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December 15, 2008

Holiday Traditions

As a family, we've developed three new holiday traditions here in LA, all of them awesome. And the nice part is that we get to add them to the traditions we had at home on the east coast, too, so we are all traditioned up this time of year.

1) Christmas at Disneyland
It's hard to describe just how awesome Disneyland is for Christmas, but let me try. First of all, there are real reindeers there. Yes, real ones. Secondly, they have a special fireworks and castle show just for Christmas, and a Christmas only parade too. All of these things are on par with their normal year round productions, and they end with it actually snowing on Main Street USA (ok, it's not real snow, but you wouldn't know that by looking at it.) They also (and I think this is unique to Disneyland, Disney World doesn't do this) do a complete and total overlay of both Small World and The Haunted Mansion for Christmas. Both of these overlays are incredibly impressive. Jack Skelton, from Nightmare Before Christmas, moves into the Haunted Mansion. Small World just gets all Christmas-fied, in a very impressive way. And then they project all these Christmas-y lights onto the Small World castle. Add to this the Christmas lights all over the park, and... Seriously, Disneyland owns Christmas.

2) The Grove. The Grove in LA is another place where it snows. I get more snow in LA for Christmas than I did on the East Coast. There are carolers and synchronized fountains and it's just very beautiful and fun. And because it's all outdoors, it has a certain Dickensian feel to it.

3) Ice Skating at Santa Monica. We just did this for the first time last night, but it's quite obviously an instant classic for our family. The kids LOVED it. They set up an outdoor skating rink in Santa Monica with lights and decorations and it's just so much fun. With an admission ticket, you also get a free drink from Starbucks, so that made Darby very happy. Finish a perfect evening off with a trip to Benihana's and really, how could this not be a wonderful Christmas tradition?

So I get to add these to the East Coast staples - the Wintethur Fairy Garden and The Longwood Christmas Lights... which unfortunately don't really end up being annual because it's so darn cold and not eveyone wants to go out every year. But still, when I can get everyone feeling adventurous, those are always fine evenings, too. But there is always singing O Holy Night while holding a candle at the Adoration Service.

What are some Holiday Traditions that you look forward to?

Posted by jason on December 15, 2008 03:44 PM


Of course, I always look forward to the Adoration Service, as well. Unfortunately, this is the first year in...I cannot remember how long...that I will miss it! :-( My school scheduled our Christmas Concert later than usual this year and it happens to be the same night. Since I have to help 2 classes sing (mine and 3rd grade), I cannot finagle my way out of it. Another thing I look forward to is having my whole family over sometime during the Christmas season...we usually have to plan it around my brother and sister-in-love's schedule (since they come down from Alaska), but they will not be able to make it this year because they already came down in the summer for a family wedding on Patti's side...bummer. We started a new tradition last Christmas Eve, since Brooklyn was born...we have Nathan, Sherry, Brooklyn, and my mom over. We will continue that, but this year it will be at my mom's apartment. We always celebrate Christmas day with John's family, and Nathan will be home for that, too, so that is good. We have already taken part in one tradition...Christmas tree hunting with the Stevens'...and this year Sherry and Brooklyn came. We did go to Longwood last year, and I hope we will be able to do so again this year.

Posted by: kathiek on December 15, 2008 05:29 PM

1. Nutcracker - it's not the holidays without the show!
2. Cutting down tree
3. Longwood lights
4. Faith City lights
5. Decorating Christmas tree - we always get fancy food and have a great time.
6. Going to the mall!
7. Adoration Service of course - and some kind of drama play that I am involved with...
8. NYC - we've visited the past couple years and try to make it annual but this year it didn't happen. We love the big city at the holidays.

Christmas is so much fun!

Posted by: Jonathan on December 15, 2008 11:58 PM

One of my favorite parts about Christmas is picking out gifts for those I love; and it's especially fun to do this WITH other people I love. You know, conspire together over what to get this one and that one--it's a really fun time.

the Adoration Service, but I am not going to get to go this year cause I have to work. boo.

baking cookies with fun family members!

Posted by: Jessica on December 16, 2008 12:44 AM

Yeah, avoid the non-fun family members when baking cookies!

Jase - Disneyland sounds awesome for Christmas!

Posted by: Jonathan on December 16, 2008 09:33 AM

Oh yeah, I am--notice I didn't ask YOU to bake cookies with me this year, Jonathan!

And I went to Disneyworld a few years ago at Christmastime. IT was SO awesome. Everything was decorated beautifully; Main Street USA snowed and all the shops gave out hot cocoa and delicious fresh baked cookies for free!

Let's just say I went to more than one of the bake shops that night!

Posted by: Jessica on December 16, 2008 11:46 AM

The most important tradition ever: Burgers by the Pool.

Posted by: Mike on December 16, 2008 04:42 PM

Burger by the pool is a summer tradish. I look forward to Gingerbread houses and spending Christmas eve night at Mom and Dad's with Mike, you, Darb, Lyric,Zuri, Ollie, Col, Linds, Mam and Pap.

Posted by: mers on December 16, 2008 07:26 PM

4. Being stranded in las vegas.

Posted by: Anonymous on December 18, 2008 08:12 AM

Ha ha... Anonymous beat me to the punch!

Posted by: Collin on December 18, 2008 10:53 AM

yeah, I wrote that yesterday, but then deleted it cause it's just SO SAD!!!!! I wish you guys were here already!!! Can't wait to see you soon, though!

Posted by: Jessica on December 18, 2008 01:52 PM

Not to say that anonymous isn't funny!

Posted by: Jessica on December 18, 2008 01:53 PM

Last year was the first really fun year with our girls for Christmas and this year proves to incredible! They are so excited! I guess before we had our twins we had some traditions but I honestly don't remember any so it is a totally new experience seeing Christmas through our children's eyes!
Last year on Christmas eve I got the girls into their new Christmas PJ's (Traditon I started the first year when they were only 9 months) and after putting out cookies and milk out for Santa and some carrots for the reindeer (A New tradition) we all curled up on the couch and read The Night Before Christmas and then the Story of Jesus.(Second New Christmas Tradition) The kids actually stayed still enough to listen to the story which was hard for 2 two year olds to do.

Then the greastest thing happened...we heard a fire truck siren going off outside our house and we looked out the window and there on top of the truck was...SANTA!!!! The girls started screaming and ran outside socks and all into the cold to see dear Santa! It was the most amazing thing to see them get sooo excited! The girls started to tell him immediately what the wanted and that they had left him out some cookies that they had helped make and about the carrots for Rudolf! It was amazing! He gave them a candy cane and hugged them and told them to get into bed so he could get to work! It was magical and such good timing...we had just finished The Night Before Christmas! So exciting! Chris and I were as excited as the girls...we went right to sleep so he could bring us our presents too! ;-)

So this year we will be sure to get our books read and be waiting for the fire truck! We live in a small town that has a huge involved Volunteer Fire Department and being that we live near the two cheif's of the department...I guess we get door to door service! That's how Santa rolls in Chesapeake City!!!!!
One other tradition that started last year was getting up the next morning and letting the girls open their stockings first thing when they wake up which I put at the end of their beds...my mom's tradition for my brothers and I since we were very early risers and it held us off for opening the other presents...um before 5 AM! No lie we used to get up at like 4 AM and wait and wait to wake up our parents! The rule was 7 AM!!!

We added one more tradition this year for the build up for Christmas. We bought the girls each a book for the 5 days before Christmas. Each night before they go to bed they get completely ready (Which is always a fight)and crawl into our bed and they each get to open a book. Then we read them usually twice each and then the girls proudly and excitedly place them on their book shelf! It has been so much fun to watch them get so excited and fun to all read together something we haven't read 100 times!

We usually go to the Adoration service too but I have to work tonight so we will miss it this year!

My favorite time of Christmas is watching everyone open the presents I have picked out! I can't wait to see the girls comearound the corner and see the tree with all of the presents!!!!!
I am sooo excited!

Posted by: Ruthie Z. on December 22, 2008 07:58 AM

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