Our favorite Thanksgiving tradition:
We have celebrated Thanksgiving differently every year since we got married. The first year we had two dinners (one with FatherInLaw and StepmotherInLaw; the second with MotherInLaw and both SistersInLaw). The next year, our first year in medical school, my parents drove the 10 hours south to spend the day with us, and I cooked the whole shebang dinner. The next couple of years, we were invited to eat with an older couple at church, so we brought a dish and broke bread with an interesting group of couples and singles. We were the youngest by several years, so it was really fun to hear the stories of holidays past from our elders. Last year, I was VERY pregnant, and not up to cooking a whole holiday meal – so I split the cooking with my also-pregnant friend and we had a very casual, laid-back, lots-of-baby-chatter-for-the-girls and lots-of-Xbox-playing-for-the-guys holiday.
The one constant has been our Thanksgiving evening. Every year, we have pulled out our artificial Christmas tree, and put up the tree and lights. I turn on Christmas music and make hot chocolate, and I usually start putting out most of my other holiday decorations. When we’re done, we sit on the couch in the dark, looking at the glowing tree and enjoying a peaceful night.
Our favorite Christmas tradition:
One of my most favorite things that we do at Christmas was actually NewDotDad’s idea, and we started it our first married Christmas. He bought a red fuzzy Santa hat, and he puts it on and passes out our presents on Christmas morning. I thought it was a little silly, since it’s been the two of us, but he gets so excited about seeing my reaction to the gifts he’s chosen. And it does help us slow down and enjoy the morning, one present at a time, instead of blazing through wrappings and boxes with abandon and missing those priceless looks on each other’s faces. Now that NewDotBaby is here, I’m sure he’ll don his hat and dole out the gifts, but our own gift swapping might have to wait until the Christmas morning nap – I don’t think NDB will have much patience to wait and see us slowly open boring adult gifts, after all!
“For those women who do not have children (for whatever reason), what kinds of things do you do to create a warm and inviting home? And do you have traditions in your home for just your self and spouse – i.e going to look at Christmas lights instead of visiting santa at the mall during the holiday season, baking cookies for neighbors instead of your children, etc.”
Since this is our first year WITH children, I definitely have more experience with holidays as a couple.
I would always bake 5 or 6 types of Christmas cookies. It was way more than the two of us needed to eat, so I would send a big platter to medical school with NewDotDad, take a big platter to the teacher’s lounge at my school, and make small plates of cookies for our neighbors. We lived in a big apartment complex in a very fast-paced town, so delivering the cookies was often our only contact with them. Our church put on a live nativity play every year, so I would also tuck the small postcard flyers about the play in with the cookies. This year, I’m going to do a big platter of cookies for NDD to take to the hospital (hey, he can butter up the nurses and attendings!) and I’ll make small plates for our neighbors in this building (3) and for the other moms in my playgroup (3).
The other thing we did every year was to go Christmas caroling with a group from our church. We usually visited two or three nursing homes, and then we would also visit the homes of some of the shut-ins or recuperating members of the church. After caroling, we would come back to the church for a potluck dinner. We won’t be able to do that this year because of NDB’s bedtime, and it will probably be several years until we’re able to go caroling as a whole NewDotFamily. I really cherish the memories we built from the last several years, and I’m glad we took advantage of that time.