I love traditions. I’m a very traditional girl and once a tradition is started, there is no ending it with me. If you don’t believe me, wait for our wedding pictures. My family has interesting traditions. They’ve somewhat changed over the years and have definitely morphed in the past 5 years with Patrick’s family’s traditions being brought in too but I wouldn’t trade family traditions for anything.
Here’s a definitive listing of my favorite family traditions:
1. Christmas brunch: After my parents divorced, my mom would get us Christmas Eve and my dad would pick us up Christmas day around 12. My mom started this tradition where we would get up and have Christmas brunch, just the three of us, before my dad came. Obviously, it’s expanded to 6 now since we’re all married, but the concept remains the same. Every year, she makes a cheesy hashbrown casserole. Last year, she thought about not making it. I threw a hissy fit and she ended up making it.
2. New Years Eve with the boys: Last year was my first time taking part in this tradition but it’s definitely one of my favorite. Patrick has been friends with the same guys for years and basically their entire life they have spent New Years Eve together. They used to have nerf fights and watch TV and things, which they still do, but now it includes alcohol, pool, and baggo in the basement. At midnight the boys all make one giant dog pile. It’s so entertaining for me to be there even though I was the only girl last year and I love seeing Patrick happy.
3. Christmas cookie making with Ava: Last year, Patrick and I decided we wanted to start a tradition with his niece, Ava. She was only 5 (ish) months at the time but since we rarely get to see her, it was important that we spend time with her, just the three of us. We decided to make Christmas cookies with her, which at 5 months old was Patrick and I baking and babysitting. Hopefully, this year, Ava will be able to help more with cookies and we can keep the tradition going. Eventually, after we have more nieces and nephews and our own kids, we’ll have a big Kids Only Cookie Day with Uncle Patrick and Aunt Cassie.
4. The lights at Cuneo Estates: This is one tradition that we’ve fallen behind on. When I was little, my parents would take us to Cuneo Estates to see the Christmas lights. Cuneo Estates is this huge mansion and grounds run by Loyola University. Every year, they put up a million Christmas lights with cut outs, displays, and the 12 days of Christmas. It’s gorgeous and I used to love going there. Recently, we’ve substituted Cuneo Estates for Grand Geneva resort, not far from my mom’s house. It’s the same basic premise, except Grand Geneva is a high end resort, not a mansion.
5. Christmas Eve presents opening: Since my dad would have us Christmas day and we would have Christmas brunch, my mom started having Christmas with us on Christmas Eve. We would go to my mom’s family’s Christmas celebration, come home late at night and spend time opening all our gifts. Somehow, even though we don’t get picked up at a set time and basically show up to dad’s family’s Christmas whenever, we still have our mom letting us open gifts on Christmas Eve.