- Decorating: I've always loved helping decorate our house for Christmas, especially the tree. We always do it the day after Thanksgiving; that used to be because we just couldn't wait another day to decorate. :) Nowadays, we choose that day more because that's when I'm home to help! :)
- Christmas music: Who doesn't love Christmas music? I may be one of the "scrooges" who waits until after Thanksgiving to start playing Christmas music, but after Thanksgiving, I'm basically listening to or singing Christmas music all the time! My favorite kinds of songs have changed over the years (I used to favor the children's songs like "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town"; now I prefer songs that focus on Christ), but my love for Christmas music hasn't. :)
- Acting out the Christmas story: Every Christmas Eve when I was growing up, we used to get dressed up and act out the different characters of the Christmas story while my dad read the story from the Bible; we don't usually do that anymore, but it created a lot of fond memories.
- "The Littlest Shepherd": The last thing we always do on Christmas Eve is read "The Littlest Shepherd," our favorite fictional Christmas story, together as a family. Either my mom or my dad (they alternate years) will read it out loud to the rest of us. It always makes me cry. This is one tradition that has persisted throughout the years. My mother's family used to read it when she was growing up, and my family has done so every year for as long as I can remember. The only thing that has changed is that my appreciation for the story has deepened over the years.
- Food: We always have homemade pizza for dinner on Christmas Eve, homemade cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate for Christmas Day breakfast, and ham cooked with carrots and potatoes for Christmas dinner. Yum!
- Christmas morning: We weren't allowed to wake up our parents until 7:00 a.m., which drove us crazy when we were little! Now I like my sleep as much as my parents. :) Once we get up, we have to wait to go downstairs until everyone's ready, and we can't go into the family room to investigate the presents until after we've all eaten breakfast. Then we take turn opening presents, which draws the present-opening out for several hours. :)
I love my family's Christmas traditions! What are your favorite Christmas traditions?