So really, there's more than seven. Growing up in my family meant a lot of fun things going on to help keep us in the Christmas spirit!
December traditions in no particular order:
1. Watch as many Christmas movies throughout the month of December.
2. Read a Christmas story every single night/free moment throughout December. (I literally have a binders created that have a story everyday through the month). On a side note: I've read The Christmas Box every single Christmas since it was published.
3. Black Friday shopping with my mom-- shop at Target and then make our way over to a crowded Ihop. Thank you Centerville, Utah.
4. Pull out the million, trillion boxes we have of Christmas decorations on Black Friday. Blast Christmas music throughout the house and decorate all weekend (literally).
5. Write Christmas cards and mail them out.
6. Make as many cookies/treats as possible. Deliver them to every house within a two mile radius of my parents house with a carol sung on their doorstep.
7. See the lights on Temple Square.
8. Make your way through the crowds to watch the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert. Place bets to see if Daddy is sitting on the first row or the second row.
9. Go shopping with daddy for last minute presents and make him take me out to dinner. It's my reward for telling him what my mom really wants and for braving that crowd of the last minute shoppers.
10. The ward Christmas party. This is where a bunch of adults over plan way too many activities and children are expected to sit still. It never happens but we Mormons eat a lot of food, visit and try to control screaming children. Oh, good times.
11. Get a real Christmas tree from the Parker Brothers which is the lot next to Pace's Dairy Ann in Bountiful, Utah.
12. Watch my parents then fight about who's going to decorate the tree they just bought and I end up staying up late doing it for them.
13. Pull out the old fake tree (my grandmother bought it when my dad was 5) and place every kid ornament possible! That tree gets covered and sometimes we double up on the branches.
14. Take younger brother Jonny out for cheesecake/hot chocolate (at Cheesecake Factory, where else?) once Christmas break has begun!
15. Sing Christmas carols in the car to our hearts content while driving around looking at Christmas lights for hours in some faraway small town out in the middle of nowhere Utah-- just for kicks and giggles.
16. Sing, "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth" and then talk about the Christmas I really did not have my two front teeth and how I cried every time I heard that song that particular Christmas.
17. Let my mom drag me to Hallmark to buy the latest Christmas ornament and then have dad say that we don't need anymore ornaments. It happens every year without fail.
18. Open all presents on Christmas Eve. With the exception of Daddy saying, "We have to clean the kitchen first!" As a kid, I would give my dad that look and roll my eyes. One year I was so mad when he said we had to clean our rooms first. You've never seen three bedrooms get cleaned any faster!
19. Eat as much Filipino food as possible. My mom wanted us to have a part of her culture in our Christmas decorations. All I can say is, YUM! Totally doing this one with my kids.
20. Wake up at the crack of dawn to open Christmas stockings. One year I remember my older brother Nathan and I were given watches. My grandmother was sleeping downstairs by our stockings and we kept looking at those watches wondering what was an acceptable time to wake her up. We waited until six.
21. In those Christmas stockings is always an orange, an apple, candy (chocolate for me) and a cool soda pop of some sort. It's the only time I like eating oranges. I don't oranges any other day of the year.
22. Eat a large Christmas dinner consisted of ham, turkey, mashed potatoes-- the works. Then gobble down as much of my dad's homemade pies (pumpkin and chocolate pecan).
23. Visit a widow in the are. There are so many lonely people this time of year. We always feel so much better after visiting for an hour or so. While it warmed their heart, I believe it warms ours even more.
24. Give Christmas to a family and/or several children. While it's nice to receive, it's definitely better to give. Often, we can only imagine their faces as they open a doorstep piled with presents.
25. It doesn't matter what gets done in the above list! We just play and celebrate as much as possible! That then means, every Christmas is the most wonderful Christmas EVER!
I hope you've enjoyed reading these silly traditions as much as I have had writing a few of them down. Hard to believe, I may have forgotten a few. No matter your situation, make sure you simply celebrate life.