christmas traditions

My family holds a lot of traditions, especially during Christmas time.  We do pretty much the same things every single Christmas, but even if it is the same from year to year, I love our family traditions.  Probably because I thrive when things are routine and familiar.  Change things up and I will get completely stressed out.  So, from year to year, I look forward to those same known traditions that I love so much.

Christmas Eve is always spent with my parents.  I honestly don’t remember it being any different.  Sure, the time we go to church has changed since my brother and I have been heavily involved with the music program at church (handbells, choirs, orchestras), but otherwise, I have known Christmas Eve being the same way since I was little.  Of course, with a two year old, we’ve had to adjust our traditions – like letting her open a Christmas present before we head off to church.  Church is always hit or miss with MacKenna – sometimes she’ll do great, other times she’s quite the terror.  We thought that letting her open a new toy would keep her happy and occupied while we sang Christmas carols at church.  Thankfully, her new Minnie Mouse toy kept her busy throughout the service.

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(We literally have 4 different Minnie’s with different clothes you can dress them up in… and my mom has 2 more at her house.  We are Minnie obsessed.)

After the afternoon church service with my parents, we headed over to their house for dinner and present opening.  This is another thing that has changed as years have gone on, but sometimes, having a child will do that.  We used to eat dinner at Applebee’s after church and more recently Trailhead Brewing Company, but this year, we opted to have a home cooked meal by my mama instead of heading out.  This was much easier for us since we can’t expect MacKenna to sit still for another hour after she’s already had to sit at church.  Plus, it was really nice getting to spend Christmas Eve with my brother Brian and sister-in-law Sara.  Sara is from Nebraska, so it is a rare occasion that we get to spend Christmas with them since they usually go to her parents.  But, with a baby due on Christmas Day, we got the pleasure of spending the evening with them.

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After dinner always comes present opening.  I think this was one of my favorite Christmases just because I got to watch MacKenna’s face as she opened each one of her gifts.  You don’t know joy until you have witnessed a child opening Christmas presents.  Of course, the second present she opened was her Doc McStuffins medical kit and then it was pulling teeth to get her to open anything else.  Toy of the year right there.  I have used Doc to my advantage this past week…

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Matt and I both came home with a haul from my parents.  We are three very spoiled kiddos, that’s for sure!  Unpacking and putting things away is always my least favorite part (my house is still a disaster), but after finally getting things at least picked up, Matt and I settled down for our “long winter’s nap” around 11, which is probably pretty good for us on Christmas.

I have my own tradition Christmas morning to get up before everyone else in the house and get in a quick run.  I have run anything from 3 miles to 8+ miles on Christmas morning, but it is something that I love doing at Christmas time as a way to clear my mind before the chaos of the day begins.  I ran 3 easy miles on the treadmill before heading upstairs to prep cinnamon rolls (out of a can – I’d rather run than cook) and sit down with a cup of coffee before MacKenna (and Matt) woke up.

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Santa brought MacKenna more Minnie Mouse things and a Bubble Guppies doll and coloring book.  I cannot get over how much fun it was watching MacKenna get so excited over each and every gift.  She would tear it open and gasp and then look at us and scream what it was.  So much joy in such a little human.  It warms my heart!

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Christmas morning is spent with Matt’s family, eating delicious food (I married in to a family with some really fabulous cooks) and more present opening.  Again, we are totally and completely spoiled.  As soon as we walked in to my in-laws, MacKenna saw her new Minnie car and immediately started playing with it.  This was toy #2 this year.  All I have heard the last few days is, “Mama push!  Mama push!”, demanding me to push her around the house in her Minnie car.  My chiropractor will be loving me for the next few weeks.

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We spend Christmas evening with my extended family, all 24 of us – and that’s with a few missing!  We eat more food and do a gift exchange between the adults.  We usually have a theme for our gift exchange (we’ve done As Seen on TV, the color blue, and summer, just to name a few) but this year opted for no theme.  We both got stolen from a few times, even with some of the last numbers, but I ended up with a new Thirty-One lunch bag and Matt got a portable cell phone charger, so we did pretty well!  MacKenna on the other hand was a little overwhelmed with the noise and was not as well behaved as we were hoping, so we had to cut our visit a little short to head home.

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But, we had some packing to do!  We left Thursday morning for Branson to celebrate Matt’s birthday on the 26th!  It’s another tradition that we have been doing ever since we got married.  We have only missed one year when MacKenna was born, but picked it back up last year.  We go with Matt’s parents and spend time in Silver Dollar City, of course, as well as hit up some after-Christmas sales at the outlet malls.  We had absolutely perfect weather – sunny with temps in the upper 50s – so we spent a lot of time walking around SDC.  We took MacKenna on the train, we rode the carousel 3 times, and we went on a few of the kiddie rides with her.  I am learning that we are going to have to teach her how to be a little more patient as she freaked out when we had to wait for 3 rounds of the rides before it was her turn.  I think her face says it all with how much she enjoyed it…

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But with all the traditions and presents opened, the best present arrived Thursday evening.  My new nephew Braden was born at 7:04 PM on the 26th.  He shares a birthday with Matt and Matt has already promised him that he would teach him how to open presents and blow out the candles so they could do it together.  We were of course in Branson when he was born, so we were finally able to make it over to Brian and Sara’s Sunday afternoon to hold him.  He is just so sweet and tiny!  I am smitten with him and plan to spoil the heck out of him!  He’s just what I needed to get my baby fix…

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