Monday, January 13, 2014

{HOLIDAY} Family Traditions

..."I said leave me alone. I'm singing all night long it's a family tradition!" -HW, Jr.

While the holiday busyness took over, my little blog got neglected {again}.

We had a great holiday season and I feel like it officially ended Monday night with the Feast of Lights at church.

I just love establishing family traditions! My mom was always good at it and I thank her for that.

I'm going to back up a couple of months to highlight some of my favorite holiday traditions...

Thanksgiving is such a great holiday. It's a "no-pressure" kind of holiday. Just a time to be and give thanks. We alternate spending our Thanksgiving with either my family or Shan's. While Aunt Laynie was sick and with it being my mom's first Thanksgiving without her, we have been celebrating with mine the last few years, but typically we rotate.

It's sometimes chaotic with so many people under one roof. But it's like I always tell me mom...It's OUR chaos and I LOVE it!

This year the boys had a blast as my dad dragged out the karaoke machine after dinner.
HILARIOUS! I tried to post the actual videos but I was having technical difficulties. So cute!

We truly have so much for which we are thankful. I am especially thankful for these guys.

After Thanksgiving we moved onto Holiday Market week, which has been a family tradition for the last 7 years. I won't be in charge in the years to come, but we still plan to support the events during that week.

One of our favorite places to see a great light show is in a neighborhood not too far from us. Our good friends live directly across from the display. Their circular driveway gives us the best view of the thousands of dancing lights. The boys dress in PJs and we get warm chocolate chip cookies and hot chocolate from the drive-thru to enjoy while we watch the show from the car.
I found this link to a small portion of the display on youtube.

Then the few days before Christmas through the few days after Christmas are packed with family, exchanging gifts, baking and playing!

Some of my favorite things we make in our family are our Biscottis - a true family tradition, Toffee Crackers - YUM!, and my mom's Crispy Cheese Wafers.

{December 23} We spent the night at the lake with Shan's family at the lake house. I make a big pot of potato soup and Nana makes a yummy ham along with some other goodies and my S-I-L provides the sweets. I love sitting around their living room, watching the kids exchange gifts, laugh, and play with their new loot. My favorite part is our feast-of-a-breakfast prepared by Papa on Christmas Eve morning. It's a great kick-off for the special day ahead!

{December 24} Christmas Eve is always a whirl-wind day. We ended up having a quiet Christmas Eve dinner at home after church. Our tradition is a big Italian feast at mom and dad's, but there was a change in plans this year. It was actually a first for us to be at home, but it was really sweet with just the 5 of us. Each year after dinner, the boys put on their PJs and track Santa on Norad and they love reading A South Carolina Night Before Christmas before heading to bed. Then the fun begins!!! Shannon and I always have a ball preparing for Christmas morning together. I don't know who is anxiously anticipating the next day more; us or them.

{December 25} Every Christmas morning I love making the boys wait on the steps or by the living room door so we can all go in together to see what Santa brought. We eat French Toast Casserole or Cinnamon Coffee Cake {whichever one the boys request} and an ambrosia salad for breakfast. Early in the day we stay at home to enjoy opening gifts and playing with Santa's goodies. It's so relaxing and pleasant! We also enjoy the tradition of going to my mom and dad's for lunch and visiting with mom's family.

{December 28} This year my brother and his family came in town to make Christmas #3 for us a few days later. We usually get together at mom's, but since Santa brought a trampoline and some cool things that couldn't be transported, we decided to celebrate at our house. We made some heavy hors d'oeuvres and grazed in between watching the kids play and exchanging gifts.


{December 31} I have a love-hate relationship with New Year's Eve! It is completely over-rated and I hate making plans, but I'm always so glad we did on January 1st. Thankfully, we always have good friends to shoot fireworks and enjoy the evening with. So this year for New Year's Eve we gathered with a few friends and neighbors to ring in 2014. It was quite convenient because the host and hostess live next door to the adult party we were all invited to. So we all took turns dropping in while the kids all played next door. It could not have worked out more perfectly!

{January 1} Not much to say about our New Year's Day traditions that vary from anyone else's traditions. It consists of laziness, football, pork-collards-black eyed peas, and sweet tea! New Year's Day is always so laid back. The holidays are winding down and it's a fresh start... I love it!

Those are a few of our favorite holiday traditions.
Maybe you have some we'd like to try. Tell me about yours in a comment!

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