--I have a few things that to me make the holiday season. It all starts at my mother-in-law’s birthday party in late October. My husband is one of seven children and between spouses and children there would be a ridiculous amount of presents to buy. Because of that we draw names for the adults (all kids not yet graduated high school get gifts from all so they are super spoiled), it is really fun to see everyone picking their gift recipient. That drawing really signifies that the holidays are starting and it is such an ingrained tradition to do at that party.
The next big tradition I have is Black Friday shopping. Now I have not set foot in a store on Black Friday for over ten years, but all hail the mighty internet as I can shop from the comfort of my couch. Around ten p.m. on Thanksgiving night I pull out my notepad, list who I need to buy for, get my credit card out, get a snack and a glass of wine, put on a good movie and get settled on my couch. Once I am arranged I pull out my tablet, open a few browser tabs, find my stores and shop. I will have 90% of my shopping done by three a.m. Then I just wait for the packages to roll in.
Then we wait for December 9th and pull out our tree and decorate like crazy people. My brother’s birthday is December 8th so I grew up never decorating till the 9th and still carry that tradition on. My husband does the outside with the wooden lawn decorations his father made in the 1970’s. We then go help my parents put up their tree. The youngest grandchild puts the angel on their tree and my sister and I constantly hide the ornaments the other made as a child in the back of the tree (mine are superior by the way). Then the week before Christmas my Mom has all the grandkids over for cookie making. Much dough is eaten, flour gets everywhere and a happier Oma cannot be found.
Christmas is a crazy busy day, but we love it. We open presents with our two kids at eight a.m., then hit the road by nine to get to my husband’s family by ten. More presents are opened, lots of food is eaten and we get to see the happy faces of those we drew names for. Then back on the road by two p.m. and to my parents by three. My mom does stockings for everyone, so the kids go through those. Then we eat dinner, open presents then dessert. We get home around ten p.m. and just collapse, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.