With his first cranberry-white-chocolate cookie that I made for the holidays this year, My Guy said to me, “I love our traditions.”
And I had to agree. I am especially in love with the fact that we’ve done this enough as a family to actually have traditions, despite having both our extended family so far away from us, despite not being raised with Christmas myself.
Our traditions are cobbled together from what he grew up with, what I had always longed for, and what we hope to create just for our girls. Like picking and decorating a tree together.
Like enduring the cold for some beautiful Lincoln Park Zoo lights.
Like baking the same cookies together every year (cranberry-white-chocolate, Mexican wedding cakes, and cut-out sugar cookies), and (bravely) hosting a kids’ holiday and cookie-decorating party, although this time, we threw in some ornaments and a tree for them to decorate as well.
While many of our holiday events have been with us since Little Miss’ first year, we continue to add new ones to our repertoire. Sometimes from sheer practicality, like going to the Holiday Flower and Train show at the Lincoln Park Conservatory instead of the Christmas Around the World exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry, which we’ve visited every year, because one’s free and the other is far from that.
Sometimes new traditions are formed quite by accident, such as the one we created last night, when we spontaneously decided to drive to a neighborhood famous for its Christmas lights after we were already in our pajamas. “You can go in your PJ’s,” My Guy offered, and the girls were thrilled. I wanted to protest, but I stopped myself. Why the heck not? We’re only going to be in the car.
But you know what happens with kids and best laid plans…
Near the end of our tour of the neighborhood, my newly potty-trained Pickle quietly said, “I need to go pee pee,” and suddenly, it’s STOP THE PRESS! STEP ON THE GAS! FIND A RESTROOM!
Because we were many miles from home, we had to improvise. We found a Barnes and Noble bookstore and hurried in. I cringed as we walked in with my hair still wet from my post-run shower, and we were all in our pajamas! So much for not leaving our car.
The plan was to get in and out as quickly as possible, because, hello? Family in pajamas.
Except we’re in a bookstore, for cryin’ out loud. We can’t just go in and out of a bookstore. It’s impossible! This also became our most expensive potty break, because did I mention this was a bookstore? We can’t just come out of it without buying something. For each of us.
Despite the glitch, or maybe because of it since we all had so much fun, we decided that we wanted to have a night like this every Christmas holiday, and thus, Pajama Lights Night was born.
But that wasn’t the only new tradition this year.
The girls’ grandparents surprised them with their own Elf on the Shelf in the mail, who they named Blizzard. It’s another exciting reason for them to run up the stairs every morning – where’s Blizzard? There! Look! I found him! This is after they find their Advent Calendar surprise, which could be anything from candy to a treasure hunt for a little present from a small handmade note in the pocket from me. My Guy rolled his eyes when he saw me making the notes with a hand punch and ribbon—Really? he asked. Really, I defended, They’d love it!
And they do.
Isn’t this what the holidays are about? Love and joy and magic? More why not’s than why’s? Although, I suppose, if you ask my girls, they’ll add, and candy and lots of presents!
Luckily for them, I’m pretty sure there’ll be those too.
And may you have all that and more as well.
Merry Christmas from our pajama-clad clan to you and yours.
* * *