Most people work out to upbeat rap music or heavy metal rock. I made a deal with myself at the beginning of fall that anytime I wanted to watch “This Is Us” I would have to be on the elliptical. Surprisingly, this has worked out pretty well. On Thanksgiving morning I could not fall back asleep after JR got home (5:45 a.m. oof!) I decided Thanksgiving of all days would be a great day to hit the gym early. I caught up watching the Thanksgiving episode of “This Is Us” and it was probably my favorite episode so far. Without spoiling it for anyone, the episode featured the family and the fun different traditions they formed on their own. This is JR and I’s first holiday season as a married couple and it made me excited to start some traditions of our own. I read through a couple of lists but a lot of them focused on things for kids or baking (JR is not a huge baker.) We haven’t decided on anything specific but have tossed around a couple ideas so far and I’m excited to see what sticks!
1. Send out Christmas Cards
When I was a kid I was OBSESSED with getting the mail and opening the Christmas cards we would receive. We had a big hallway closet door we would tape the cards to and I would love walking past it all winter break and look at all the family pictures. My favorite ones were the newsletters where they would say how old everyone was and what they were up to. I would always look to see who was the same age as me (as if it would change year to year 😛 ) I designed our’s this weekend and wrote a fun newsletter on the back! I seriously can’t wait to send them out!
2. Pick A Special Recipe
My family always has a traditional turkey Thanksgiving and usually a big ham for Christmas. Some year’s though we would have Valentino’s pizza (when we had out of town family over) and JR’s aunt would always have french onion soup. We usually spend lunch and dinner at our parent’s so I thought it would be fun to think of a fun breakfast recipe – maybe French Toast?
3. Go To A Movie
My aunt and uncle’s family used to always see a movie together on Christmas so I know for sure the movie theaters are open. Our family is still relatively small (no grandkids yet!) so this would be a great tradition since the logistics aren’t too complicated. I am a huge movie fanatic but JR isn’t as obsessed – I think my goal will to really get him excited about Star Wars since there is supposed to be a new one every year now – right?
4. Choose an Outdoor Activity
In the “This Is Us” episode they always go on a hike. That would be a little difficult to stick with with the crazy Nebraska weather but other outdoor activities would be game. My brother likes to take us hunting when we are all at home or shoot clay piegeons. Maybe sledding, ice skating?
5. Board Games
I think Monopoly has been a solo tradition of mine – or maybe me begging my family to play Monopoly with me? I love board games so I’m always up for anything but Monopoly has a special place in my heart. Seriously family – just block out 5 hours of your time, is it that difficult?
6. Gift Exchange
Since my side of the family has almost doubled in size the past three years we have stuck with a gift exchange. It helps balance expectations and really helps with budgeting. I also have read families/parents who stick to a gift rule. Something to wear, something to read, something you want, something you need – I think this is a great idea once we have kids. JR and I usually have a budget but maybe we think of something similar for the two of us!
My mom would always think of the most fun games and toys to put in our stockings when we were little. My dad is a farmer so we would all wake up super early from general excitement and my mom would have to occupy us for 3-4 hours while we waited for my dad to get in from chores. The toys and games were super cheap dollar store finds but they would always be so fun! The past few years she has got us all scratch cards which is always fun too!
8. Christmas Tree Shopping/Christmas Shopping
Allergy girl over here! I am unbelievably jealous of everyone’s cute Christmas tree shopping photos. I have pretty bad allergies so we have never got a real tree and have invested in a pretty nice artificial one. I love the tradition of going Christmas tree shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. With hot chocolate and babies in scarves!! I also always loved when we would have a babysitter when we were little and my parents would go out Christmas shopping together. I would always think about how fun that would be as a grown up to go on a Christmas shopping date!
9. Gift of Giving
JR and I have talked a lot about how we will work giving into our budget. I just finished the book Love Your Live Not Theirs by Rachel Cruze and she talks a lot about finding a cause you are passionate about. It could be donating or helping at a soup kitchen, adopting a family for Christmas, or donating to a specific cause you’re passionate about. We have really been wracking our brains for a way to give that is substantial but allows us to connect rather than just writing a check. As newlyweds this would be a great tradition to start now and follow through with once we have kids. It would be a great way to keep the focus on giving and helping others throughout the holiday’s.
10. Advent Bible Study
I have a fun DIY coming up which relates to this one. We always had some type of advent tree with boxes that we would open throughout December as kids. I have looked into a few adult studies and thought an advent tree would be a great way to connect with the Scripture throughout the season. I haven’t ever done any Scripture journaling which I think I would really like. How fun would it be to have a Christmas journal that you could look back through every year!?
10. Go On A Trip
I know, I know, that sounds super expensive! We decided when we got married that no matter what we would budget to go on a trip for our anniversary. Christmas is such an expensive time to travel as well. But even a weekend to Kansas City to see the lights at Crown Plaza, or wrangling together a group to book a cabin in the mountains is manageable! While I’m typing this I just remembered the Arbor Day Lodge in Nebraska City which would be a fun romantic (affordable) weekend away! Travel is something that is really important to us so skipping on presents for a travel experience would be worth it!
These are just a few ideas we have thrown around! I’ll be sure to keep you updated on what we decide to do or any other fun new ideas!