Traditions – Past, Present, and Future

This is my contribution to PAIL’s Monthly Theme post topic for November, “Traditions.” Click here to join in!


When I started thinking about the topic of traditions, I realized that in order to determine what traditions I wanted for my daughter and our family as a whole, I needed to start with figuring out which traditions were important to me and to my husband individually and decide how we were going to meld the two. Following are a couple examples of our differences in regards to the upcoming holidays – we are both super close with our families, but we do have very different traditions.

Thanksgiving Past

  • Me: A big family meal (generally 20-40 ppl) at a relative’s house with all of the extended family around. This was followed by laying around on couches watching football, drinking beer, and napping. Low stress + lots of family time = my favorite holiday.
  • Char: A family trip to the big city (6 hrs away), a stay in a hotel, Thanksgiving Dinner at OCB, hitting up a local sports bar to watch the football games, and then getting up at 2am to go Black Friday shopping (in which they picked out their own Christmas presents, which were then wrapped and put under the tree).

Christmas Past

  • Me: Christmas Eve service at the local church. Then Grandma and Grandpa came over for dinner, we sat around and read the Christmas story from the bible, and we all got to open our gifts from Mom & Dad. Christmas morning meant an EARLY morning in our PJs, opening our stocking stuffer gifts and the 1 big gift from Santa. All gifts were a surprise! We then had breakfast together and spent the rest of Christmas day lounging around in our PJs watching new movies from our gift pile.
  • Char: Christmas Eve service at the local church. Open 1 gift from the parents that night if they were good at church (which he says they always were!). Christmas Day, eat breakfast as a family (first! as in – before gifts – craziness) and then sit around and open a gazillion presents, most of which they already knew because they picked them out themselves (see Thanksgiving above). Hang out as a family all day.

So yeah, it’s not that his way was “bad” per se – I love that he is as close with his family as I am with my own. However, the traditions are definitely different. I started thinking about how we were going to integrate the two moving forward, and I realized that after eight years together, we already HAVE started integrating.

Thanksgiving Present

  • If we’re in MN where my family lives, we do it the MN way. ๐Ÿ™‚ However, if we’re in Colorado (where his parents live), the shopping is now out. It’s now a stay-at-home family event at Charlie’s parents place (YAY!), but it also includes a lot of our friends. We live in an area where many people don’t have extended family that live close by, so my in-laws have opened up their home to our friends for the past few years. For example, this year it will be my MIL/FIL, my SIL, me/Char/Stella, and 5 of our friends that live in the area who don’t have family around. We’ll spend all day eating, playing board games, drinking, watching football, and repeat. <3

Christmas Present

  • Christmas Eve service at the local church, then we go home. We still go to Charlie’s parent’s house on Christmas morning, eat breakfast, and then open gifts together (1 gift each – we draw names and everyone buys a $25 gift for whomever they got). We spend the day as a family hanging out.

As for the future, this is what I’m hoping for…

Thanksgiving Future

  • Exactly what we’re doing now! Moving to Colorado taught me that family doesn’t necessarily have to be related by blood, and our friends mean SO much to us here. A day (any day!) at home filled with friends and family and good food and fun times works for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

Christmas Future

  • Christmas Eve service at the local church. Then we’ll head home (with grandparents welcome to join), read the Christmas story, and Stella can open her presents from us that night at home. Christmas morning will be early morning gifts from Santa, and then most likely we’ll head up to Charlie’s parent’s house for breakfast and a day spent hanging out with the extended family. Not a bad compromise, right?

After I wrote everything above,ย I asked Charlie if he had any traditions he wanted to make sure to do for Stells moving forward, and he said no, not really… but then he turned to me and said:

You know what I just thought about? One of usย gets to get up at three in the morning someday and put the presents under the tree from Santa and eat the cookie and drink half the milk. That’s pretty cool.


My God we are blessed.


  1. Josey, the quote from Charlie made me tear up! I feel more blessed than ever this holiday season. It is amazing what little ones can show us ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Wow you two do have different traditions, but they sound great. I like the compromise.

    The quote made me cry too! I have wanted to do that forever!!!!!

    Those are great pictures, I am sure Stella will love the traditions!

  3. Woman, I have not read this post yet but I had to comment on your photo. Look at that happiness! Look at that love! What a beautiful family ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Mixing holiday traditions with a spouse (and their family) can be SO HARD. You two seem to have found the perfect mix. Happy Thanksgiving.

  5. Aw I’m crying at Charlie’s quote too! So sweet. My traditions are more like yours only we opened one gift on Christmas Eve like Charlie. I guess if you already know what your gifts are than waiting until after breakfast isn’t too bad. When I was a kid though, forget it! It was hard enough to wait for my mom to find her glasses and her robe!

  6. It’s so wonderful to be able to meld your traditions together. The quote from Charlie is beautiful….warms the hear!

  7. Aww, I love what Charlie came up with at the end. I hadn’t thought of that actually, but that is pretty awesome that WE get to be that person now. I love all your traditions and how much family and friends are involved. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  8. Great that you were able to mix both of your traditions together to make your very own, new traditions. They all sound perfect to me! I realized in my post that I don’t even talk about Anthony’s old traditions.. oops haha… he is very go with the flow and actually we have kind of mixed the two since his family are pretty Christmasy compared to mine.

    Love the photos… and Charlie’s sweet quote (this makes me want to do Santa afterall)! It sounds like Stella is going to have many amazing holidays ahead! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Elizabeth · · Reply

    It sounds like you were able to mix both of your traditions together for you now family of 3. Awesome! And you ae so right. It’s all about spending time with your family & enjoying each other.

  10. Josey, I was just thinking about your Christmas Eve tradition minutes before checking your post! I remember last year how your family came and you held your daughter at the Christmas Eve service, and I remember crying at work reading that being so happy for you, and just touched at the thought of how magical it all was, and devestated because I didn’t know if that would ever be me. Anyway, loved this post! I loved traditions and it sounds like you guys have some pretty great ones! Much easier to blend traditions than it will be in my family ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. I am SO SO SO happy for you that it will be YOU starting those traditions this Christmas! (well, hopefully, depending on when your little one decides to come out *grin*).

      What a difference a year can make.

      1. I know, so fun we both will have December babies! I love the significance of E following Stella’s timeline. ๐Ÿ™‚ 36 week appt today and she’s still high and cervix closed, but soft. Hoping for 12/12/12!! Lol.

        1. I cannot WAIT to see this little girl and hear all about her entrance into this world. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Your comment just made me read my Thanksgiving post from last year (36w). So surreal to read about how huge and cranky and pregnant I was. LOL

          12/12/12 would be an awesome birthday!

        2. I’m glad you said so! I am a cranky beast of a pregnant lady these days! ๐Ÿ˜‰ going to re-read some of your posts now.

  11. Super different traditions, but both do sound fun! Our friends are also our “family” here so I can totally relate to your house full of friends, good food and fun times. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. Awesome traditions in both families!
    Ok. Serious question of the night..
    How the heck do you manage to look so damn refreshed, beautiful and NOT tired in all your pictures?!? With a baby?!?! Unreal girl.

    1. Ha, I posted some pics where you could tell I was exhausted! There are just a LOT of pics taken in this household so I generally can pick and choose to find one I look decent in. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. I love how you guys have combined traditions and, in doing so, are starting some of your own. I think about us this time last year, anticipating the arrival of our babies and now we are about to celebrate the holidays with healthy nearly-one year olds, God is Good!

  14. […] Joseyย of My Cheap Version of Therapyย talks about how she and her husband have melded together their traditions in “Traditions – Past, Present, and Future.“ […]

  15. Aw… I LOVE what Char had to say. That guy can really bust out a gem, eh? (And you can tell him I said “Eh.” He’ll love it.

    I really like how you wrote this – an interesting way to look at it and blend the two family experiences together. BJB and I are both so “meh” and don’t have big things we do, but I really want our kids to have “things.” like that. ๐Ÿ™‚


  16. Love it!!! We are far from home too, Iowa & South Dakota. I think we need to decide on our own traditions too, ours are both very different like you to. I am so jealous of your picture, you live in such a beautiful state. We hope to move to Colorado after the next baby!

  17. elizabethkbaker · · Reply

    I love this post. Whatever your traditions- past, present, future- it’s obvious they are filled with love, fun, and family. And how precious is newborn Stella? Oh my goodness, so sweet.

  18. I love hearing about both of your traditions and how you’ve figured out the best way to mesh them into YOUR family’s traditions. Stella will love them no matter what but I do think you’ve got some good ones in there. I like being able to open a present or two on Christmas Eve. I remember doing that too, and it was always fun to try and figure out which one you wanted to open.

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