Now that the holiday season is behind us, I thought I’d take a second to reflect and cherish my favorite Christmas traditions. So here we have it, my Top 10 must does with my loved ones in no particular order.
- Decorating the Tree and Baking Sugar Cookies
In our house, we choose a tree filled with my family’s most precious memories rather than magazine worthy perfection. Every year, I love pulling out my kids’ art from school and ornaments we’ve purchased during memorable trips. They take me back to a moment in time and I know year after year this will only be more important to me.
I also love baking sugar cookies with my kids. It makes a HUGE mess but they love it so much. I tend to make these early in the month before we are super bogged down with Christmas activities so that we have time to actually enjoy the process.
2. Going Uptown to see The Singing Bears at Founder’s Hall
This is a tradition I started with my littles when my daughter was only a year old. We’ve always gone with friends and when Andy worked Uptown, we used to meet him after for lunch. I was afraid my kids might’ve reached the point where the bears would no longer hold their magic but that was not the case. They enjoyed it just as much this year as any previous year, if not more. Cole kept asking me to take his picture with the bears and spent the next few days after talking about it!
Instead of going to lunch this year, we decided to go after pre-school pick up and snagged some hot cocoa once the show was over. I think this secretly might’ve been their favorite part.
3. Going on a Tacky Light Tour
Our favorite stop on our light tour is on Sherwood Drive which is just outside our neighborhood off of Colony Road. Avery and Cole look forward to it every year and even remembered Santa would be out front handing out candy canes! For a complete list of the best lights in Charlotte, check out this link for 2018.
4. Gingerbread Lane at The Ballantyne Resort
Gingerbread Lane is a free event that runs for at least 3 weeks. For a dollar donation, you can cast your vote for your favorite! The creativity of the gingerbread houses always astounds me and makes for a fun visit.
5. Take a Ride on The Polar Express
I can only imagine what this must feel like for a child to do. My only guess is totally magical and surreal as the entire event makes you feel like you’ve stepped right into the storyline of the book and movie. Avery and Cole love this tradition with their grandparents and I must say we all enjoyed it too. The evening is complete with a visit with Santa and will be night you’ll never forget. You can find more details here if you’re interesting in planning your trip for next year!
6. See a Movie in Theaters
For most of my life, I always looked forward to seeing a big movie in theaters right before Christmas. Mary Poppins Returns did not disappoint! It was imaginative, engaging and oh so whimsical, a true delight for all.
7. Take a Stroll Down Candy Cane Lane at Carowinds’ Winterfest
For those of who don’t want to fight the crowds at Disney World or add that extra expense at the holidays, Winterfest is SO much fun. Avery and Cole qualify for free Pre-K season passes, (go ahead and register for 2019!) and this event is really magical. Carowinds looks amazing all decked out in Christmas lights and offers entertaining shows, crafts, lots of photo opps and select rides. This is a tradition we’ll keep on our list for many years to come.
8. Worship Together at Our Candle Light Christmas Eve Service
It is SO important to us as a family that we stop and spend time remembering the true reason for the season, Jesus. I love that my kids are in the service with us to sing carols and listen to the sermon. In other news, the night wouldn’t be complete without being terrified our son will accidentally burn the church down with his candle.
9. Bake Cupcakes for Jesus’s Birthday
Instead of making cookies for Santa, we bake and decorate cupcakes for Jesus’s birthday. It’s a small difference but I’m hopeful it will have a lasting impact as a reminder of who and what we’re really celebrating. We still do Santa in our home, but we try to emphasize Jesus’s birth over Santa’s arrival.
10. Spend Quality Time with Family
This year we were so blessed to spend time with most of our family who lives in VA. Some came down to visit us on Christmas Day and a few days after and others we went to see before Christmas Eve. Either way this time fills my heart with so much joy and gratitude for the wonderful gift of family.
So there you have it- a complete list of our favorite traditions. Whether you just had a baby and are looking for new traditions to start, or are looking for different ones to add in, I hope this will leave you inspired for your next holiday season.