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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Christmas Traditions


Good Morning Friends! I can't believe it's only 10 days to Christmas! Time flies so quickly this time of year! As a kid it felt like forever waiting for Christmas and the excitement lingered until the big day arrived! Now I feel like I am rushing to fit everything in while still trying to celebrate my favorite holiday before it slips away! So in the spirit of celebration I wanted to share with you some of the ways that my family observes the holidays.

Annual Christmas Shopping and Chinese Food-
Each year before Christmas eve my Dad and I spend one day rushing around town buying all of my moms presents together. We used to go to the same store every year to buy trinkets for her stocking, but it is now closed! When we get hungry we always find ourselves at a Chinese Food restaurant.  We have been doing this as long as I can remember! It is special to me because one of the things Christmas is about is spending time with family.

Angel Tree-
Our Church always puts up a Christmas tree each year leading up to Christmas with tags of families or businesses in need of donations.  Each year we adopt a child in need.  This year we were able to give a few pairs of warm pajamas to a local pro life clinic. Hallie and I also try to find other ways to give back this time of year.  We have donated a bag of food at the grocery store to a family in need and donated another pair of pajamas at Carter's for children in need while buying Christmas presents. I like to make sure to give back this time of year because it helps me remember that Christmas isn't about presents.  It helps me count my blessings.

Gingerbread Cookies-
 For the past maybe 6 or 7 years, my sister and I (and now our friends and cousins) will get together and have a gingerbread baking and decorating party! I turn on the Christmas music and make the dough from scratch. We like to make our families out of gingerbread. The rule is always you aren't allowed to decorate yourself.  We always give Katie's best friend Amanda the job of sculpting Stella Puppy out of dough and we even added a gingerbread bump on my belly the year I was pregnant with Hal! We make tiny ones for the kids and stretch a really tall one to make Christopher! We laugh and talk and get messy! Phones are usually put away because of our messy hands, so there are no distractions. It is just the best way to celebrate friendship!

Mock Family Christmas-

The Mock's definitely know how to celebrate Christmas! The whole family travels to Christopher's Aunt's ranch the weekend before Christmas. Everyone chips in to make a ton of food.  The family does a fun gift exchange, and Santa even makes an appearance to sing and take pictures with the kids!  Some years we have been lucky enough to have Christopher's cousin Father Matthew (Hallie's Godfather) do a full Mass for us before dinner. I feel so blessed to be a part of this family.  They are the kind of people who put family first and would give you the shirt of their backs if you needed it! They welcomed me with open arms even when Christopher and I were just dating and I was always treated as part of the family. We can't wait to go see everyone this weekend!
Chowder-
This is probably the oldest tradition in our family. My Dad used to this with his dad and so on and so on. I have been helping my Dad make clam chowder Christmas Eve morning for as long as I can remember. We always eat it for lunch on Christmas day. In recent years we have added a corn chowder because one of the chefs (ahem me) doesn't actually eat clams.  Even so it's a fun way for my Dad to keep a Hofmann family tradition alive and well and know that it will be passed down for many generations to come! (At least if I have anything to say about it!)
I even made us matching aprons.  Mine says Assistant Chowder Chef. His says Chowder Chef
Christmas Eve Party-
My Nana used to throw the BEST Christmas Eve party ever! My Mom's whole family would come and their would be a TON of food! Then after dinner the kids and the Dads would go look at Christmas lights around the neighborhood (It was fondly named the "Gee Whiz Ride") while the Moms cleaned up the kitchen and Santa delivered tons of presents for the kids! Then we would play a game of White Elephant. It was the best! In recent years we have had it at my Aunt and Uncle's house. I will always have fond memories of Christmas Eve at Nana's though!

Midnight Mass-
Christopher's family ALWAYS goes to Mass at midnight Christmas eve.  It is the most peaceful way to ring in the Holiday. It truly represents the real meaning of Christmas.  We always end by singing Silent Night in Spanish, English and then our German Priest sings it in German.  The Mass is always beautiful and it is wonderful to celebrate as a family!
Pajama Day-
On Christmas day, my family spends the day relaxing in Pajamas. My Dads family comes over, and we open presents, each chowder, the cousins play games and then we have a big Christmas dinner! It is such a fun day! Even if we had hardly any sleep the night before!

How does your family celebrate?
<3 Kelly




6 comments:

  1. mmmm i could totally go for some chinese! i think we're going to have it on nye. xo jillian - cornflake dreams

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  2. So much fun to look forward to! Once school is out for the year on Thursday, it's totally game on time and we are going to get stuff done. Love that you have so many photos from years past!

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  3. So many fun traditions! The gingerbread baking and decorating party sounds like something I need to do - how fun!

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  4. I love reading about other people's traditions. Looks like you guys have a lot of fun! :)

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  5. What special memories to have! My dad and I would do the same thing for my mom. I remember being 5 and my dad asking if I thought a bracelet would fit my mom. I slipped it on and said, "well it fits over my wrist... so it will fit her!" It didn't, lol...

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  6. Do you take Hallie to midnight mass too? I hated it as a kid and then grew to love it but I haven't been brave enough to take Aria. And I'm a stickler and would only want to go at midnight!
    That gingerbread sounds like a blast too!

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