Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ventage Tuesday: But it's Tradition!

It's hard to believe it's Tuesday again. And not just any Tuesday! Two weeks from today is CHRISTMAS DAY!!! I'm a Christmas fan, no question. I love the music, the decorating, finding the perfect gift, the baking, and the eating, and that general giddy feeling. I feel like all of these feelings are amplified this year because AJ is old enough to *get it* and boy is he excited. He knows Ho Ho Santa. We have an elf named Boomer who's giving the big guy a daily report on his behavior. He LOVES the Christmas lights. I love experiencing this season through his eyes.

So in honor of that rapidly approaching holiday, the Ventage girls are sharing a few of our personal Christmas traditions. I'm a tradition kind of girl (in fact there was recently an email exchange with my girls wherein I confessed to feeling so overwhelmed by the need to start all these traditions with AJ now that he is old enough to be aware) so narrowing this list down to five wasn't easy for me.

1. Christmas PJs: This tradition is a carry over from my own childhood. As a child of divorced parents, my holidays were always split between two houses and two families. I spent Christmas Eve with my father and his family. Our tradition was to always open new Christmas PJs. Even though I'm now 33, my dad still mails me Christmas jammies every year and labels them so I know to open them first. And now that Karl has married into the family, he also gets PJs from the Andersons. I take special joy in picking out just the right jammies to carry on this tradition with AJ. And this year I was able to pick out MATCHING sets for AJ and Sam! How exciting to celebrate our first holiday season as a family of four!

2. Bakeapalooza: This tradition is a newer one (established in 2007), and one that reminds me that this holiday is just as much about our friends as it is our family. In fact, this time of year reminds us that some friends are the family we have chosen for ourselves. The Bakeapalooza tradition is on hiatus this year, do to scheduling issues, but I have faith that next year Barb, Em, and I will be back at it, armed with a ridiculous amount of butter, tackling a new list of recipes.

3. Visiting Santa: To be honest, I'm not a big fan of the Santa at our local mall. His attire leaves a little something to be desired, and his long beard kind of reminds me of an Oak Ridge Boys reject. BUT, it's tradition. We MUST make time to go see Santa and get that classic photo. AJ smiled during his first visit to the big guy at 6 months old. He looked stoned during his second visit at 18 months. At 2.5 he was sporting a hand wrapped in gauze and was quite proud to show off his stitched up boo boo. Now when we visit the big guy this year, AJ will show his baby brother the ropes.

4. Lights, Lights, LIGHTS!: Every year I find as many ways to squeeze in Christmas light viewing as possible. A trip to the Green Bay Botanical Gardens "Garden of Lights" display is mandatory. Some years we've even gone more than once. Last year when Karl was traveling a bunch, I spent many a night driving the neighborhoods so AJ could ooh and ahh himself to sleep. We also started a new tradition last year that I'm excited to continue. The local paper puts out a map of the best houses in the valley, so on Christmas Eve after church and dinner, we got AJ into his Christmas jammies, got him all snuggled up in the car, and set off to see all the houses for ourselves, listening to Christmas music all the way.

5. Annual Ornaments: Truth: My tree will never be one of those magazine Christmas trees. There's no theme or color scheme or any pattern whatsoever. But what my tree has that those magazine trees don't is memories. From Karl's first Christmas bell to the gold violin that's hung on my tree since I started playing in 1st grade. There are ornaments from vacations, from old jobs, and even ornaments to remember our sweet angel babies who never celebrated a Christmas here on earth. This weekend we added two new ornaments to our tree: one to document our new family of four, and the other to celebrate AJ's new role as big brother. Put all those ornaments together and they make one perfect tree!

I'd love to hear what traditions mean the most to you this time of year. And don't forget to check in with Angie, Barb, Emily, and Katrina to take a peek into their holiday traditions!


gabbyfek said...

i LOVE this post!
hooray traditions!

Josie said...

love love
merry christmas season!!

ps mall santas creep me out too!

angieoh! said...

We do Jammies and I love it. Love your pictures and hope we can celebrate a little merry happy with our families together. maybe a pj party!