This post is sponsored by At Home, but all opinions (and enthusiasm for Christmas decor) are all mine.
When I shared our Christmas home tour last week, I mentioned that we got all new ornaments for our tree this year. For as long as we have lived in this house, we’ve had hand-me-down ornaments from my mom along with a bunch of leftovers from when we were in college. Half of them were breakable (which does not work with a toddler) and they were all looking a bit worse for the wear. We were ready for something a little more us. So, when At Home asked me to participate in another round of their #MyReason campaign (focused on traditions this time), and share some of the awesome decor they have for the season, I was all over it.
Plus, we all know I could talk about Christmas all dang day and never get tired of it.
Psst: They also offered to give one of you guys a nice little surprise, so keep reading to find out how!
I want to share with you some of our favorite traditions for the Christmas season – but before I dive into that, can we talk about At Home? Because, you guys, they’re my newest love. Their selection is insane (and always affordable) and I never fail to find a million things I want when we shop there.
While we were there shopping for our Christmas tree ornaments, Corey made the observation that while he sees a lot of stores claim to be “Christmas headquarters,” At Home is the first store he’s been in that he feels could really claim that title. And, no joke, about 5 minutes later we overheard another guy say the exact same thing down the aisle from us. They have so much decor there it’s insane, and I swear all of my new favorite stuff this year is from At Home. Oh, and when I complimented my sister on some of her new Christmas stuff, she mentioned she got it from there too.
You guys, if you haven’t been, go. So much Christmas goodness, you won’t even be able to handle it. I promise. It’s awesome.
But anyways. We’re here to talk about traditions.
I’ve always been a creature of habit – I like a good routine more than just about anyone else I know, and there is something about traditions that just makes my soul happy. Maybe that’s why this is my absolute favorite time of the year – it’s the time of year when everyone gets all sentimental and loves to partake in traditions, so I feel slightly less insane for wanting to do things the exact same way year after year.
We have a lot of traditions that are important to our family during the Christmas season, but here are my top ten favorites:
- Advent calendars. This is definitely my favorite traditions of the holiday season. We always do some sort of activity advent calendar, and it’s always so much fun. It really helps us focus on being intentional about celebrating the season, and it makes even little activities like making s’mores feel special. It’s even more fun now that Jackson is old enough to really understand what’s happening. He gets so excited to pull out the slip of paper every day and see what we’re doing, and since we usually do the activities in the evening he spends all day talking about it. It’s SO sweet!
- Hershey Kisses. Growing up, my grandmother had these little Santa ornaments that held candy (always Hersey Kisses!) – you could squeeze the cheeks and the mouth would pop open to reveal it. It was the highlight of my Christmas break as a child to run in the living room a dozen times a day to sneak some candy – the adults could barely keep those silly things filled long enough to keep us happy. When she passed away, I somehow managed to not end up with any, which absolutely broke my heart. Instead, I’ve decided to create our own tradition – we took this cute little advent calendar (yes, a second one) that we got from Target last year and filled each day with a few kisses. Now, Jackson eagerly waits for Corey to get home every day so we can have our candy, and I feel like we’re carrying on this sweet tradition from my childhood.
- Christmas cookies. Ahh, the tastiest tradition of them all. My family has always been big on Christmas cookies – we bake dozens every year, and we usually end up with so many by Christmas that there’s no way we can ever finish them all. I wrote a post a few years back about my favorite cookies to bake every year – we tend to bake the same types each year (because tradition) and it’s one of the most comforting and peaceful things to do on cold winter evenings. This year we’re going to try a slightly different approach and bake lots of different cookies throughout the season rather than spending just one day baking more than we could ever finish – I’m hoping it’ll spread the joy out a little more and help us actually eat all of the cookies we end up making!
- Stockings for the family. When we gather as an extended family on Christmas Eve, there’s a stocking for everyone (when we would go to my grandmother’s house, there was an entire wall full of stockings!) and we all buy each other a small $5 or less gift for the stockings. It’s really fun to shop for these little gifts for everyone, and it’s always felt like such a special little tradition. We have a much smaller group of people that gather for Christmas every year these days, but we’ve kept the tradition going and it always makes me smile.
- Pajamas on Christmas Eve. This is a tradition Corey and I started a few years back, and it seems to be a pretty popular one with a lot of families. Corey was used to opening presents on Christmas Eve as a child, so this was our little compromise so that we can open something on the night before but most of the presents on the day of. We’ve thought about adding in a movie like a lot of families do, but on Christmas Eve we’re never home until right around bedtime, so that might have to wait until Jackson is old enough to stay up a little later!
- Singing carols on Christmas Eve. I giggle thinking back on this one because I hated this as a child. My extended family would open stockings and presents on Christmas Eve (then we’d open presents from Santa and immediate family on the actual day) and we always had to spend a few minutes singing Christmas songs before we’d open. As children, it made all of us crazy because we were moments away from opening presents but we had to keep waiting – it was torture! Now, it’s such a fun and lighthearted time to really soak up some time with my family, and it’s one of my absolute favorite things we do. Jackson absolutely loves the tradition, and it’s going to be so much more fun now that he’s starting to learn some of the songs!
- Gingerbread houses. Okay, these are all my favorite tradition, apparently. Every year my sister and her family come over to our house and we all make gingerbread houses together. It’s messy and silly and some of the most fun we have all year. It’s been so awesome to watch my nieces get better and better at decorating their houses each year, and now I’m pretty sure they’re better at it than Corey and I are! Jackson had a ton of fun last year decorating a house for the first time, so I’m really excited to do it (this weekend!) with him.
- Movies, movies, movies. I think just about everyone has favorite Christmas movies that they have to watch year after year. Our favorites are The Grinch, Elf, and Love Actually. We also always watch A Christmas Story on Christmas Day – when I was a kid, we’d always watch the 24-hour marathon on TBS! It would just be running in the background throughout the day, so we never actually watched the movie in order but we always ended up seeing the whole thing. Corey and I don’t have cable, so we bought the DVD and we always play it a couple of times on the big day. Oh, and Corey and I always squeeze in as many super cheesy Lifetime movies as we possibly can this time of year!
- Going out to eat on our last day of school. Corey and I always kick off our Christmas break by going out to eat at a restaurant we don’t go to all that often (so it feels more special!). Now that he’s not teaching anymore, it’ll be a little different because it’s just the beginning of my break, but we’re gonna keep the tradition going! It always feels like a really great way to settle in and forget about work for a couple of weeks, and I look forward to it all month long!
- A family day. Somewhere right around Christmas (but separate from the actual day) we always try to have a full day that we devote to nothing but family time. No distractions, no crankiness, absolutely nothing but spending time together and relaxing. We usually stay in our pajamas all day, stay away from our phones, and have lots of movie and board game time. It’s delightful, and it’s a great way for us to focus on our family!
What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions? Have you looked at the Christmas selection at At Home yet this year?!
Okay, I promised a giveaway, didn’t I? One of you will win a $50 gift card from At Home (along with a Christmas card from yours truly, which I know is what you really want to win) – all you have to do is use the little widget below to enter. The giveaway will remain open for one week, until 11:59 next Tuesday, December 13th. Anyone is eligible to enter! GOOD LUCK!