My glass is filled with eggnog, Christmas music is playing throughout my house and my Christmas tree is lit; how does it get any better than this?! The holidays are my favorite time of year for *so* many reasons–who doesn’t love giving and receiving gifts??–but my number one reason isn’t so materialistic.
When I was growing up, every year two of my cousins and I would get together with my grandma Jo and make all of the cookies for Christmas Eve. It was such a blast. I remember all of us sneaking around grandma, eating the dough whenever she wasn’t looking–although my cousin Ali always seemed to have the evidence all over her face. Then, Christmas Eve would finally arrive, and we’d get to indulge even more into all of our hard work, and better, the entire family got to taste them and appreciate every delicious bite.
On Christmas day, my mom’s sleep was always interrupted; she woke up to the sound of her three children–ready to open presents and hungry for their breakfast. Every year, she would make us an amazing meal, and we’d lounge around waiting for her side of the family to join us.
As I’ve gotten older, I cherish those memories, and it shows me why I want to continue my own traditions with my family. I may not remember the Christmas gifts I received when I was ten, but instead, I remember the fun memories and traditions that have shaped me into the person that I am.
A.J. and I have created our own traditions, and some are displayed all over our Christmas tree. We have bought ornaments–or items that we’ve transformed into ornaments–on all of our vacations. When I look at my Christmas tree, I’m reminded of the time he took me to Atlanta and showed me where he grew up, or I remember the time we went to Jacksonville and caught a Jaguars game… Our tree is filled with love and so many memories; it never ceases to put a smile on my face.
Being the foodies that we are, our Christmas meal and what encompasses it is one of my favorite traditions. We always have a Feliz Navidad, or a Mexican-inspired Christmas meal. A.J. comes up with the menu and I am his little sous chef. Although it’s just us out here in central Oregon, the tradition of a big Christmas meal is important to us. Not only is it a time for us to indulge, but it’s also a time for us to work together and connect over something as tasty as shredded beef enchiladas.
Although cleaning the kitchen after preparing a Christmas meal can feel like a chore, I remind myself how we got here, and am thankful for the love found in our current–and future–traditions.
*My earrings are totally awesome, hence why I wear them all the time (refer to IG). A local Bend artist made them for A.J. for me! Because they’re custom, they aren’t listed online, but she has a ton of awesome earrings that are similar. My sweater is from high school–can’t believe it’s been that long; it’s not only off the shoulder, but also features an open back. I couldn’t find anything remotely like it, so here’s an off the shoulder gray sweater that I think is adorable.