For me, some of the smallest rituals are the best! For instance, listening to Mariah Carey Pandora station while decorating the tree. Taking turns who gets to put the star on each year. (BTW our “star” is actually a deer!) Coffeemate’s peppermint mocha creamer — yum! Matching PJs, shopping for stocking stuffers, cheeseballs (I’m serious!), looking at Christmas lights, and really, just the excitement that comes with it being Christmastime.

There’s an energy in the air that only comes on one time a year. Perhaps it’s chilly weather and the scent of spiced cinnamon, or maybe it’s just the excitement of knowing fun days are soon to come.

Ok, so some of the above aren’t so much “traditions” rather than just things that happen, but I love them all the same!

Now as a parent, however, I have a new favorite tradition: staying up the night before with my husband and setting up surprises for the littles. He does the assembling and I hand tools, refill coffee, and offer words of support. It’s some of the most fun evenings we’ve had, even if it means no or little sleep before a day of excitement.

When I was a kid, my favorite tradition was going to my grandparents’ house on Christmas Eve evening. Everyone would dress up and bring appetizers, plus she would make “special” dishes we would have only a few times a year, like shrimp cocktail, ham loaf, and the beloved cheeseball!

Traditions change; we make new ones and remember the old ones fondly as years go on.

What are some of your favorite family traditions and how do you celebrate?