My favorite Christmas tradition

We’ve moved around a lot over the past few years. Like, a lot. So it’s been hard for our little family to create special holiday traditions year after year.  When I was growing up our family had so many traditions.  The menu for Christmas eve, the order we opened presents, where we went out to eat.  We did the same thing, year after year. 

But our family traditions have been a little different.  Since we’ve moved all over the country, and in many different homes, our family traditions are still forming.  “In the works” if you will.  Which I think is more common than not for many young families.

So this year we’re paying close attention to the traditions we DO have, and ones that we’d like to create.

First and foremost is our Christmas tree.  We always put our tree up Thanksgiving weekend.  In the past, we had always put up a real tree, but this year we did something a little different.  In our living room, we decided to try an artificial tree from Wayfair for the first time ever and I am so happy with it.  It looks so real and is perfectly low maintenance (which let’s be honest, is exactly what this mama needs this year).  I love how we could put our tree up early this year at Thanksgiving, and know it will still look great weeks later when we host Christmas this year with all of our families.  

In my mind, I always picture this perfectly decorated tree with designer ornaments and satin ribbon dripping from it, but truth be told, I’m a sucker for all the kid’s homemade ornaments and the ones we’ve been collecting for over a decade with our names hand-painted on them, or memorabilia from the places we’ve traveled.  So this year I did a little bit of a mix!  I added a few of these beautiful gold and silver bulbs from Wayfair which helped create that gorgeous look I was hoping for, and then let the kids go wild with all of their favorite homemade ornaments.  I think my favorite part about decorating our tree is hearing each of our kid’s giggle as they go through the boxes of old ornaments and pull out ones they made years before.  It’s like a trip down memory lane of the very best kind.  

We also decorated our mantle this year with a ton of candles and this gorgeous faux cedar wreath (which by the way is hanging only using a command hook, and then I added the satin ribbon just for decoration).  This is our first year having a real fireplace to decorate, so it was so fun picking out a few new things that we can keep for years to come. We decided this year to wait until Christmas eve to hang our stockings, but I love how our mantle looks festive now all December long (as is another thing I don’t have to worry about!).  

But by far and away, the tradition that’s most meaningful to me, and the one I’m most excited to share with all of you, is a gift I give to my family each year, that doesn’t cost a thing.    

Each year I write JonPaul, and each of the kids, a Christmas letter as my gift.

It was something I started a few years ago when we were living in New York and Frankie was just born.  I was so overwhelmed with being a new mama to four kids and just couldn’t wrap my head around Christmas shopping that year.  Buying presents at the mall or online, just didn’t have the same meaning for me that year.  So I gave myself a little bit of a “pass”.  So instead we limited the number of presents from “Santa” to only a few small things, and I spent the time I would have used “shopping” to write each of the kids and JonPaul a letter.

At the time I wasn’t sure what it even was that I wanted to say.  But I just started writing. 

It ended up being a little bit of a love letter to each of them. A moment to pause and reflect on all the “gifts” that I saw in each of them, and all of the ways I had seen them grow and achieve over the year. 

The first year I kept the letters a secret and tucked them deep into the tree for everyone to find Christmas morning.  I was so overwhelmed as each of them found their letters, crawled up onto my lap and then listened with eyes so wide as I read the words aloud to each of them.  It was such a magical and special moment.  And has now become my favorite part of Christmas morning.  

The kids now save all of their “Christmas letters”, and the older kids now help me read them to the younger ones, so it’s become a special moment for all of us.  

I know our young family still has many years of creating new traditions that will become special for us.  But as I reflect back, I’m so happy with a few of the ones we’ve started and created.  

This year we turned to Wayfair to help decorate our living room for the holidays, and I couldn’t be happier with the results.  Everything from the tree and the wreath, down to the pillows and candles help make our home feel festive and warm for the holidays.  The perfect place for our family to create new  You can shop the room below, or create your own gorgeous holiday look at Wayfair

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    • You are so sweet, Caitlin. Thank you. That means so much. Those letters were actually one of the original reasons I started this blog. So funny how one small thing we do, can snowball into things bigger than we ever imagined.