For me, the Christmas season starts out with a tradition - Black Friday and then Small Business Saturday shopping with my mom! We always shop together. I love to knock out the majority of my Christmas shopping on this day, as well as pick up some goodies for myself, and it is a great opportunity for my mom to do her Christmas shopping for me. We also use this as a time to bounce gift ideas for others off each other, which is so helpful.
Between the time of Thanksgiving and Christmas...and honestly even a bit before Thanksgiving, Christmas movies are a constant. I love all the Hallmark movies that come out and I always have to get in my favorites, which I shared here. This year, I watched The Gathering with my parents, and this will be added to my "must watch" list at Christmas. It's an oldie, but one of my grandpa's favorite movies, which makes it more special. I will be honest, though, I will watch and enjoy almost any Christmas movie. In addition to movies, I love reading some holiday books. I shared the books I have made it through so far this year here, and only have added one more to the list, The Nine Lives of Christmas by Sheila Roberts. I believe there is a Hallmark movie based off this book, or super similar, so if you have seen that, I wouldn't really recommend the book. However, it is a cute little story, and I would have probably enjoyed it much more if I hadn't already seen that movie.
Every year I love driving around looking at Christmas lights. I just can't get enough of all the pretty lights and seeing how others decorate. I already made it out once this year, and am hoping to go again before Christmas!
In the past 3-4 years, we have done Christmas puzzles. My mom originally started this so that we would have something extra to do when home for the holidays, and it has quickly turned into a favorite. We keep it out on the table until it's done and it's the perfect "extra" when you need a break from watching movies or visiting, or even as a little pit stop when getting a snack or refilling a drink.
On Christmas Eve, my brother and I (when together) exchange presents. We have done this since we were young, but the best was a few years ago when Matt and Jen gave us all special presents on Christmas Eve to announce their pregnancy!
Another Christmas Eve tradition of ours is to eat Italian food. I think this one started a few years back, too. I love Italian food and we switch it up year to year - although yummy cheesy garlic bread is always on the menu.
Christmas morning always means monkey bread. I LOVE monkey bread. This is something we have been doing for as long as I can remember, and it is always so special. It's pretty much the only time we have monkey bread, so it's always a treat. You can find my mom's recipe here. Over the years we have added to the spread, but the one thing that always remains is the monkey bread. Food and holidays go hand in hand for me - you can read more about my family's traditional foods / recipes here!
Before the monkey bread, though, we open presents. Stocking stuffers are a tradition in my family, and those are always fun to see what my parents came up with. Usually I know my "bigger" gifts, but the stocking stuffers are usually all a surprise! We always do presents first thing, and go by age, so I used to get to open first. :) Same at my grandma's! We all take turns by age until the last present is opened, so it's round and round til then. I know everyone does it differently, but I like doing it person by person, that way it really lasts and seems more special.
The Christmas season is always my favorite and I feel like traditions at this time of year are a must! I can't wait to read yours and see what new ones to incorporate into mine!