This week has me thinking all about holiday traditions of past and present. To keep this post on the shorter side, I'll share a few of my favorites.
School Traditions - As a 4th grade teacher, I always said that an elementary school during the holidays is the happiest place on earth! It is so special spending time with children during this magical season. Although it was crazy and hectic, it was also a lot of FUN. I loved helping my students create a holiday gift for their parents. It usually included photography! One of my favorites was taking a photo of them that they would use to make a snowglobe ornament with themselves inside. Another treasured memory is attending a holiday concert at the high school on the last day before vacation. All of the schools in town would go on a field trip to the high school to enjoy holiday music and performances by the high school students. The performance was great, they always did such a wonderful job! My students had a blast and I enjoyed seeing all of my teacher friends from around the district. They still honor this tradition, and even though I'm not longer there, this warms my heart to know that this tradition is happening every last day of school before holiday break.
Childhood Traditions - My parents made Christmas so special for us. We did lots of activities leading up to Christmas such as making ornaments, making chocolate candy houses (similar to a gingerbread house but made with chocolate molds.), baking cookies, driving around looking at Christmas lights, decorating the house and tree, and so much more! For years my parents hosted Christmas Eve and I loved it. My mom would spend the day prepping and we would help, while also driving her crazy because we were so excited. To distract my siblings and me she'd let the 3 of us open our gifts from each other and that would keep us occupied for a while. We would have a big Italian meal for dinner and enjoy everyone's company. Christmas morning was all about Santa and gifts. "Santa" always made sure our lists were fulfilled and I'm forever grateful for these wonderful childhood memories. Later on was all about spending the day with family. I have a slew of cousins and we always had a blast playing together. For years my grandparents hosted, then later on my uncle and aunt hosted a big brunch that went from morning til night.
Christmas Present - These days Christmas is a little quieter for me. After moving to NC in 2015, we don't always travel to see family for Christmas. I keep up some traditions like making cookies using my grandfather's recipe, watching old favorite holiday movies, decorating, and gift exchanges. We usually try to make a visit sometime during the month of December for family gatherings. One party we try not to miss is my aunt and uncle's holiday open house! We traveled a lot this year and fortunately we were able to spend a lot of time with family over the year so it will be nice to stay local.
We are usually either at home in Winterville or traveling somewhere on a trip for actual Christmas Day. My husband and I enjoy our quality time together and slowing down for the holiday. This year Christmas Day will be spent just the two of us, with our 3 cats, eating and watching Christmas movies in our pjs and I wouldn't want it any other way. We will see what next Christmas brings! Although I love tradition, I look forward to the adventures each year brings to us at this point in time.
What's your favorite holiday tradition from the past or present?
Happy Holidays to All!!!