Welcome back to all of the Christmas fun in my corner of the world. Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Today’s post is a fun one, I teamed up with one of my best friends from college (Bailey) and my boyfriend aka the boy you all know and love around here (Curtis) and wrote up a few answers to some questions I came up with pertaining to our typical holiday traditions; as kids, now that we’re a little older, and also for the future.
This post is intended to read more like an interview-style post, so grab a big cup of coffee, settle in somewhere comfy, and let’s get Christmassy up in here!
When does your family put up your Christmas tree? (if it’s ever at the same time?)
Bailey: I don’t think we’ve ever had a set time. Lately, we haven’t been home at Christmas so we haven’t been putting it up at all. It’s largely because my family is scattered so we usually congregate in one place and between Florida, New York, and California; Indiana isn’t the popular choice. But when we do stay home, we’ll decorate it together. We have 7 giant Tupperware containers that are just ornaments so it’s kind of an ordeal.
Bri: We usually put ours up on Thanksgiving after our big meal (and naps)! This year we got a new tree and because of that we actually put it up before Halloween….but that will probably never happen again haha.
Curtis: We usually get it out around Thanksgiving break and put it away around October.
Do you have a real/fake tree? If it’s real, is there a special day y’all go to pick it out?
Ba: I’ve always had fake trees but I like seeing the little outdoor Christmas tree markets.
Br: We have always had a fake tree. I would love to have a real tree at some point in time just to be able to experience having both and kind of decide from there which one I like better.
C: We used to get a real tree when I was kid. We’d usually go somewhere fancy like Walmart or Home Depot and pick out a nice decent tree from the vast selection of poor trees destined for death. After a while we switched to a fake tree, mostly because they are the most cost effective, but also because pine needles are a BUTT to clean up.
What do your typical Christmas Eve plans look like?
Ba: It varies based on who we’re with that year. Some years we’ll go to church and others we’ll just hang out and play games, or explore the places we go to, etc.
Br: We usually begin the evening by going to church and then come home and eat our pizza mushrooms and all the other goodies we make beforehand. We then open up our new Christmas PJ’s, finish our food, and settle in to watch Elf and It’s A Wonderful Life. By this point, since we’re all hard working humans, we’re pretty sleepy, so we basically just go to sleep and rest in anticipation for the next day.
C: Christmas Eve usually consists of going to church at night, and then wrapping all of our presents because we’re very bad procrastinators (except for my sister who will probably have all hers wrapped by November). We used to also go to this family’s house that went to our church for a big Christmas party type shindig thingy. As a kid, I always thought it was boring, but there was an endless supply of nachos and Dr Pepper, which made up for all the old people. Also, we have a nativity scene where someone will wrap ceramic baby Jesus and put him under the tree for us to open in the morning.
Do you open any gifts on Christmas Eve?
Ba: When my brother and I were younger, we’d typically open one. Now we only open a gift on Christmas Eve if we do white elephant exchanges.
Br: We do! We always open a new pair of pajamas before we cozy in for a night in front of the fire and Christmas movies.
What time do you and your family get up on Christmas morning?
Ba: My brother and I used get up at around 6am. Since then, both of us have learned how amazing sleeping in is so we just wait until everyone wakes up on their own accord. Someone in my family has become notorious for sleeping in until 2pm though, so they end up getting dragged out of bed anyways.
Br: We usually set a time the night before. I would say it’s traditionally some time between 8-9 A.M., we all get up and make up some coffee/hot cocoa and get to the unboxing soon after!
C: When I was a kid I’d wake up around 7am. Lately, I’m more likely to get out of bed closer to 11.
Do you still make a Christmas List?
Ba: Nope. I honestly rarely have anything I want. I’m awful to shop for because if I want something, I just go buy it myself without thinking about it.
Br: Sometimes. Only really if I’m asked to. I very rarely need anything and don’t really like to ask for much, so the process of making up a list is actually more difficult than just buying things myself. However, I always end up making a list because 99% of the time someone in my family requests I do so.
C: Only because my mom and sister make me.
Do you make/eat anything special either on Christmas eve or morning?
Ba: Mainly cookies. Every single person on my dad’s side of the family has a handwritten recipe book from my grandma. None of them are just basic sugar cookies, though. There’s also rules about sharing the recipes with anyone outside the family and when to eat the cookies. One of the treats, mint brownies, have a history of causing drama in the family because there’s so many rules…for a brownie. We also have coffee cake sometimes too.
Br: We actually have special foods for both. Christmas Eve we usually make up pizza mushrooms (I’ll include that recipe on the blog one of these days cuz they’re AMAZING). Christmas morning we usually make up some dairy free & nut free cinnamon rolls (I’ll also include that recipe some day soon cuz they’re delishhhh).
C: Cinnamon rolls and eggs on Christmas morning. Sometimes we’ll have ham or something at night. My mom also always makes those peanut butter cookies with Hershey kisses that are fantastical. Also cookies for Santa.
Do you drink anything special on Christmas eve/morning?
Br: The fancy hot chocolate from Williams Sonoma (link to that: here). IT’S INCREDIBLE. And also just a good cup of hot coffee to sip as we get the unboxing party started.
C: Coffee all day. Also sometimes hot chocolate. Also sometimes cider.
What do your typical Christmas morning plans look like?
Ba: We wake up and either eat breakfast or open presents depending on when everyone gets up and who we’re waiting on. Once we get through the presents, we’ll spend 20 minutes having a wrapping paper fight.
Br: We typically have a scheduled time that it’s acceptable for us all to wake up and come downstairs, determined on Christmas Eve sometime. Once we’re all up and around, we typically make up a cup of hot cocoa or coffee and then settle into our places in the living room for the Christmas festivities to begin. We then begin with my little sister who gives the first present to anyone of her choosing and then I get to give the next gift, followed by my older sister, my mom and then my dad; we then work our way back down to my little sister (and back up/down until there are no more gifts left). About halfway through the gift giving, we take a break and eat some cinnamon rolls & get a coffee refill. We finish out the morning by opening our stockings individually and probably eating another cinnamon roll (or 3).
C: Child Curtis: Wake up. Run downstairs. Jump on my mom and dad in bed. Run outside. Be sad about the rain because it’s Texas. Run inside. Wait in the living room and stare at the presents for four hours until the rest of my family wakes up. Continue waiting after they wake up for breakfast to be made. Continue waiting for my dad to finally come in the living room. Continue waiting while we read the story of Jesus from Luke. Continue waiting while somebody slowly unwraps ceramic baby Jesus. Adult Curtis: pretty much the same but a few hours later and with less energy. I’m more appreciative of Jesus than I was as a child. After we unwrap Jesus, we get to take the stuff out of our stockings. Then we all open presents one at a time. This takes a while, but it’s okay because we don’t have anywhere to be.
What is a tradition you want to start/keep up as you get older/start your own family?
Ba: I want to find bad Christmas movies and have friends over to just roast it. My roommate and I did that for “A Christmas Prince” (a wonderfully awful movie that I highly recommend) and it was a blast.
Br: Assuming I choose to get a real tree every year for Christmas, I think the day we go out and pick it out would be a really special tradition to start with my own family. But I would also love to continue the tradition of giving pajamas on Christmas Eve. Even before we started celebrating Christmas, we got PJ’s and it’s just been so fun to have that be a part of our Christmas Eve for so many years.
C: I definitely want to continue starting our Christmas morning with the story of Jesus since, he’s literally the reason it exists.
Did you ever believe in Santa? If so, how old were you when you learned he wasn’t real?
Ba: I believed in Santa until I was 9. Thing is “Santa” would write my brother and I letters telling us how we were good children and letting us know how we could improve for next year. Looking back, my parents kind of used Santa as way to give their children annual performance reviews, which I’m grateful for now.
Br: I never did. We never celebrated Christmas when I was little, actually. We started when I was probably 10? So by that point in time, other kids my age didn’t believe in Santa anymore anyway.
C: What do you mean? SANTA ARE YOU TESTING ME?? I did as a kid. Our Santa was interesting. He mostly brought us stocking stuffers like toothbrushes and apples and gum, while our parents got us the good stuff. But for some reason he was still this deceptive idol that I got SUCKED INTO believing in. I started figuring it out gradually over time, but I think the two kickers were when I saw an orange in my Grandma’s bag and got the SAME orange in my stocking…and then when we found my sister’s tooth in the trash can and confronted my mom about it. It was dramatic. We learned the truth about the Toothfairy (which the idea of that one is actually creepy as heck) and Santa (somewhat – although I think my sister was in denial) all at once. I was almost in middle school I think, so it was probably time.
Do you think you’ll tell your kids about Santa when they’re young? (either that he exists/that he doesn’t when they reach a certain age)
Ba: Probably when they’re really young but I feel that in the digital age it’d be harder to keep that belief for older children. I think it’s fun and makes the holidays more magical when kids are young. I might not put as much emphasis on it as the rest of the world.
Br: I honestly don’t know. I don’t think not believing ever really hindered my sense of excitement or the magic of Christmas that I now get to experience. However, I do think it’s really cool to hear my friend’s stories of their Santa experiences growing up…so I honestly don’t know if I will do this for my own kids or not.
C: I’ll create our own traditional Christmas man who is entirely based on Mel Gibson. So every year around Christmas time, we’ll watch every single Mel Gibson movie, except What Women Want.
Alright sweet friends, there you have it!
Tell me a little bit about some of your past, current, or future plans for Christmas traditions in the comments below–I’d love to hear how your family celebrates!