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  • Writer's pictureKristaleagh Walthall

My Favorite Christmas Traditions

The absolute best part, my personal fave thing I look forward to, about the holidays, hands down, is the traditions.

There's just something amazing about getting to pick what aspects of the holidays that you as an individual or as a family are so special and exciting and meaningful to you that you want to include them in your holiday celebrations every single year.

Way back when, before my family stopped celebrating Christmas, every year on Christmas Eve, we'd all get dressed up for Christmas Eve service and go to the Pizza Hut that was across the street from the gated community we lived in. After service, we'd all go home, everyone would get to open one present, it was usually pajamas or the package my grandparents would send us, and listen to my dad read The Night Before Christmas along with a few other Christmas stories before all rushing off the bed. My mom always made crepes in the morning for breakfast, and we always did stockings, youngest to oldest, and ran the train before we ate, followed by cleaning up and opening presents afterwards.

We stopped celebrating Christmas when I was around 13. Sometimes, we still did some of our traditions after that, like go to service and get Pizza Hut and make crepes in the morning, but that usually was only if my brother and I insisted.

When I got to college, the internship I was in had their own traditions. They had everyone in the program make an ornament, we'd do Secret Santa -which I thoroughly enjoyed ruining for myself every year by figuring out who had who- and do some sort of Christmas project like the shoe boxes or Salvation army tree angels.

I was so excited when I graduated and moved out because I finally got to make my own traditions and decide for myself what I wanted the holidays to look like. While I now love this time of year, it comes with a lot of not so great memories and triggers so I have a lot of feelings I have to sort through every year. By getting to create my own traditions, it helps me feel like I have some sort of control over what memories I get to create as a adult and helps me look forward to them instead dreading them like I used to.

The first year I was fully on my own, I spent Christmas alone moving into a new apartment so that year wasn't a super awesome Christmas, but the next year was like three months after Ryan and I started dating.

That year is still one of my favorite Christmases because I had someone special to spend the holidays with and we got to celebrate the way we wanted to. Now that we're coming up on our third Christmas together, I wanted to share some of our traditions that we do that I really really love!

Getting a Live Tree

We didn't get to do this last year, but that was partially because we forgot due to wedding craziness and partially because we were gone for almost the entirety of the Christmas season.

The first year we were together though, we went over to the Fashion Square mall and got a live Christmas tree, my first ever, from the tree vendor in the parking lot. Then we went to Walmart, bought a bunch of decorations, picked up some Chinese food, and went home and put it all together. It, to this day, is still one of my favorite dates my husband has ever taken me on.

We actually just got our tree last night when my sister Apryl and her boyfriend came down to visit, and it was super fun to celebrate the beginning of the season with my sister. We had a great time decorating and laughing, and I’m really happy they came down and that we got to include them in one of our traditions.

Watching a Cheesy Christmas Movie

I love Christmas movies, and while I'm a fan of the classics, I LIVE for the super cheesy Netflix Christmas movies they put out every year. Each year that we've decorated our house for Christmas, we always put one on. We make some snacks, drink some hot chocolate, put on our pajamas, and snuggle up on the couch together. We've already watched one of Netflix's new movies Jingle Jangle, it was okay, but I've got a couple other holiday movies I want to watch this year.

Getting a Special Ornament for The Year

This is actually something I got from my family. When I was little, we'd go to the mall and get a personalized ornament with all of our names on it. Ryan and I started doing this for ourselves last year. We bought a cute Mickey and Minnie ornament while we were at Disney World, and then got a First Year Married ornament, its a mantle with a couple of mittens hanging on it, from the mall with our names on it plus the date we got married. It's such a fun and creative way to memorialize each year with your family. We have to put the cats on this year’s as well.

Visit the Home Bar for Christmas Eve Dinner

This will probably only be a tradition until we move out of Charlottesville. The bar I work at is open on all holidays, including Christmas and Thanksgiving. I usually work Thanksgiving so on Christmas, my husband and I will stop by and have dinner and a few drinks and hang out with my coworkers, who are all basically family at this point. It's one of my favorite things to do on Christmas because it's all the best parts of the holidays: good food, good drinks, and the people you love.

Seeing a Movie in Theaters

I'm so disappointed because I don't know if movie theaters will even be open this year on Christmas so Ryan and I are going to have to adapt if they're not. I think the Alamo might be doing a special Christmas movie package thing, but I'm not 1000% sure. We went to go see Aquaman the first year we were together and then last year, we went to go see Jumanji: The Next Level. I love going to the movies and going on Christmas is always extra fun, and I can't wait to take my future kids to one.

There you have it! Those are all of mine and my husband's current Christmas traditions. I'm sure we'll eventually have more, but right now, with just the two of us, we like to keep things simple. Who knows? Maybe I'll convince him we need to adopt another cat as a tradition lol.

Toast to all of the sad holiday memories and toast to creating new traditions and new memories for ourselves and our families. Cheers,


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