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How We Celebrate Christmas

Christmas is here and there’s nothing I love more than hearing how other families around Hampton Roads are celebrating the holidays.  Check out what Hampton Roads Moms contributor Ashley Rickert and her family do every December in How We Celebrate Christmas.

It’s Christmas Time

Let me preface by saying Christmas is my FAVORITE time of the year.

I’m that crazy lazy who starts shopping in July, who tries her very best to “go all out”, and to make it the most special time of the year for my kids.

Growing up, my Christmases were pretty traditional. We spent Christmas Eve with one set of grandparents, then Christmas Day with another (after opening all our presents of course!). There are some traditions that I am taking from my own childhood and passing on to my children, there are some traditions that we are taking from my husband’s family, and some that we are making our own as we go!

What Christmas Means to Us

John and I have spent plenty of Christmases together by now, but my favorite ones have been the ones that we have shared with our kids.

It has been so, so special to me to introduce Christmas to Junior and Oliver. (Junior is now 3 years old and Oliver is 7 weeks).

This will be Oliver’s first Christmas, but it is such a fun age for Junior. For a while now he’s been telling us what he wants Santa to bring him.

First, it was a ride on car, then a superman, then a giant snake, a piano, and last night at dinner he said he wanted bugs?! He’s very imaginative!

However, the excitement of it all is just so heartwarming. Although, Santa is definitely a fun part of Christmas, for our family, we also celebrate the birth of Jesus and what the meaning of this season is truly about.

In true Charles Dickens’ fashion, we find it is especially important this time of year to spread kindness, warmth, and to give wherever we can. Therefore, we try to find ways to instill those values into our kids as well.

Our Traditions

Like mentioned, our little family blends traditions and create a bit of our own.

Due to be military, we live away from all of our family. Therefore, every other year we go and spend Christmas with them in Texas.

While being with them, there are several traditions that we have. One being Mimi (the children’s grandmother) always buys matching jammies for all her grandchildren to wear on Christmas Eve, (I swear she spends all year looking for these!) along with a Christmas book that she reads on Christmas Eve to all the kids before bed. (She has the best Christmas book collection!)

Then, on Christmas morning we gather as a family, there is usually about 25-30 of us, to open presents. Christmas morning consists of Santa presents (unwrapped and in the open of course!) and presents from each other. Then, Mimi and the YaYa’s prepare a yummy feast! (And while in Texas, we always have to go to Whataburger!)

Another tradition that my husband’s family has that is pretty original is having personalized ornaments for every person in the family. These are not just any ornament, but the are handmade by his uncle. However, if you marry into the family, you do not get your ornament until you have been married for 5 years. Last year, I received my own personalized ornament and it was a very memorable moment!

For our own family, one of my favorite traditions has been taking the kids to breakfast with Santa! This year will be our third year. We love to take them to the Founder’s Inn in Virginia Beach because it is just beautiful there.

The hotel is decorated from head to toe in the most magical way. They have the most beautiful golden tree that reaches to the tops of the ceiling, a human size gingerbread house, and each room in the foyers are decorated with their own theme.

After the tour and breakfast, Santa gathers all the children to read ‘The Night Before Christmas’, and following, the children get to go and sit on his lap, meet Mrs. Claus, get a balloon animal, and a face painting if you would like! Junior has always had so much fun.

Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve, we meet up with friends, head to the Christmas Eve service at church where they have SO much going on like a petting zoo, a photo booth, serve apple cider, sing Christmas carols, and of course, telling the story of the birth of Jesus. It’s always a good time.

Then, we head home to open one present! This is a tradition from my childhood, but instead of picking just any present under the tree, I always wrap Junior (and now Oliver!) a “Christmas Eve Box.”

This consists of his jammies for the night, a new Christmas book, and Christmas movie. And, this year we are adding a Christmas Train! Like most, put out cookies for Santa and head to bed. Then, in the morning the kids will wake up, see what Santa brought time, and open all their presents before heading to spend Christmas Day with some of our closest friends.

These are just some of our mentioned traditions, but throughout the month we are making ornaments, baking cookies, making fudge, drinking hot cocoa, heading to any Christmas event we can find, watching Christmas movies (Our favorite is ‘The Santa Clause!’), and this year we added an Advent calendar!

Again, Christmas is special and fun time of the year for us. So fun, that I literally start planning in like October and start wrapping all of our presents just to make sure they are ready to be put out when the tree goes up! Another tradition of mine is finding a theme for wrapping paper each year and making all my own bows.

I hope you enjoyed reading a little about our family’s traditions, we truly have enjoyed celebrating the season this year. From our family to yours, have a very Merry Christmas!

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