It’s funny how traditions come to be traditions.

Growing up in Sioux Falls, our tradition was to celebrate Christmas Eve at my grandparents’ house with my mom’s siblings, her aunt and uncle and cousins. It was kind of a dress up thing.  Party foods and party beverages.  In later years, they added a Dirty Santa gift exchange for the adults (and it was a real “coming of age” moment when I was old enough to participate!).

Me with my Great Grandma Grace at one of those long ago Christmas Eve gatherings.
Me with my Great Grandma Grace at one of those long ago Christmas Eve gatherings.

On Christmas Day, after we’d opened our Santa gifts, we’d go back over to Grandma’s for a traditional Christmas dinner.

We’ve modeled our Arkansas Christmas traditions after our old traditions, but added our own “spin.”

After the candlelight Christmas Eve service at church, we head over to Mom and Dad’s.  We’ve got much of the same party food (shrimp chip dip makes its annual appearance, as well as cheese & crackers and smoked oysters and Grandma Grace’s Scramble) and party beverages. Our families are smaller than the Johnson and Nelson families, but we typically make up for that by expanding our circle.  I don’t know if I can remember a Christmas Eve at my folks’ where there wasn’t someone “extra.”  It seems there is always someone who is far away from their family at Christmas, so we invite them to spend it with ours.

A few (several?) years ago, Dad decided he wanted to make a prime rib for dinner on Christmas Day. That sounded GREAT to us carnivores! It sounded pretty great to my mom too, since now she wouldn’t have to make dinner.  If my memory serves correctly, at some point that day one of us called another and commented how nice it was to be home in our comfy pjs all day.  Since it was just going to be family at dinner, we decided we could just go to Mom’s for dinner still wearing pajamas.  And a NEW tradition was born!

Christmas Day Photobooth – with props! A new tradition in the making? Only time will tell!

I’m not certain if the year Dad started making prime rib and we wore PJs is the same year that we started playing Catchphrase, but now that is part of the Christmas Day tradition too.

Since New Year’s Eve is my parents’ anniversary and my sister-in-law Hannah’s birthday, we’ve all gone out to dinner together for the past several years. Tonight, we’re switching it up a bit.  We’re doing a “make your own pizza” at our house, IN OUR PJs, and playing Catchphrase (among other games).  Who knows?  There may even be a photo booth.  And this could be the making of a new tradition.

I hope you close out this year and begin the new making memories and/or traditions with the people you love!