Oh my gosh, how much do I love the holidays?! Christmas is my all time favorite holiday of the year, and not just because of the presents, or the traditions, but because of the reason for the season, the sparkly lights, the gathering of family, and the chilly weather. I was born in Southern California, and one year as an adult, I purchased a Christmas tree and put it in the back of my convertible with the top down and while it was “postcard perfect”, I was kind of sad that it was warm enough to do so. I’m definitely a “colder is better” for Christmas. I think I got this from my years living in New Mexico, where there are seasons, and sometimes snow for Christmas.
Speaking of New Mexico, one of my favorite holiday traditions is placing luminarias outside of our home. Luminarias are paper bags, filled about 1/3 full of sand, with a votive candle placed in the center and lit. I love the warm glow from these simple decorations. We place them outside and light them Christmas Eve, and when I go home to Albuquerque, the whole family bundles up and goes outside with a lighter. One year, my Uncle Mike accidentally set fire to more than one luminaria as he was lighting them – and we laughed and laughed and laughed.
Of course, before Christmas Eve, it is a tradition to decorate the inside of the house. We crank up the Christmas carols, turn on football without the volume – somehow there is almost always a game on when we are ready to decorate, I’ll don my antlers (I don’t even know how or when this started), and my husband and I – and my favorite son if he is with us for the weekend – will have fun taking our time and decking the halls.
My home used to look like Santa’s workshop threw up all over the place inside, but as I get older, I’ve pared it down and the theory “less is more” is definitely more peaceful. My entry table changes every year…last year it was simply a nutcracker and Santa’s hat, complemented with a gold bowl full of golden pears, small glass ornaments, and some paper flowers. I think this was the only red / white in our house, I’m more of a silver & gold type of Christmas decor gal.
Our Christmas tree is 12 feet tall, so it takes a bit of an effort. Thankfully, the Handsome Hubs is 6′ 3″ and makes reaching the top a lot less precarious of a reach from the ladder. But this is my absolute favorite part of decorating! It’s an effort, but always so beautiful when it’s complete. This year, we didn’t decorate our house until one week before Christmas, and I’m thinking I may have to leave the tree up through January just to enjoy how pretty it is for the full duration! This isn’t the best photo of the tree, below, from 2014, but it gives you an idea of the enormity of the task.
And finally, a tradition picked up from my step-dad as we were growing up, is Christmas Eve dinner. Carne Adovada. New Mexico style. Speaking of needing better photos, I’m surprised I even have a photo of this dish, and it’s definitely not Instagram worthy, but it may make you drool. This is a pork roast, simmered in enchilada sauce, red chile and red chile flakes for about 8 hours. We serve it wrapped in a flour tortilla and topped with shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, onions, and grated cheese…with a measure of more meat on top of the tortilla again – for good measure. We will be at my in-laws house for Christmas Eve dinner this year, celebrating Christmas together, but my husband and I will be feasting on this dish Christmas afternoon!
So what are some of your favorite traditions? I would love to hear about them in the comments below! Any delicious dishes or decorations that I should work into our new traditions? And if maybe your searching for some ideas to make your own, here are the traditions from Debbie, Lori and Megan, as we shared on the blog! Regardless of traditions or not, I pray you and your family have a warm, safe, and blessed Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Lord & Savior.