Shane and I have carried on some of those traditions and of course have added our own. I'll share a couple of ours to encourage you to see how you add to yours, should you desire to enrich your holidays even more. Of course the bottom line is to savor the holidays, not to feel any pressure to add undo stress to your days.
We'll start with Thanksgiving. Shane and I would love to host dinner but are still too young I suppose! Shane suggested that next year we plan a special breakfast with our girls before we set off to our parents homes. I hope we remember this next year!
For the last few years, we've had a Cousin's Christmas party. Most of us cousins have lived in the same town growing up so we have a lot of shared memories of our childhood. As adults, we don't spend enough time together, often only seeing each other at Easter and Christmas. Now we have a private party of our own in one of our homes. We focus on fellowship with good finger foods and an spirited ornament exchange game. It's a favorite evening of the season for all of us!
As far as gifts go, we give the girls three gifts each under the tree, just as Jesus was given three gifts. They also get stocking gifts. To keep the girls from shaking and trying to peek, each girl gets a new name for a few weeks. The trick is, they don't know who is who! This year under the tree there are gifts for Sugar Cookie, Pumpkin Pie, Peanut Brittle, Candy Cane, and Ginger Bread. On Christmas morning, each girl will find a slip of paper in her stocking telling her who she is. It's so much fun hearing the girls analyze for weeks about who is who-especially when I don't put much thought into the names-it's pretty random, actually!
Oh, and the girls do get a big gift, but not from Santa. We downplay Santa here, and the big gift is a Daddy Gift. Why does the man in red get all the credit?
Remember to slow down and enjoy your traditions-if they stress you out, consider tweaking them or even replacing them with simpler ones.
Just for fun, here's some pictures from last night's cousin's party (stolen from my sister in law's FB page!-thanks Mary!):
Two sisters with their second cousin posing in front of the tree right where my cousins & I posed each year!