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Kelly Family Christmas Traditions

Christmas tree and fireplace with stockings
Kelly Family Christmas Traditions

As Christmas approaches, many of us are busy decorating our homes, planning family gatherings and indulging in delicious festive treats. But among all the hustle and bustle, have you stopped to think about the traditions that make this time of year so special?

Christmas traditions hold a special place in our hearts – they bring us together with loved ones and create cherished memories that last a lifetime. These traditions are passed down from generation to generation, keeping our heritage and culture alive. New traditions are created as new families grow.

But why are traditions so important? For one, they provide a sense of stability and continuity in our ever-changing world. In today's fast-paced society, where everything seems to be constantly evolving, Christmas traditions offer a sense of comfort and familiarity.

Traditions also help us connect with our loved ones and build stronger relationships. Whether it's baking cookies with your family, decorating the Christmas tree together or attending a holiday concert, these shared experiences bring us closer and create lasting bonds.

I thought it would be fun to share the Kelly Family traditions that have been passed down or created over the years. To get you started, here is one of the first traditions I started with my kiddos. This adorable red and white knit outfit was gifted to us by our neighbor in Texas. I absolutely adored it. It was perfect too because all the kids were born in the fall, so it has fit each of them. It is one of the few baby things I have kept over the years. Who wore it best??

Christmas Tree with pink tree skirt and multi colored ornaments
Kelly Family Tree 2023

Our Christmas celebrations kick off the day after Thanksgiving. We skip the hubbub of black Friday and hunker down at home. We pull out all of our Christmas decorations from the attic and start decorating. It all begins with the Christmas tree! At our house, we have a fake tree. It's the most economical for this time in our lives.

As a young adult, I always imagined my tree would be one of those gorgeous color coordinated tree with stunning ornaments perfectly placed like in the magazines. As a mom of three, I now realize how ridiculous that notion was. The reality is the tree is more for the kids than it is for myself at this time in my life. I've let go of all creative control. When we pull out the ornaments, I know the tree isn't going to look "perfect" and that's ok. I understand now that it's more about the time we spend together as we put up the ornaments than the final result.

The kids' favorite ornaments are the photo ornaments I have made for them every year. Each child gets his or her photo printed on an ornament and I also have a family ornament made with all of us on it. They enjoy pulling these ornaments off and looking at them throughout the holiday season.

As a child, decorating the Christmas tree was something my sister and I always did with my grandma. She was the type that would supervise and relocate ornaments hung in the wrong places. She was also still using tinsel to decorate her tree in the 90s. I still remember her getting upset that we put the tinsel on in clumps instead of spreading it out.

Remembering her while I decorate the tree with my own children is precious to me. She passed away from lung cancer when I was about 13 years old. So much time has passed that only a few things still remind me of her.

I've always enjoyed baking since I was a child, so it's only natural that baking is also part of our holiday festivities. I've experimented with several cookie recipes over the years and I will still occasionally try something new. For the most part though, I stick to my tried and true sugar cookie, gingerbread and royal icing recipes. I make three batches of cookies for friends and family to decorate along with a HUGE batch of icing. I set up decorating stations with four colors of icing and plenty of sprinkles. Guests normally run out of decorating steam (and room in their stomach) long before the cookies run out. My husband, Tim, and I stay up late into the night to finish icing them while we watch a Christmas movie.

Speaking of Christmas movies, we just can't can't get enough at this time of year! Every night in December, we choose a different movie to watch. We light the fireplace and a few pine and cinnamon scented candles to set the mood. Occasionally, we will even enjoy a hot toddy too! We watch the classics along with the new cheesy holiday romantic comedies. One of my all time favorites to watch is White Christmas. Being a vintage girl, I adore this movie. The costumes, the hair, the make up. I just can't get enough!

No Christmas is complete without seeing Santa. It's such a magical experience for the kids to be able to see the big man and tell him all of the things they are hoping for for Christmas. At our house, we don't let Santa get all the credit. He gifts the children one modest toy. We follow a strict rule of something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. Our Christmases are definitely smaller than what I had as a child, but they suite our lifestyle. We prefer to give our children experiences throughout the year than a lot of "stuff" all at once on Christmas.

In the past few years, I have started a fun new tradition with my own children. We've been creating a collection of Christmas books that we can pull out and share during the month of December. We now have enough books to read one Christmas book each day. These range from some of the classics like How The Grinch Stole Christmas to quirky renditions of Pete the Cat. We also enjoy watching the movie after we've read the book!

Mom reading a book to three kids
Reading Christmas Books

Another annual Christmas tradition we follow was started by my mom (as far as I know). On Christmas Eve, we load up the car and drive around looking at Christmas lights. When we were kids, she would have us shout "CHRISTMAS LIGHTS!!!" every time we would see some. Over time, this tradition has been adapted as my sister and I have aged and had our own children. One of the most fun versions was piling eight people in my seven-seater SUV with a few adults (not the driver, of course) bringing along white Christmas mojitos and cruising through Dove wood Court.

So this holiday season, take a moment to reflect on the traditions that hold a special place in your heart. Embrace them, pass them down to future generations, and create new ones to add even more magic and meaning to this festive time of year. Let's keep the spirit of Christmas alive through our cherished traditions and spread love, joy, and kindness to all those around us.

Here are a few more of my favorite Christmas pictures from years past!


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