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tra·di·tion (noun)

A specific custom or practice of long standing.

Around the holidays, I can’t help but think about the traditions my family repeated each year at this time…like the scent of my Dad’s homemade amaretto filling the house, my Gram baking soft and chewy gingersnaps, and gathering with family to celebrate a traditional Italian feast of seafood on Christmas Eve.

As Alex and I are creating a life together, we believe it is important to work in our own holiday traditions…things that will make the holidays special for us. These traditions will give us something exciting to look forward to each and every year.

Exchange special ornaments

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Last year, I found an adorable Christmas ornament that was just perfect for Alex and I. We met at Crossfit and it is something we still love doing together more than a year and a half later! I was searching Crossfit items on Etsy and came across this customizable partner deadlift ornament. I stuck it in his stocking and it made us both laugh. We got a kick out of it and have decided to buy each other a special ornament each year. Sometimes they will be funny, sometimes they will be romantic…whatever we choose, we know they will hold a special meaning for us. I can’t give up my designer Christmas tree in the family room, but we put up a tree in the living room to display all of our special ornaments. You can never have too many trees, especially ones that show off meaningful ornaments!

Bake cookies that have a special meaning


Growing up in a big Italian family, I quickly learned that love knot cookies were my favorite as a little kid! My Aunt Patty was famous for these little doughy balls of goodness, and at every event, she would also sock a little bag of them away for me to take home. While she made them with anise, I sometimes like to mix it up and flavor them with almond or lemon, depending on the occasion. Last Christmas, I introduced Alex to the cookies and we decided that we can’t have Christmas without them going forward. I know Aunt Patty will be watching over me as I make them this year!

Watch a Christmas classic and sip mulled wine while wrapping presents

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We didn’t do this last year, but we are excited to create a special time for the two of us while we wrap presents and get in the Christmas spirit. Alex had a work training in upstate New York not too long ago that took him past the Finger Lakes, one of our favorite places! We visited last January (it was my Christmas present) and we fell in love with Bully Hill Vineyards. Well, that sweet boyfriend of mine made a pit stop at Bully Hill on his way home and picked up their chardonnay and mulling spices…and we plan to put it to good use while we wrap presents this year! We haven’t decided on a Christmas movie just yet, but Elf, It’s a Wonderful Life, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, The Holiday and The Family Stone are all contenders.

Visit a Christmas light display


Christmas decorations really get me in the spirit…especially lights! This year, we plan to visit a Christmas light display. We are lucky to live so close to Hershey Park…they do a display called Sweet Lights each year. I haven’t been to this display before, so I’m excited to add this to our list for this year!

Remember the Reason for the season

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While this is last on the list, it is first in my heart. We often get caught up in the commercial aspects of Christmas because it is fun and it makes the season merry and bright! But while we are focused on the beautiful lights, fun movies, and shopping, we also have to take the time to remember why we celebrate Christmas each and every year: Jesus. So during the hustle and bustle, make an effort to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas by starting a few traditions focused on Him: attending a candlelight Christmas Eve service, getting tickets to the Christmas musical at your church, or simply reading the scripture about Christ’s birth with your loved ones. Presents are great, but his presence is the greatest gift of all!

What special traditions will you start or continue this year?