This time of year is all about traditions and the enduring sense of wonder and excitement that the dawning of a new year can bring. We would like to share some of our favorite traditions, both old and new, with you.
When I was a kid I loved hiking out into the woods to find and cut down a Christmas tree. It was usually just me and my dad and maybe one of my brothers. It was a nice quiet time spent outside.
As an adult, New Year’s Eve is my favorite. It’s all about expressing gratitude for the past year and hope for the new.
My favorite childhood holiday tradition was baking cookies for the Christmas tree. My mom used a special sugar cookie recipe that made cookies unusually thick. We stuck a toothpick through the tops of them before we baked them, decorated them after they cooled, and then strung yarn through the holes to hang them on the tree. My brother, sister, and I would sneak cookies off of the tree until Christmas day.
My favorite current holiday tradition is lighting farolitos (candles set in sand in paper bags). When Justin was growing up in New Mexico, his family adopted the tradition that originated with Spanish merchants, who were influenced by Chinese paper lanterns, and then picked up by the Roman Catholic church as a way to symbolize hope that the spirit of Christ would be guided to the home. Typically, roadways and driveways are lit to show the path to the home. There’s something warm and comforting about seeing those little flames against the cold.
My favorite holiday tradition from when I was a kid was that we would get to open one present on Christmas Eve. It was always a really big deal and I would spend the days leading up to it looking over all my presents trying to pick that special one.
Now that I’m older, my favorite holiday tradition is probably decorating the outside of the house with lights. While I don’t go as overboard as I do for Halloween, I do get a kick out of trying to be creative with strings of white and multi-color lights.
On Christmas Eve when I was a kid we would get to give and open the presents we had bought for each other (Christmas morning was for Santa). I grew up with 4 siblings. I love GIVING presents & I am terrible at waiting, I would spend the week leading up to Christmas begging to be allowed to give someone something. I was always giddy about getting to see everyone’s faces when they opened my present to them.
As a “grown-up” I still love giving presents more than getting them. But I also really love the new tradition we started with friends for New Year’s Eve. We have a themed party and everyone dresses up in costumes to match. We drink, play games, and all look fabulous doing it!
What are your favorite holiday traditions? Share in the comments below!