(Closed) What is Christmas like with your SO/family?

posted 3 years ago in Holidays
Post # 17
Member
1078 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

First, I have to say that reading about your Christmas was just magical. I can’t imagine a holiday being so lovely and happy with family. 

We do have one Christmas tradition that I really like. We moved in our house two years ago and since that first Christmas here we always buy a new Christmas ornament for each child (we have two). The very first year we bought the house one too lol it says “home sweet home 2014” and it’s a little glass gingerbread house. So the first present the kids open is on Christmas Eve and they each get a special ornament for that year to hang on the tree. Last year we had a 5 month old for Christmas so he had his opened for him lol.

I also make lots of pies and cookies and decorate a bunch. I LOVE Christmas it’s definitely my favorite holiday. I play Christmas music the entire month I just love it lol drives Darling Husband nuts! And we got our (my) first real tree last year and it was so much better than a fake! Other than the needles being VERY needle like. I had to hang some of the ornaments while wearing gloves it was so bad lol the smell was just divine though.

I try really hard to make Christmas as fun and magical as I can because I grew up with yelling and cussing and chaos on holidays. We won’t be traveling to see my family this year as I have recently cut them out for being horrible. We live locally to DHs family but he has 5 siblings and his mom is deceased so they don’t usually ever want to get together with everyone, they all have families so they spend it with their inlaws. 

Christmas will be pretty quiet around here this year. I’ve been brainstorming some ideas of things to do to make it less lonely for the kids.

Post # 18
Member
141 posts
Blushing bee

I love hearing about others Christmas traditions since it’s such a unique personal experience for each family. Myself and my OH live together but we are from different parts of the country therefore we spend Christmas apart. 

I love my family Christmas tradition so much I will not spend it anywhere else but with my family. If he wants to join us, that’s great but I will not travel to his family. 

We have a family meal in a local restaurant on Christmas Eve followed by visiting extended family to exchange gifts. The religious in the family go to church services in the evening and the rest of us start preparing vegetables, ‘meat etc for the following days dinner.

 

at night we usually watch a Christmas movie like Nationa Lampoons or Die Hard!

we get up early Christmas morning and open gifts, have breakfast, walk the dogs and start watching movies while petering dinner. We usually dine at 2pm. After dinner we all sit together with wine, beers and treats and watch our main movie (usually a blockbuster that was out that year). Afterwards we have karaoke, watch back old family movies and have a sing along until the small hours.

so that’s our tradition which I wouldn’t change for the world. 

Post # 19
Member
3564 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

After Thanksgiving, I start trying to watch as many Christmas movies as I can….Except the Christmas Story. I just can’t stand that movie…probably because that channel does play it for 24 hours and I’ve probably seen the movie a million times.  lol

Darling Husband and I usually go to the local boy scout troop and buy a tree from them, and I play Christmas music while he helps me decorate the house.  If it’s cold enough, we put a fire in the fireplace.  

My Christmas morning is the same as it’s always been for me growing up.  My parents have always had a party on Christmas Eve, so Darling Husband and I always go to my parent’s house for that, stay the night and on Christmas morning we all open presents and my dad cooks a big breakfast.  At some point after breakfast, my brother usually shows up with my nieces and we exchange presents with them, then Darling Husband and I will get ready and head over to his moms for a late lunch and we do Christmas with his family.  Whenever we have kids, this tradition will change, as I’d like my future children to wake up in their home for Christmas morning.

My extended family always has a big get-together for Christmas about 2 weeks before Christmas where all of our out of town family comes down, we hang out & steam oysters.  DH’s extended family usually schedules a “Christmas Dinner” the Saturday after Christmas.  

Post # 20
Member
916 posts
Busy bee

When I say that I love Christmas, it is a vast understatement. I LOVE Christmas, I honestly adore it. And much like additional posters, it has nothing to do with the gift giving, and everything to do with a magic in the air. I grew up in Chicago, and during Christmas time it is the most magical scene you can imagine. Snow is falling everywhere on twinkling lights wrapped around trees, stores are playing Christmas music and there’s always a faint scent of cinnamon in the air. It is like Chicago has become a Christmas snow glob that I don’t want to leave. I love the music, my family always decorates a week before thanksgiving and it looks like Christmas threw up in the house. It is amazing. My mom makes her cookies every year until finally she gave up and we started doing it (it takes hours to frost them all). Christmas music is always blaring and I hav to watch every movie. But things have changed now. 

 

I’ve attending college in Florida, so I do get to fly home to Chicago during Christmas time and I always love it there, but even the magic isn’t enough to convince me to move back there once I graduate. I love the snow but Illinois takes winters to an insane level that I can’t cope with. 

SO and I actually have never spent a Christmas together. I always fly home to the parents (because it is the one time in the year I can see them) and he spends it with his family in Florida. Technically this Christmas will be the last Christmas we have alone with our families. Next Christmas we’ll both me graduated, working for almost a year, and likely no even in Florida. SO and I are already talking about how we’re going to split up Christmas between the families. I can’t NOT imagine spending Christmas with my parents, but it wouldn’t be fair to do that every year. So we’ll likely give one family thanksgiving, the other Christmas, then switch every year. We can’t do celebrations in the same day because we’ll likely be in California, his in Florida, and mine in Chicago. It will be difficult-any insight on how to handle this?:) 

Post # 21
Member
296 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

I LOVE this thread! Christmas is my absolute FAVORITE time of year!! We live in Georgia, though, so no snow for us, unfortunately. I’d love to see a big blanket of snow one year when we wake up on Christmas morning.

On Christmas Eve, my family always attends our Christmas Eve worship service at church. It’s usually fairly short, and all the lights are dimmed as it’s a candle light service. I love going to it every year. It’s been a tradition since I was born. Christmas Eve night (for as long as I can remember) my little brother always slept in the bed with me and we’d stay up till 1 or 2 in the morning just chatting and being excited for the next morning. Even this past year, we held that tradition, I was 24 and he was 20, lol! FI and I were long distance for the first while of our relationship and he has just recently moved to my hometown earlier this year. So this past Christmas, he came down to spend it with my family. He slept in my brother’s bed, which is why bruddy and I still had to sleep in the same bed. My dad is a very “y’all aren’t sleeping in the same bed under my roof” kinda dad. Lol

Anways, my parents have always played Santa, of course, and in the middle of the night would put all of our “Santa” presents out in the living room instead of wrapping them all. They still do this to this day even though we’re grown. We wake up (not nearly as early as we used to, but still fairly early cause we don’t want to waste the day) and can’t even look at our presents until we get our parents up. We’re a very close-knit family and everyone wants to be a part of everything together. So this past year, Fiance got to experience the joy of the Santa gifts (because of course he got some, too) and it was really special. After Santa gifts are done, we make breakfast and eat. Then we open the gifts that were actually wrapped and usually turn on the TV to see what Christmas movie is on. Charlie Brown Christmas and the Grinch are our favorites. My brother and I know every single line of the Grinch and my parents can’t stand to watch it with us because we are always quoting along with it. Then we have lunch. When my grandparents were alive, they would come to our house for lunch every year. And after lunch, it’s really just a chill and relax day after that. My uncle and cousin usually come sometime in the afternoon to visit and at some point, my brother always goes to his girlfriend’s house to spend some time with her family. It’s such an amazing day. I always cherish every Christmas Day that passes, and this year was extra special, since Fiance got to spend it with us. 

This past year, the day after Christmas, we went back to his town to spend time with his family. They’re not super big into holiday traditions so they don’t ever have anything planned, so we all just went to eat and opened presents. That was also the day he proposed to me. 🙂

This year will certainly be different since Fiance and I will be married and will finally be done renovating our house and be moved in to it! Who knows what we’ll do this year. I really hope, though, that we’ll still go stay at my parents’ and do Christmas like normal. I know that sounds ridiculous, and I do want us to start our own traditions, but I just can’t quite let go of the Christmas Day that I’ve had for the past 24 years. It’s always been so special to me.

Anyway, didn’t mean for this to be so long!! Sorry! I could talk about Christmas forever! Thanks for the thread!

Post # 22
Member
265 posts
Helper bee

 

I loved reading your Christmas story, made me smile the whole way thru! This year my Christmas will be a bit hectic but enjoyable nonetheless. 

Christmas morning my SO and I are going to my moms around 8am to open presents with her and my siblings. Then we will head over to my grandmas house where the entire family gathers and opens gifts. Our little tradition is our white elephant exchange between the adults. It’s hilarious and so much fun! After a few hours everyone will have trickled out and gone to their DH/DW family for the rest of the day or a good chunk of time. I enjoy this because my SO and I get to spend quality time with my grandma which I really cherish. By evening time one of my aunts and her family will come back and we’ll do dinner and a movie or just chit chat. The following day my SO and I will drive to see his family (a 8+ hour drive), so we’ll get an early start. We will then have “Christmas on the 26th” and stay for a few days.

 

Post # 23
Member
4231 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2015 - Hotel Ballroom

Sweet.Sugar.Rose :  Your last Christmas post had me humming carols all afternoon! Keep em coming!!!! I love thinking about Christmas 🙂

Anyways…I have mentioned before I am estranged from my family. Last Christmas was the first one where I didn’t see them at all (the Christmas prior to that was the last time I ever saw them…though the official ‘estrangement’ didn’t take effect until March). So I am going to explain both ways. 

PRE ESTRANGEMENT:

Darling Husband (FI at the time) and I would head over to my parents house on December 23rd. In my house growing up, my Mom put into place that Christmas Eve was our most special day because she knew someday she’d have to share me and my brother with our spouses. My Mom would spend most of the 24th preparing our Christmas Eve dinner. When I got older I’d help in the kitchen. It would be a prime rib. There were also brussle sprouts, yorkshire pudding, and oven roasted carrots. There were potatoes too…some years she’d mash them, some years she’d roast them alongside the carrots. Dessert would be a traditional English Trifel (my great grandparents immigrated to Canada from England and brought the recipe). 

After dinner we’d sit in the downstairs living room where the tree was and wood burning fireplace. We’d watch whatever Christmas special was on…usually something with a celtic flavour. Eventually we’d put on our pyjamas and read The Night Before Christmas next to the fireplace, as well as the traditional letter “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Clause” (seriously, google that letter). My brother and I took turns reading the book VS the letter each year. Then we would both sign the book with the year and our ages. We started this tradition when we were 8 and 5. I guess the ‘last’ time it was done would have been Christmas 2014 (the last time I was there) so we would have been 26 and 23. The ‘original plan’ was when the first future grandchild was 5 (the age my younger brother was when we started the tradition) him and I would ‘pass on’ the tradition of doing the readings to the next generation. Then we hung out stocking, put out milk and cookies and went to bed.

The next morning we’d all get up as a family at 8am. When we were kids we’d open out stocking first and then go upstairs for a quick time-out as my Dad is diabetic and he needed to eat a little fruit and cheese. Then we’d go back downstairs and open our presents under the tree. As late teens and adults we’d go to the kitchen right away and have coffee while my Dad had his quick snack. Then we’d go to the downstairs living room…we’d still open our stockings first before moving onto the presents under the tree in one sitting.

After the presents were opened my Mom would start making a huge brunch complete with a fancy egg dish (it changed a few times over the years) piggies in a blanket, fruit salad, shrimp, ‘fancy’ cheese and crackers, and homemade muffins. When my brother and I were kids we’d go on a candy cane hunt (think easter egg hunt but with little candy canes) to distract us while we waited for food. This was retired when we were teens though. We’d be eating brunch by 10:30am.

Then Christmas Day is a ‘lazy day’. As kids we’d play with all our new toys. Christmas dinner was leftovers from the night before, but my Mom would throw crusty kaiser buns into the mix so we could make prime rib sandwiches. As adults, after brunch we’d get ready and head out to see our ‘inlaws’ for christmas dinner.

So as an adult Darling Husband and I would get ready and head home briefly. We don’t own a car, so someone would pick us up and give us a ride to whichever of DH’s aunts or uncles was hosting Christmas dinner that year. For this dinner it was usually potluck…so no official ‘meal’ like in my parents house. Then we’d play that gift swap game where you have the choice of opening a new gift or stealing someone elses who already opened it. They may call it Secret Santa…but it’s not actually traditional Secret Santa. My Father-In-Law is one of six siblings, so it’s too expensive to buy everyone a gift…this way everyone gets a gift. Then we play charades….but by now everyone is so drunk it’s kind of a shit-show! But a fun shit-show!

POST ESTRANGEMENT:

On Christmas Eve we go to my Brother-In-Law and SIL’s house for dinner. In attendance are Father-In-Law, Darling Husband, myself, Brother-In-Law, SIL, her parents, her brother and of course my baby niece. We have a nice dinner and hang out. Any gifts we get for my niece she gets to open so we can watch her open them.

Christmas morning it’s just myself, Darling Husband and Father-In-Law. We usually exchange ‘token’ gifts. I then make a simple brunch for me and the guys. Then we relax for the day and go to whichever aunt or uncle is hosting christmas dinner.

I am pregnant with baby #1. So Christmas 2017 will be my first Christmas as a Mommy. I plan on hand making stockings and reading The Night Before Christmas until my child is old enough to take over the reading. I’m excited to see what traditions evolve for the future!

 

Post # 24
Member
5108 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2014

We love Christmas. We love it so much we got married on Christmas Day, so it’s our anniversary too!

But every Christmas is different. Growing up, we always did Christmas with my aunts/uncles/cousins/grandparents on Christmas Eve with the big dinner and took turns as to where it was held. Then Christmas Day was just the immediate family at home with a special breakfast (usually biscuits and gravy, in New England, go figure). 

Now we seem to do something different every year. My parents live states away and DH’s parents live a couple hours away, so it’s not plausible to see everyone. The first year we were together, my mother came down and we did Christmas with just her. The second year my parents came down and we all went to the ILs house for dinner, this is when we surprised everyone by getting married. Last year my parents visited earlier in December (for my graduation) and we did an early Christmas with them and then did Christmas Dinner at our house with DH’s family on Christmas Day. This year my parents will be visiting for Christmas again, not sure if DH’s family will be involved our not. Neither of our families are jerks about being seen/not seen on Christmas Day, so it kind of just happens how it happens. Luckily my parents have been able to come down the past several years (they don’t mind, they’re coming to FL from ME, it’s nice to be warm). Darling Husband always has to work around Christmas (between Christmas and New Years is one of his busiest times), so it makes it difficult for us to go anywhere. 

As far as traditions go. Growing up my family always did a gift game (I’ve since heard it referred to as a White Elephant gift exchange) where basically you draw numbers and pick wrapped gifts and then trade them for what you want. This was always really fun, but I haven’t been at the family party in years. 

A Christmas Carol, the Patrick Stewart version, is a must. It’s my favorite Christmas movie. We’ve also decided on the traditional anniversary gifts being encorporated into Christmas stuff. So we did paper last year, I made a whole paper Christmas Town and we have a paper ornament for the tree. 

Post # 25
Hostess
4003 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: December 2016

In our house the decorating and Christmas music starts promptly on December 1st!  I try to bake a different cookie for each day in December and share with my neighbors and friends.  A few years ago I made these neat little paper boxes that sit on our mantle and are our Advent Calendar, the kids can open one every night to count down.  I put ornaments, candy, socks, gloves, and goofy little things in them. I work totally insanse hours March-November, and get to be a Stay-At-Home Mom Dec-Feb and I LOVE having time around the house for the Holidays!!! 

My biological family isn’t big on Christmas now that everyone is grown up, so since my kids were born we have spent Christmas with their grandparents on their dad’s side (who are now my ex Father-In-Law and StepMIL) My family is super convoluted haha!  The kids sleep at their grandparents and when they wake up at some insanely early hour they are allowed to see the presents Santa brought them…even now that they are teens lol…and open their stockings until everyone else arrives.  They call and wake us up, and Fiance and I drive over (we stay like 5 minutes away).  We get started making eggs Benedict for breakfast and start baking the homemade cinnamon rolls that have been rising since the night before.  All the adults open their stockings.  Then we eat breakfast, then open presents.  

This year will be the first year without Grandpa (XFIL) who passed suddenly in July.  So it will be bittersweet for all of us.  I am so thankful that Fiance understands family is who you love and he doesn’t mind that all my XIL’s are my family.  We will definitely be over there this year.  They live 2 hours from us in the town where I am from. It hadn’t crossed my mind that this will be the first Christmas without Grandpa.  *sniff* this year of firsts without grandpa is so weird and sad.  

After Christmas breakfast and presents, we load up into the car and head back to where we live and unload, take a nap, watch Rudolph and chill.  Until it’s time for dinner, then we head over to FI’s parents house and do Christmas Evening with them with a big Prime Rib and presents and all the kids play video games together.  FI’s youngest brother is only a year and a half older than my daughter, so they are great friends and she loves to call him her Uncle to get a rise out of him.  

After Christmas the 4 of us (me, Fiance, Dear Daughter, and DS) pack up the car and go on a trip somewhere.  Last year we went skiing.  I think this year we are going to go to Yellowstone.  This is our gift to the kids because it’s hard to shop for teens and they don’t need anymore STUFF and I would rather give them awesome memories.  

Post # 26
Member
641 posts
Busy bee

This will be our 6th christmas together, the 1st we had only been together a few months so we spent it with our own families. 

Since then, it has become tradition to spend christmas day with his parents and sisters. We stay at our house christmas eve, listen to christmas music whilst wrapping the last of our presents and have our own ‘christmas roast’, followed by chritmas treats and films in bed. We wake up early on christmas morning, go downstairs make a cup of tea and put on christmas music (FI loves music!) and open our presents from each other. His dad and sister will then pick us up and we go to his family home and have bacon rolls and champagne for breakfast. 

We always have a theme to wear either christmas jumpers/onsies.. this year it is Disney onsies! (must find one!)  We then sit in a big circle in the lounge, we all have our ‘spots’ and one by one presents for eachother. FI’s mum always gives stockings from Santa and gifts from mum & dad. It’s so cute!  It takes hours to open the presents but christmas wouldnt be the same without it! Then we all have a big lunch, followed by games and general relaxation. 

This will be our first chistmas at home in 2 years as we moved to Australia, so we are super excited! The 1st year we spent it on Bondi beach in Santa hats and bikinis which was such a novelty, then had BBQ and games with our other ex-pat friends. Last year we spent it in Bali, which was incredible, but it just didn’t feel like Christmas and was very bittersweet when we facetimed our family!

This will also be the first year in our own home (previosuly we rented) but we live a good hours drive from FI’s family so they have suggested we stay with them on christmas eve.. but i sort of want to have our first christmas morning in our own house!

Fiance & I have decided that on christmas eve, we will start a new tradition and have his family & my grandparents over for dinner. I am excited to host! Followed by christmas pjs (the christmas elf brings these even now to the grown up children!!) and christmas films – This happens at FI’s house, and as much as I dont want to miss out, I want to wake at our house.. torn on what to do!

I don’t have a particularly close family (except my grandparents) and when i first met Fiance Christmas did not excite me, now I LOVE IT! We sometimes will spend boxing day with my family, normally for lunch and either before or after hit the christmas sales or go home and unpack our gifts and just relax together. We also see my grandparents on the lead up to christmas and will have a lunch at a local village pub, my Nana will give us our presents.. and Fiance and I become children and open them on the way home :)!

Post # 27
Member
41 posts
Newbee

Oh, I love reading all these stories! I’m super lucky because Fiance is Jewish so we have double the celebrations & haven’t had to make difficult decisions re: where to spend each holiday.

My mum is German so we have some German traditons that we stick to – i.e. we decorate the tree on Christmas Eve (while listening to the festival of nine lessons & carols from King’s College), then we have to eat fish for supper (no meat allowed all day). We go to midnight mass & come home to open all our presents at 2am while drinking champagne. 

The next day I bake cinnamon rolls for breakfast and then we all help make lunch (actually, Fiance is in charge, my brother & I help out and my mum relaxes). We usually take the dogs out while everything is cooking and then eat by candlelight at 5pm or so. I love it so so much. 

Post # 29
Member
41 posts
Newbee

desertgypsy :  Amazing to be a Stay-At-Home Mom Dec – Feb! you can really make the most of all the exciting prep before Christmas etc. … the build up to Christmas is almost as good as Christmas itself 

Post # 30
Member
3019 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

We keep Christmas pretty simple. 

The day after Thanksgiving, we take our pre-lit, artificial tree out of storage and decorate it. I’d like to buy a simple pre-lit wreath for the door this year, funds permitting, as our new house is an Eichler with no street-facing windows. 

I usually make a glazed ham, a potato dish that changes based on how much time off and energy I have, a winter squash or sweet potato side, and a green vegetable (usually roasted brussels sprouts, green beans, or green peas with pearl onions). I mull some wine, buy some apple cider for underaged guests, and buy a stollen for dessert. We usually have whoever in our family is in the USA over, and they bring various sweets from their country, like bouche de noel, boeterkoek, panettone, mincemeat pies, etc. 

The leftover ham that isn’t sent home with family becomes various ham and bean or split pea and ham soup, ham sandwiches, and ham, roasted potato, and green pea casserole… usually. I still have vacuum-sealed ham from last Christmas in the freezer. 

Gifts are usually small and edible or consumable items, like homemade Christmas cookies, spiced nuts, and/or chocolates; fancy looseleaf teas, candies, or spice blends; and small beeswax candles, bath and beauty products packed into one festive gift bag per friend. If I have the time and energy, I will make a tree ornament for everyone, too, but I will be giving birth tomorrow (induced labor) so I probably won’t this year. 

For my more Americanized friends who like gifts that last longer, I add a useful item that fits a theme for everyone, like fleece throw blankets, coffee mugs that suit the recipient’s style or interests, faux cashmeme scarves in their favorite colors, etc. It’s all very standardized but people seem to like it. 

Kids get toys and/or hobby items. I always ask their parents what they’re into (Legos and art suppies seem to be the most popular requests for the kids in my circle). 

After Christmas, I host a White Elephant gift exchange for my friends. I provide another Christmas dinner (ham, roasted baby potatoes, baked yams in foil, green veggie nobody ever eats, non-alcoholic apple cider, mulled wine, sugar cookies) and gift favor bags, and encourage guests to bring a party snack or leftover Christmas miscellany along with their present (our friend brought over party poppers last year and they were a big hit!), and we have lots of fun. 

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