Guest Blogger Spotlight: Family Holiday Traditions by And Twins Makes Five
Is it really December already? Just hearing a date beginning in the 12th month conjures up those familiar holiday sights, sounds, and smells. December is snow, white lights, evergreens, candy canes, jingling bells, plaid pants, and oodles of fun family rituals. In our large family of 5 children we have several different family traditions around the holidays.
My favorite tradition is one that started quite by accident by my grandfather many years ago. You see my grandfather, Poppops to us, had this pair of plaid dress pants he wore faithfully each Christmas. He was a dapper but thrifty sort of guy and I’m certain these trousers were a very high quality fashionable purchase when he originally bought them. Only worn once or twice a year these pants remained in perfect condition year after year. However after a good decade or more of Christmas appearances, everyone felt it was time for Poppops to move on to something else. I mean seriously, he’s wearing the same exact very distinct pair of pants in over a decade of our Christmas photos!
My father, not a shy man, began gently kidding his father-in-law about the plaid pants one year. I actually think Poppops enjoyed the attention his pants were getting and so out they came the next year. However, after a few years of us all lovingly teasing Poppops about his need for new pants, they were replaced. Poppops took the kidding in good stride buying a new pair of dress pants for next Christmas.
Gift opening time arrived and Poppops had a special gift to present. It was a gift addressed to my father. My dad opened his present and revealed to all, Poppop’s plaid pants. My dad immediately rushed upstairs to put the pants on. It seemed impossible given the difference in their frames, but he somehow he got the clearly very stretchy plaid trousers on and came down. Those pants were the talk of Christmas that year and no one was happier than Poppops.
The next Christmas came and unexpectedly there was again one special gift to be opened first. This time the gift was from my dad to my uncle. You guessed it, the gift was the pants! He too was able to somehow get into those things and onward this tradition went year after year. Receiving Poppop’s plaid Christmas pants became a great honor and everyone wanted their chance. The Christmas pants went from being a huge fashion “don’t” we all wanted banished, to being the most coveted holiday apparel of each year. Poppops passed away a several years ago (before our youngest, the twins, were even born), but the legend and tradition of those special pants of his will always live on.
Another one of our other family traditions includes making Christmas ornaments with all the kids. We learned that even our babies can be a part of this type of tradition by lending a hand to be traced or their little foot. We keep track of what each child asked Santa for by writing it on the back of these creations along with the year. It’s so fun to look back on those year after year.
Christmas Cookies are another big part of our holidays. It’s a tradition that I buy a ton of those little frosting tubes in holiday colors and let them all decorate to their hearts content. What’s a little mess? I even let the littlest ones join in as much as possible. We let Daddy decide which masterpieces should be set a side for Santa. Taking pictures of all these iced goodies is also a must.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention our Matching Holiday Pajamas tradition that my mom started when I was young. The year she declared she was starting this tradition, I admittedly thought she was a bit over the top. We had around 15 people staying over Christmas Eve and she wanted them all to wear matching sleepwear. However, I really embraced the idea over the years. A large family all in matching pajamas somehow imbues a child-like state of mind in everyone. Plus, I can’t tell you how excited my toddler twins get when they realize they match other people besides just each other.
I’ve learned over the years that the magic that is Christmas truly depends upon keeping up these traditions and their rich little details. Plaid Pants passed around the family, ornaments made on baby’s first Christmas, a dozen people in matching pajamas, and cookies iced for Santa are the memories that my children will treasure for a lifetime.
Guest blogger Stephanie is a mother of 5 children. In addition to sharing her experiences of being a mom, she enjoys photography, party planning, shopping, decoration, cooking and writing. You can learn more about her at her blog, And Twins Make 5.