Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Our Christmas Traditions & Advent Calendar // Christmas 2017

Today is our Winter Holiday Traditions & Advent Calendar Linkup! Please linkup any holiday traditions or Advent related posts that you have, below! :) These do not have to be Christmas posts, if you celebrate another holiday, or a secular tradition -- please share those as well! :)

When you start your own family, even in the two-person (or one person + furry family) sense, you have to start thinking about what you want your own holiday traditions to be. We have been married for almost seven years, so we are still pretty new at this, but we have started making new traditions of our own to make the holiday season special.

As family dynamics change, and what's important to you change, sometimes you have to change your traditions as well. - and I think that's ok! & important to remember!!

Something new we are trying this year is our Advent Calendar!

Advent Calendar 2017:

The What & Why: This year I wanted to do an Advent calendar. They always seem fun, KC's family used to do them when he was a kid, and as they got older they turned into "daily gifts"... so I thought it would be fun to give it a try on our own. I like how it turned out, but I'll admit that we've been really busy (not by choice, lol, not glorifying busy - I promise!)... and not doing the best at the activity portion of the calendar. But I think saving them for a free night/day is just fine. We're doing our best. ;)

The Theme: The theme I wanted to go for was "Christmas Around the World". I did a lot of research on holiday traditions across the globe, though admittedly most of them are from Europe... because it has a high Christian population. ;) It was an interesting project for a life-long-learner like me, and it has been fun for KC too. I think it would be fun to do multiple holidays/faiths/etc. in the future. :)

The DIY Process: I had a different idea initially, but it was going to be too time consuming. So I swapped that idea for making tiny envelopes with little cards in them. I used a small envelope template (that I'd never used before!), some leftover paper source paper from wedding invitations this year, typewriter style letter stamps, washi tape, and my 01 Sakura Micron Pen. :) I just spelled out the number with my stamps on the outside of each envelope, inserted the card, and sealed them off with washi tape. I hung them from the mantle with tiny clothespins and baker's twine. For the cards themselves, I wrote a fact on each card making sure to note where each tradition was from. I wrote the number and traced the outline of the country the fact was from on the front of each card. If there is an activity that goes with the tradition, I wrote that on the card as well. (like I said, we are behind on these... :P).

Overall it has been fun, and we've had some laughs. Though no time to cook the recipes or eat all the sweets I collected to go with it. heheh We're having fun with it though. :) I'm glad that the design itself is super simple. :)

Does anyone want to see a tutorial/specific things we've been doing? Let me know! :)

Our Winter Holiday Traditions:

At this time of year, KC and I celebrate Christmas. Most of our celebrations are rather secular, and we've been known to tag along at our friend Rachel's Chanukah celebrations as well... so it's kind of just whatever is happening on a given year. I also think it is a bit funny than plenty of Christmas traditions come from Pagan ones. So.. it all depends on how you look at it I suppose! :P

Giving back - angel tree, donations, etc.

Every year we like to pick an organization, or a specific person, etc. to give a monetary gift to. It's not a set amount, it's just whatever we can do or feel is best. Sometimes we do an angel tree, other times we donate bleach and paper towels to the animal shelter, we've given money to medical funds of people that we know, it just depends on the year... but giving back during the holidays is a tradition that we like to keep. :)

Spending Christmas Eve Just the Two of Us (& Our Cats.. :P)

We didn't actually end up doing this last year... but the idea is that Christmas Eve is for us. We can eat dinner together, cuddle up, watch a movie, hang out by the tree, unwrap presents, etc. Just the two of us. It's lovely, and I'm excited to get back to it this year. :) I think we are going to start having fettuccine too, because that's what they do in The Holiday and we think it is fun. :)  We also like to take a "famiy photo" with the cats. :P 

Love Actually + Hot Schnaapslate

Along with The Holiday, Love Actually is one of our favorite Christmas movies. We started a tradition a few years ago to watch it and have Peppermint Hot Schnappslate. Yum. A favorite at our house.

Insanely Long Xmas Playlists

Whenever we go thrifting, (admittedly less often lately) we look for Christmas CDs. We have found some GEMS! We have so many fantastic '90's-'00's albums, but also classics, and brand new things as well. We found a mint condition Michael Buble. Anyhow, we load them all onto my laptop, and add a bit to it every year. We do buy new ones too or download them, that way we can shuffle and not get bored with the selection in the evenings as we wrap gifts, etc. Some of Our Must Listen to Albums: Celtic Woman (all of them!), Hayley Westenra, Christina Aguilera, Aly & AJ, the Nutcracker, Michael Buble, Pentatonix, Hilary Duff, Rosemary Clooney, Bing Crosby, other miscellaneous!  

Making Spritz Cookies

Spritz Cookies are my favorite Christmas cookie. We grew up making them with my mom. I also love that they are small and can have sprinkles. ;) I've got a big love of sprinkles. KC and I have our own cookie press so we can make them every Christmas! :) Now if we can just find it this year... :P 

Different Tree Decor Every Year (for now)

We have a mini tree since we've been living in apartments. It's about 3 foot tall, hehe, and we set it up on a table. Each year we decorate it differently. Sometimes we get new ornaments, sometimes we mix and match old sets together. It's fun to try something different! We likely won't continue this every year once we have a full-sized tree, but we'll see and it is fun for now! I'm actually hoping to donate our small tree, and start getting real ones. Artificial ones are 3xs (yikes) worse for the environment, so that's an easy switch to make. Also, how fun is the idea of going to the farm and picking one out?! Good photos ops, etc. :) Looking forward to it someday soon!

Must Watch Movies:

Our favorite Christmas movies are The Holiday and Love Actually. Beyond those two we both enjoy the Santa Clause, The Snowman, and The Grinch (animated version). We usually try to watch Christmas Vacation, Scrooged, and A Christmas Story too. Those are some of KC's family's favorites. I'd like to watch a few classic ones that I have as well like White Christmas and Christmas in Connecticut! :) For non-traditional movies I like Little Women and While You Were Sleeping!

What are your holiday traditions?

Have you ever done an Advent calendar, or any type of daily gift for the winter holidays?

Join us by linking up below! :) 



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