Jacqueline’s Christmas Traditions
When spending Thanksgiving with my family, the day after Thanksgiving is the start of the decorating season. However for my parents, who own a florist, their Christmas decorating starts in the beginning of November when they are hired to decorate houses throughout my hometown. To begin the celebrations with my side of the family, we first head to the tree farm to find the most perfect Christmas tree. Perfect for us means tall and FAT! We then venture into the attic to retrieve all the boxes filled with Christmas decorations. The Christmas tree is decorated with a combination of ornaments that my sister and I made throughout elementary school as well a collection of beautiful ornaments we received from friends and family over the years. There is always a theme of stunning ribbon with a dazzling bow adorned the top of the tree. And of course you can’t forget the Christmas pickle ornament, which is hidden by my parents, and my sister, husband, and I search for it on Christmas day! Whoever finds it gets the Christmas pickle present!
Outside my parents line the doors with magnolia garland which is accompanied by beautifully lit grape vine balls huge in the trees, candles in the windows, and fresh made wreaths embellish the front of the house. This is all topped off with our wooden snow man announcing our name. Each neighbor in our neighborhood places one with their name in their yard as well.
Back in Charleston, my husband and I have begun a few of our own Christmas traditions ourselves in the past few years. We also always go out to the Christmas tree farm to find a fat, but slightly shorter tree as our ceilings aren’t quite as tall as my parents. We also have a collection of décor building that we use to decorate throughout the house. My favorite is our Dickensville Village that I began collecting when I was just 9 years old! Between the village, our Christmas tree, and our candles in the window the Christmas glow is always warm and illuminating in our house.
When decorating our house and tree it is our tradition to always have something delicious baking in the oven and pop in the Home Alone DVD. Because let’s face it we are 80’s kids and since that movie was made it just isn’t Christmas until Home Alone is on!
For my husband and I Christmas vacation is the also known as The Tour of South Carolina. We both have family all through the state so make the hike to try to see everyone we can. This year our first stop is in Greenville, SC to see David’s family. Our traditions there start with Christmas Eve mass, followed by dinner and lots of fellowship with family. Christmas morning, no matter where we are, always starts with Christmas day parade! If we spend Christmas morning at my parents house my sister, husband, and I are required to wait in the hallway as my parents get their camera prepared. My sister and I still wear matching pajamas and fix our hair for pictures just as my mom use to when we were little. Last year we even decided to pull a joke on her and pull out the big red bows to put in our hair for Christmas morning because when we were little we always always had one on Christmas morning. So in case you’re wondering…Yep that’s right, in my house Santa still sets out all our presents!
Our next stop will be in Florence, SC to see my family. We will do a Christmas dinner that evening with my Grammy & Granddaddy and my dad’s entire family, and our course tons of presents. At Grammy & Granddaddy’s house all four grand children always sit in the same order on the couch when waiting for Grammy to pass out our gifts!
Our final stop will be in Georgetown, SC to my grandfather’s ( aka Daddy Bo) beautiful home that sits right on the inter-coastal waterway. We will have yet another dinner and more presents there. We will take our sleigh (aka my car) full of present and bellies full of food back to Charleston that evening where Meredith and I will be preparing for our FABULOUS New Year’s Eve wedding! (More details soon!)
So Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to y’all and I hope you enjoy all of your holiday traditions too!
Meredith’s Christmas Traditions
Christmas is hands down my favorite time of the year (other than my birthday month, of course)! I jump for joy the first time my friends at Starbucks hand me over that red cup! It means the season is upon us and it’s close to the time that I get to travel home and spend time with my loved ones. This year we decided we would let you in on how we celebrate. Here is a little taste of my Christmas..
At home in Charlotte, my house is filled with festive decor just days after Thanksgiving. Our first step is usually picking out the perfect tree. My Daddy has become quite the tree connoisseur over the years. There is no tree that is too large. One year, we even had to take off the front door to load in the 14 foot tree he had purchased in the mountains of North Carolina. What was even more crazy about it is that there was not one but TWO of these enormous trees. One of them was displayed beautifully in the front window of our foyer and decorated with whites and golds. We called this tree our angel tree. The other, which is the tree that stays consistent through out the years, is our red and gold tree. It is always tucked neatly in the corner of our den for everyone to enjoy while they are watching their favorite movies or snuggling up by the fireplace. This picture below is not my house, but it sure does remind me of the gold bows my Mama uses on her tree. Maybe this is the reason that I love to accessorize with gold so much?
Y’all, you know that I wouldn’t spend any season without Elvis. Well Christmas is no exception. While I decorate with my Starbucks peppermint mocha in one hand, you better believe that sounds of “Blue Christmas” can be heard through out my house. People think I am crazy (and maybe I am), but I usually always watch the tree lighting ceremony at Graceland on Elvis.com too. I can’t help it!
The red and gold theme stretches through out our house from the tree to accessories to the centerpiece on the dining room table. With that being said, if you’re coming to my house for Christmas, your gift wrap better match or else it’s going in the back! This obviously affects my gift wrap purchases. Every year, right around Thanksgiving, I start my search for that year’s wrapping paper and ribbon. This year I chose a red and white damask print with a shear gold ribbon. I also have two alternates, a gold with silver and cream Christmas trees and a cream with gold classic paper. I’m serious about the presentation of my gifts, y’all! No stick on bows for this girl…I do all my bows by hand!
As far as our traditions, you can always find my family at the Christmas Eve candlelight service at our church Forest Hill and then following up the service with a Christmas Eve dinner at home. After dinner, I will exchange gifts with my sister Mallory and my brother Brad. These are the only gifts we allow ourselves to open on Christmas Eve.
On Christmas morning, we wake up and all gather around our tree to exchange gifts and spend some time together as a family. My mother then traditionally fixes a large Christmas breakfast that we will eat together in our dining room. In the afternoon, we always make our way to the movie theater. This year, we are already arguing over which movie will be our Christmas day matinee! After our movie, we all make our way down to my grandmother’s house for Christmas dinner. I am so looking forward to keeping all of these traditions during this year’s Christmas season.
Aly’s Christmas Traditions!
I absolutely love the Christmas season! If I had it my way, it would be Christmas all year ’round! We start the season early in my family by going to pick out our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. It’s a huge famliy affair that begins with a delicious cup of hot chocolate in our hands as we pick out the tree! We trim it with ornaments that once belonged to my great grandparents as we listen to classic Christmas songs sung by Bing Crosby and Natalie Cole (There may be a few Christina Aguilera and Mariah Carey songs thrown in there too! I have to confess, those are my personal favorite Christmas albums!). After we top our tree with our golden Santa Claus ornament, we watch It’s a Wonderful Life and order Chinese food or Pizza and enjoy our time together as a family.
As Christmas gets closer, my Mom begins to decorate the house with pretty reds and golds. The centerpiece on our dining room table is always a pretty crystal vase filled with deep red and gold ornaments, much like this picture.
Like Jacqueline’s family, we also hide a pickle ornament in our tree and the winner gets a special prize. We also always do a Chinese gift exchange. Each person gets a gift that costs between $15 and $20. It can be a serious gift or something absolutely hilarious (and in my family, it’s usually something ridiculous!). Each person picks a gift and opens it one by one. The first person who opens their gift is stuck with it, so it’s better to open your gift later because you can then swap gifts with someone else. It’s a really fun game that gets us all in the holiday spirit!
Every Christmas Eve, my Dad gives my Mom, sister, and me Christmas pajamas to wear the next morning! We always make sure we have fun Christmas pajama pants to give to him too!
Some of my favorite childhood memories involve baking Christmas goodies with my Mom and sister. During the holidays, my house is filled with all kinds of yummy treats, including cinnamon rolls, rum cake (my favorite!!) breakfast pastries, and enough cookies to feed an army! There’s nothing better than creating delicious holiday desserts with my family while listening to Christmas music and sipping some eggnog! We use recipes that have been in my family for decades and make everything from scratch, so this is definitely a tradition that will continue for years to come!
Merry Christmas, Y’all!