This is the first year in 11 years of marriage that we will be home on Christmas Day. (!) Because we travel to family (2 and 6 hours) and because we didn’t want to be traveling on Christmas Eve or Day and because James gets those days off automatically without using vacation days, it just has made the most sense to do those special days with family. The last couple years, I’ve been feeling a pull to spend those days at home with just our little family, and this year it’s becoming a reality. Traditions around those two days in particular have never been ours to create; we’ve just abided by (with joy!) the traditions set before us. So we’ve been doing some thinking on how we want to celebrate. If you have traditions that have been particularly meaningful to your families, would you share those below?

Despite this, we do have a few December traditions that we’ve slowly established. Nothing earth-shattering. In fact, some I didn’t even realize were traditions until the kids started jumping around when that book came out of the Christmas tub–not a book that’s made it on anyone’s must-have list, but a book that we own and that only comes out at Christmas.

And that’s when it hit me.

While traditions can be extremely meaningful and purposeful and intentional and all the wonderful things, what makes them most special to your own family is that they are YOURS and that you DO them. That book isn’t the best Christmas message out there. Those CDs aren’t the end-all in Christmas music. That paper chain doesn’t even have red in it, for goodness’ sake! But they’re things that can be counted on in the Steele household. And when you know the way things go within a particular family or system, that’s when you start to belong. This is who we are; this is what we do. Isn’t that a freeing word?

So to that end, let me show you some of our imperfect traditions.

Our first year for a paper chain.
Too many “when” questions.

These Christmas songbooks are missing Carol of the Bells.
I found it elsewhere, because come ON.

Mr. and Mrs. Mousie

We get all kinds of visitors to the manger.
P.S. This was an Etsy STEAL at $20.

James and I were married 5 days after Christmas.
After years of keeping our wedding toppers stored
(James customized the red values of our hair!),
I decided to use them as part of our Christmas decor.

A wedding gift–isn’t that a great idea?!
(Note Joseph’s lack of staff. Hence the HIGH location this year.)

Our wedding guest book.
The bottom half of the lights not working
on our hand-me-down tree. Christmas not ruined!

Fake mistletoe. Still gets the job done.

Jesse Tree ornaments–sans tree

I hope this post brings you some freedom. Don’t worry about having the best, most meaningful traditions ever. Try something new this year; if it doesn’t work out, nix it next year. Just don’t stand frozen, unsure of what The Best thing to do is and so doing nothing. Traditions take time. Yours will be different than anyone else’s. That’s what will make them yours. And that’s what will make you and those you include belong.

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