Back when I was single (ohemgee, that feels like a lifetime ago!), I couldn't wait to have a family to start traditions with, especially during the holidays. Now, with my little family of four, we have created quite a list. Here are 13 Watkinez holiday family traditions!
1. Put up the Christmas tree on December 1st
You may have seen this on Instastories, so you know how Disney-fied our home becomes for the holidays. We usually play Christmas music on Pandora and light holiday candles while we decorate. It's the best!
2. Choose one new ornament for the Christmas tree
We always go to the Disney Store to pick our new ornaments for the year. Each of us choose one and we hang them once the tree goes up. A couple of the ornaments this year were bought back in October, so I've been saving them for months, just itching to open them. Trust me, if you ever see an awesome ornament at the Disney Store, grab it right away - they sell out so fast!
3. Design a new holiday wrapping paper design with Spoonflower
I designed the pattern for this year's gifts, inspired by my work with the Etsy shop this year. Wrapping gifts are not my forte so I like to hide that fact with colorful patterns - haha! If you would like this wrapping paper in time for Christmas, be sure to order it before December 14th. (See shipping deadlines here)
4. Advent calendar for the boys
In the past, we have made the advent calendars for our kids (like this one and this one!). However, this year, I had zero time to make one so we bought a Disney chocolate one. Chocolate + Countdown to Christmas = Happy Babies.
5. Trip to the Disney parks
A MUST. There is nothing like seeing the park light up at night, especially the castle and It's a Small World. The crowds are insane, but the ambiance is worth it for us.
6. Mail letter to Santa via a Disneyland mailbox
I love this tradition! Louie isn't writing letters to Santa yet, but Brody is still all about it. This year, we dropped off our letter at the Buena Vista Mailbox at Disney California Adventure. However, there are a TON of mailboxes all over the Disney parks - just keep your eyes peeled!
7. Family holiday greetings cards
While I am a greeting card designer, we actually send cards to our family with our family photo. I love receiving these types of cards because I compare them to the ones we received last year, just to see how everyone has grown and changed. This year, we used the Disney MaxPass to get our photo taken in front of Carsland. I designed our own holiday card with Mixbook, using the "blank canvas" option and absolutely LOVE how they turned out!
8. *NEW TRADITION* Homemade Butterbeer
Our passes for Universal Studios expired back in September so unfortunately we won't be making it to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter this holiday. My husband loves the butterbeer they serve so he found a recipe online to make it at home. The first time he made it, he thought it was too sweet, so we'll be trying it again to get it to our liking. New holiday tradition - yay!
9. Christmas Movies!!!
This is an obvious tradition, but cannot be left out of our list. The Nightmare Before Christmas is the boys' favorite, while Pat and I can't get enough of Elf. Other must-sees are Home Alone, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and Mickey's Christmas Carol.
10. Decorate a Gingerbread House
We started this tradition last year with the boys. My sister and I didn't grow up making gingerbread houses, so I went with a kit last year. Pretty sure I'm going to do the same this year, BUT I saw this Millennium Falcon one and I might need to try it next year.
11. Read Reindeer Potluck
I can't believe it has been two years since I self-published Reindeer Potluck! This book was inspired by all of Brody's favorite treats, so now that Louie is into reading, we can use it for story time during the holidays. I took a trip down memory lane here and it has given me new life to finish by everyday holiday book series!
12. Christmas Eve with my parents
Growing up in a Salvadoran household, we always opened gifts at midnight. We didn't grow up with a Santa Claus (though as a kid, I always pretended to believe) because we would stay up as long as we could to get to our gifts. We are keeping this tradition alive with the boys, only making sure to spend Christmas Eve with my parents and sister in one of their homes. Not sure how long we are going to be able to keep up the Santa charade for the boys - eek!
13. Christmas Morning just the four of us
The boys will wake us up early and we'll open gifts and enjoy a lazy day at home. I'm so excited to do absolutely nothing but play and cuddle with my boys on Christmas Day!
What traditions do you have with your family and friends?
I draw, make, and occasionally tell a story.