Christmas Traditions

I know that not everyone celebrates Christmas, but it’s a pretty big deal around our house.

I’m currently surrounded by boxes of packed and unpacked baubles, and now that the trees are all up (with one left to decorate) I see the end in sight and can soon just enjoy all the festive prettiness and, ahem, perhaps accomplish some actual spiritual prep…

… which brings me to this list of some of our Christmas traditions (and thank you Leslie for inspiring this post).


“How many trees are you putting up this year?”   

That’s the question my cousin asked me at lunch last month.  I know it sounds crazy, but we’re at, well, seven decorated trees this year.  Yeah, I know… it’s “extra”.

I originally wrote about our multi-tree tradition and how it started here.  I also shared about what was our favorite tree in this post.  That’s the last tree I have to decorate this year.  It takes a while because of the “new tradition” we started last year

What can I say?  You already know we are crazy for lights.


A Nativity Scene in Every Room

Trees and lights are lovely but all the work and hoo ha is a distraction from the simplest of reasons we celebrate: the Savior’s birth.

We make sure each tree room also has a Nativity scene, either one of the hand-made sets each of our children made in grammar school, or one purchased by or gifted to us.

They sometimes get a little swallowed up by the Santa stuff, but like the family they represent, they are always quietly there to call us to the genuine reason for the season.


Twelve Days of Christmas…(Sort of)

There are plenty of reasons why we started doing this when the kids were little, but…we don’t open all of our presents Christmas morning…we make the gifts last throughout vacation.

They open five or so gifts on Christmas Day….then a few the next day, and one or two for several days afterward until they’re gone… Stockings are “opened” last: sometimes on New Year’s Day, sometimes on the last night of vacation before school/college resumes. Everyone takes turns, and everyone watches each other open their gifts.

As little kids, they did NOT (not, not, not) love this tradition.  But each year we battled the extended family gift bonanza and just felt it was too overwhelming.

To make it last without overbuying, among the packages they open are the dreaded socks and underwear and less exciting necessities (warm gloves, hat, scarves, pajamas)…as well as their wish-list surprises and wardrobe extras.

They may not have loved it when they were little, but it’s everyone’s favorite thing now…and their learning TO love this tradition is filled with lessons on giving, receiving, and appreciating.

In order for all of this to play out somewhat equally requires a little precarious juggling, organization, and the occasional even-it-up-Post-Christmas shopping trip.  But it’s all fun and worth the effort.


Christmas Crafts

Mr. D&D and I have come to love augmenting our purchased decorations with something handmade when we can.

He builds an outdoor manger scene for our backyard Nativity using pallets from the annual rock/stone project, then decorates it with nature finds.

I raid the tree cutting station at Lowe’s for free greenery.  Last year I used them to make swags for our windows and Mr. used them for the roof of his Nativity.  If you’d like to know more, you can read about it here.


This year we worked together to make something REALLY (!!!) special for our back hallway.  Read about it here.


Christmas Reclaimed

Because we used to celebrate Christmas Eve with one side of the family, and Christmas Day with the other, attending Christmas Mass became something to wedge in where we could.  We tried all types of Mass times and were usually frustrated by overcrowded services, exhausted kiddos, having to get there an hour early, or getting there late and standing in the back.

Finally we learned that 8:00 am Mass on Christmas morning was the best time to remember why we celebrate and it put the rest of the day in perspective among all the hoo ha.  We get up, get dressed, celebrate the Savior’s birth properly, come back home and get into comfies, and THEN start the gifting.

It’s definitely a crazy busy season! There have been many changes as we’ve tried to navigate our Christmases over the years. Sometimes all you can do is hope the boat stays on course.

It’s definitely a challenge to keep all the hoo ha from overtaking who is the purpose.


Other Activities

Some type of service to others. Lord of the Rings and Band of Brothers binge watching.  Festival of Food.


Is there something special YOU’D like to share about your Holiday/Holyday?  I’d love to read about it in the comments below.

For other blogger’s traditions, or to add five of your own, please follow this link:






  • What a fun tour! Your house is gorgeous!

  • Jo

    Wow, you guys really do love Christmas! I’m feeling positively undecorated after hearing about your 7 trees lol. Love your pics too.

  • Oh my goodness 7 Christmas Trees! Your decorations would certainly get anyone in the mood for Christmas. I love this time of year and it is such a joyous time. Thanks for sharing your traditions I really enjoyed this link up.
    Sue form Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

  • Seven trees sounds like a Christmas wonderland! I think my kids would rather come to your place!

    • EmDirr

      Lol.. I admit it is pretty and my family loves it. Your kids are welcome, lol, just don’t send them around the 19th…I should have added my holiday meltdown to the tradition list…. I start to get a little panicKy around then. Also, please tell them I rarely bake 🙂 haha Merry Christmas to you, Jamie!

  • mommyhon333

    Welcome back, welcome home!!! So glad to have you join us for this Christmas bucket list post!! I have missed hearing from you. Although we don’t know each other well, I feel a connection to your warm family and you and have missed your voice.

    So much to comment on here. Seven trees and seven nativities. Love that. Your homemade projects, Mr. D&D’s sweet manger, the promise of a post about your back hallway project. Can’t wait to see what it is.

    Love the idea of spreading out the gifts over several days. Wish I could have my babies home long enough to do that here. Opening everything at once – even if some of the packages are pedestrian (socks, underwear) – can be so overwhelming, followed by a lot of let down.

    If I am recall correctly, which is a big IF these days, I am thinking you spent the summer struggling with a foot injury. Hoping that has been completely resolved and you are back to 110%.

    Thank you for joining for this little post link up. I have missed you!

    • EmDirr

      Thank you, Leslie!!! I have missed sharing our adventures… The knee recovery has been a BIG surprise from the first six weeks when I thought it would be a breeze. Kind of you to remember.

      I’ve missed blogging a lot; I find it very enjoyable and has helped me “meet” the nicest people. BUT…it takes me away from the need-to-do’s….and I do seem to lack some discipline, lol.

      Hope to be back on a more regular basis in the future.

      Grateful for your lovely comment!

  • Jodie

    I’m so impressed with all of your activities Em!! 7 trees? That’s amazing!! No wonder you don’t have a blog a day…ha ha!!!
    And spreading out the opening of gifts—so interesting.
    Do you know one of the things I dislike about getting gifts (and this probably tells you how crazy I am) is that I then have to find places to put them, and sometimes reorganize!!
    We used to make pizelles for all of the neighbors but we might take a break from that this year! Although when it gets closer, my hubby usually ends up wanting them!!!
    Have a great weekend!!

    • EmDirr

      How lovely to make pizelles for the neighbors! We don’t do much cookie baking for the holidays even for ourselves. (We’d be like Rob, nom nom nom).

      Hoping to get back on the blogwagon soon. I miss it!

      The tree thing has gotten out of hand, lol. But of all our decorations, it’s the thing I look forward to most (and why ours are NOT real, lol). Best to you!

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