© Carolina Adame Photography

During this holiday season I wanted to take some time to reflect on Christmas. Christmas has definitely become a completely different holiday since having Paulito and Vicky but to be honest this holiday season I feel like I have been mostly on autopilot and not very festive. When I began to think about what makes the holidays so special the words “family traditions” came to mind.  To be completely honest I had never really stopped to think about our family traditions during the holidays. I don’t think that I had even contemplated the word “tradition”. Up until now I had only thought of tradition as being something that was handed down to me, and not something that I was giving to my children. Once I redefined “tradition” for myself I realized that we had already started giving it to our children–I only had to open my eyes (or my mind?) to see it.

1. Christmas Bedspreads

I am going to start with something that may seem trivial but as a child I remember going to our neighbors house during the holidays and seeing her house decorated and seeing my classrooms always so festive. I thought, when I have a house I want to decorate it for the holidays. I don’t have a house yet, but we definitely have a home and since quality items do not come cheap I try to add one new key decoration every year. Two years ago I finally bought Christmas themed bedspreads for the kids from Pottery Barn Kids. It is definitely a task to change the bedspread and sheets but I absolutely love going into their bedroom and immediately being reminded that its Christmas time! This year Paulito and Vicky were pushing me to take out their Christmas bedspreads. It was wonderful to know that they were looking forward to it.

2. Family Photos

I would have to say that having our family photos taken by a professional photographer has been, in my opinion, some of the best money we have ever spent. We met our family photographer, Carolina Adame, through a mutual friend when Victoria was under a year old and she has taken our pictures almost every year since then. The kids know her now and she is absolutely great and super patient with my kids. Carolina is a mom so I feel that she understands that every family has an essence and her passion is being able to capture it thru her lens. Additionally, the pictures that Carolina has taken of us have meant so much to me for two very practical reasons. First, I am usually the one that is taking pictures so getting good pictures of me with the kids (other than a selfie) is almost impossible. Second, getting a good picture with all four of us is even harder because someone has to take the picture unless we can bother someone to take a picture and then we are at the mercy of their skills in making sure we are all looking at the camera with our eyes open. This is a luxury since great photographers do not come cheap, but if you can afford it, I cannot recommend it enough. I hope that you are as fortunate as we were in finding someone that captures your family’s spirit as accurately as Carolina has of us.

© Carolina Adame Photography

3. Holiday Card

Once we receive our family photos I immediately start putting together our holiday card. I realize that this is a dying tradition especially since we receive fewer holiday cards every year, but our holiday card still holds special meaning. To me, the holiday card is our opportunity to wish our family and friends a joyous holiday season and send them our love. It is our small gift so I intentionally obsess about every detail: the front of the card, the back of the card, making sure that the words on the card reflect the message we want to send and making sure the stamps are also holiday themed stamps (just to name a few details). Last year both Paulito and Victoria helped with the cards and this year Victoria was my main helper doing most of the stuffing, closing, and stamping. It has turned into something that we do together and I love it. I have a copy of each of our holiday cards and while I haven’t gotten around to putting them in a special scrapbook, it is definitely on my to do list. Tiny Prints is our go to for holiday cards.

4. Holiday Ornament

Something else that I do with our family pictures is create a holiday ornament for every year. This is also a treasure that gets better with time. This year the kids decorated the tree pretty much by themselves and both kids were giggling as they looked at each of the ornaments and saw their younger selves. I love looking at each of the ornaments and the memories of the kids during that time come back to mind. I used to buy the Hallmark ornaments but it has become more of a challenge for me to find a Hallmark store so these past two years I ordered the holiday ornament from Tiny Prints, along with our holiday cards. I love being able to use our family portraits as much as possible!  By the way, I didn’t always order our ornament on time each year so if you like the idea it is never too late to start!

     

5. Elf on the Shelf

Carlitos, our elf, arrived last year to our family, so this is definitely a newer tradition but I have to say that I truly wish that I had learned about Elf on the Shelf earlier. Sadly our kids (6 and 8) are getting close to hitting that moment when they no longer believe in the magic of Christmas, i.e. Santa Claus. For me, the beauty of the Elf on the Shelf has been that it brings the magic of Christmas to the kids each and every morning instead of only on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day when their presents from Santa arrive. Every morning they wake up and believe in the magic of Christmas. Their joy is absolutely infectious. Yes, there are nights when we are in bed ready to fall asleep and one of us (usually my husband) has to get up because we realize that we haven’t moved Carlitos, but then the next morning the kids wonder and bliss makes it all worth it. I am definitely going to miss this magical time when it ends.

          

So that’s it! My five favorite holiday traditions (thus far). Thanks so much for stopping by and taking it in. I am so thankful that I wrote this blog because the experience of writing it allowed me to add another layer of depth and importance to the holidays which was starting to get lost in my day to day experiences. I am now more thankful and grateful and that is a gift that I get to unwrap each day this holiday season and beyond.

From our family to yours we wish you a joyful holiday season!!!

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