Home for the Holidays

by jessicaturner on November 22, 2013

This will be the first year to not travel to either side of the family’s on Christmas or Thanksgiving. We have traveled every year for the past nine years and decided it was best for our family to stay in Nashville this year.

I am looking forward to the beauty and simplicity of being together in our new home.

I’m looking forward to making memories with our kids.

But of course, I will miss our family too. It will definitely be different.

I’m curious. Do you stay home for the holidays? If so, what traditions are a must? How do you make things memorable, meaningful and magical?

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy L November 22, 2013 at 5:56 am

Ever since we had our daughter (who is now 6), we have stayed home. We LOVE it. If people want to come stay with us, that is perfectly fine, but we like the idea of making Christmas memories in our own home. I have also found that it eliminates a lot of stress, too…nothing like a simpler Christmas after the chaotic few weeks leading up to it. So happy for you that you are getting to enjoy this Christmas at home!


Bekah November 22, 2013 at 7:20 am

I am a rather significant “caboose” in our family (which is not a very big family to begin with) – so by the time I got old enough to really appreciate things like holiday traditions, all the siblings and cousins had moved on/moved away/gotten married…and not long after that, my grandparents died, so family traditions became defunct for us. I got married last December and am SO enjoying establishing traditions with my husband. Excited to do some of them for the second time this year, making them true TRADITIONS. One of my favorites is to sleep under the Christmas tree (with the lights on and the fireplace going) on Christmas Eve to wake up to that beauty on Christmas morning!


Kate November 22, 2013 at 7:51 am

My kids are in their early 20’s now and I so regret all those Christmas mornings when we were told we had to be at my mother-in-laws house by 8am on Christmas Day. I wish we would have told her we are starting our own Christmas traditions and will be spending the day(s) at home. Hate to be bitter but I am about that.


MamaBear November 22, 2013 at 7:59 am

I’m excited to follow the comments in the post – great idea and super cute pic to go with it :) I’m working out a loose schedule of activities for December and am always looking for new ideas.

(Our elf on the shelf gives a hint as to what the activity is going to be for that day – it’s not as complicated as it sounds – if just got a bunch of fresh snow the kids will wake up to find Red and another stuffed animal had gotten into a snowball fight (marshmallows) and built a snow fort (building blocks). Then after school we’ll all go out and play in the snow. It’s THAT simple :)

We are blessed with family close by so we do ‘travel’ to see them on Christmas Eve. My inlaws are 15 minutes away, but we still sleep over (under the tree like Bekah mentioned!) There is something magical about waking up at Grandma and Grandpa’s house on Christmas morning like we did as kids so we want to recreate that for our kids. That said, there are plenty of ways you can make it magical for your family! I made it a priority all month long to focus on TIME with our kids and making memories – here’s a link to 24 activities we did: http://campgroundcubs.blogspot.com/2012/12/24-advent-activities.html

I highly recommend breakfast bakes for Christmas morning – indulgent without much time in the kitchen.

Something new I’m going to do this year is base our activities off of this Vibrant Faith Advent Devotional – it’s meaningful and intentional. Perfect for families and FREE! http://www.pinterest.com/pin/265993921715234607/


Jessica Anderson November 22, 2013 at 8:12 am

We travel to see family in Chicago for thanksgiving every year, and stay home in Michigan for Cristmas. I love seeing my kids walk down the stairs every Christmas morning. They get new pjs and slippers on Chrismas eve. We read the Chrismas scriptures from the bible to our kids before presents. I also try to have a breakfast casserole in the fridge ready to go in the oven, or put it in the crockpot the night before so we can eat right after presents. There is nothing better than being home on Chrismas morning, you will love it!


Kayla Becker November 22, 2013 at 8:32 am

I love traditions. One that we are doing through the whole month of December is the Jesse Tree (See Ann Voscamp and Confessions of a Homeschooler-she has a GREAT version for little kids). As for Christmas Eve… we make a birthday cake or cupcakes and sing Happy Birthday Jesus. I let my daughter help with all the baking, decorating, etc. (she is 3 1/2). For a Christmas Eve meal we do all kinds of appetizers/finger foods. This way we can munch all through mid afternoon and evening. Then, we let the kids each open 1 or 2 gits (usually a game or Christmas movie). And then we pop popcorn and watch it while snuggled under blankets… sipping hot cocoa. We read a children’s version of the 1st Christmas and talk about how it’s Jesus Birthday. I think this year we will also put some cookies out for Santa. In the morning we will wake up to find the cookies gone… and our stockings under the tree. We open stockings, I make french toast or tree shaped pancakes or some other fun breakfast my daughter can help with. We do go to Grandma’s for Christmas but only on Christmas Day OR Christmas Eve because our family is close. However, we still like having our own traditions as well.
Have fun! It’s such a wonderful time of togetherness :)


Ashley McFarland November 22, 2013 at 9:00 am

I love this idea – but we try to spend Christmas Eve with my in-laws and Christmas day with my family and it seems to work (sometimes we have to move it to the weekend before based on my husband’s 24/48 schedule) but for the most part – we try to see everyone around Christmastime…we always have plenty of time around the holidays to spend at our place – it’s fun now that we have a child to see him enjoy his cousins and the holidays :) Everyone only lives ~1 hour away though so we can come home at night so it’s not like we have to board a plane…if we did, we’d probably do exactly what you are doing!!


Jessica November 22, 2013 at 9:00 am

That is one (of very few) upsides to being a pastor’s family: we HAVE to be in our own town on Christmas Eve because of church. One set of parents is in town anyway, and the other either comes here or waits until late in the day on the 25th or the 26th.

I’m insistent about not doing Christmas stuff until after Thanksgiving, but I can’t wait to get the fun started! (We’re still enjoying lots of fall fun for now!)


Lisa November 22, 2013 at 11:20 am

I never travel during the holidays. I am a nester and stay home. My parents moved to my same town to be closer, then my brother quickly followed. It’s really nice, however, my in-laws live across the country.


Tina C November 22, 2013 at 12:44 pm

We stay home and we invite my brother over and his wife depending on if she has to work or not. That has bee a tradition since my husband and I got married the my family come over for the holiday, use to be Mom and my brother, but when she passed away, we were blessed the Steve wanted to still spend it with us and his wife.


Stephanie Click November 22, 2013 at 12:46 pm

We have always stayed home on Christmas. Hit or miss on Thanksgiving, but I don’t budge a bit on being home for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. My kids are now 9 and 10. I have always wanted their Christmas memories to be of their home and not having to run off anywhere else. Other family members are welcome to join us if they would like. We take our time seeing what Santa has brought, eating a good breakfast, and just being lazy. I cook a huge dinner and we often eat it still in our pajamas!!!


Cara November 22, 2013 at 1:04 pm

We are always at our house for Thanksgiving and my in-laws always fly in from Wi to be with us.
Christmas has varied greatly since my daughter was born. The first year we really wanted to be home alone on Christmas morning (we live in CA a long plane flight from any family), so we flew to WI the day after Christmas.
Another year we actually were in WI for Christmas and after weather canceled our earlier plans to visit my grandparents in Iowa, we drove to see them on Christmas Eve, opened gifts there and drove back to Wi for my husband’s family gathering that night. It was actually really special to have my daughter experience Christmas morning at my grandparents’ house as I did for so many years as a child.
One year my parents came to us for Christmas and last year I was in the middle of 11 weeks on bed rest and since grandparents knew a visit to meet a new baby was imminent they didn’t visit for Christmas.
This year we will be home alone again as the grandparents are each planning visits to coincide with baby boy’s first birthday in January instead — we did decide to save the presents from my parents to have a late Christmas celebration with them when they come the 2nd week of January:)
We used to celebrate Hanukkah and this year my daughter has been asking if we can again and some friends invited us over for a Hanukkah gathering the day after Thanksgiving — they overlap this year! I’m excited for my kids to experience a true Hanukkah celebration:)


Nelli Kalinyuk November 22, 2013 at 3:32 pm

This is will be our first thanksgiving and Christmas just the four of us. Not with our extended family, I am looking forward to being still, sleeping in. Wearing comfy clothes and simply loving the true meaning of Christmas. For thanksgiving we are praying for Jesus to send us a family or single parent that doesn’t have family to join our gathering. If you live in Houston, feel free to get in contact with me.


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