminaries and do events like the Nativity at the old Catholic church. Each year, we go down and eat dinner and stroll through the shops. This year we added two more to our usual crowd–Devin and my boyfriend, Michael–but we did the same thing as usual. This year, the food came from Private Quinn’s and then we headed to The Vintage Lady and Mary Adams and the pottery shop (and all the other ones but those are my favorites). And as always, we ended it at the Coffee Mill for hot chocolate (or in my case, a cinnamon bun).
There are a few traditions that have died over the years that make me sad, though. We used to spend every Christmas Eve at my great-grandparents when I was a little kid (This one is really hard for the grandkids). We used to ride around at least once with my pappy to look at all the Christmas lights around (Our neighbors kind of quit putting them up). When I was in elementary school, my mom and I would make a birthday cake (Red Velvet since it’s the only cake I’ll eat) for Jesus in order to teach me the real meaning of Christmas. This is one that I appreciate to this day. I look around and see all these people overindulging and being so materialistic and it makes me mad that they are overlooking what Christmas really represents. As much as I love both getting and giving presents, that’s not what it’s about in the slightest. It’s about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ (yes, we all know that it wasn’t his real birthday but the date isn’t the point) and being with those we love.
Of course, with every tradition that fades usually comes a new one. This year my best friend and I have started a new one where we will try a new baking recipe every year. Let’s just say this could get interesting in the future considering we think we are much better in the kitchen than we actually are (Umm, yeah, you need to let the Rice Krispie treats cool first. We didn’t know that). Making new traditions with the people I love makes old ones ending a little okay. I guess you can’t ever have things both ways so on with the zeitgeist!
P.S. Happy Birthday, Michael! I still think you picked a terrible day to be born on 🙂