MY CHRISTMAS DAY ROUTINE

Christmas is quickly approaching, y’all! Since I was a little girl, I have been enchanted by the magic and suspense surrounding the holidays. Christmas is a time when friends and family, near and far, come together to reflect on the year that’s past, but also look forward to a new year with excitement and expectation. Christmas is a time of singing carols loudly for all to hear, decking out the house from top to bottom and watching embarrassing amounts of Hallmark movies while drinking hot chocolate by the fire. It is a time to reflect by the shadows of the dimly lit tree or watch the snow fall peacefully outside your kitchen window.

I’ve been blessed with many great Christmas memories growing up and will always cherish what it has meant for our family. I know this year might put a damper on many family’s travel plans, but remember the magic behind the season. Below are some of my favorite Christmas Eve/Day traditions from childhood until now. Enjoy!

+ Christmas Eve

My parents started this game night tradition a few years back and it quickly grew to be a family favorite. On December 23 each year, my extended family comes together to play Christmas Bingo and Dirty Santa. Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and often times neighbors/family friends are begging to get in on the action. My great-grandmother also passed down her Bingo cage with fifty year-old cards and bright red chips, which makes this game that much more special. My dad, who is often the “caller” (bless his heart), will often shout out a B quickly followed by a “Bethlehem!” or N for “Nativity!” We’ve got creative in how we play over the years, but we all have a blast! My parents also have a basket of prizes to chose from, which are small but often fought over.

+ Christmas Bingo & Dirty Santa

Dirty Santa is another thrilling game of strategy and will. Check out my other blog to see the ins and outs of Dirty Santa.

Growing up, Christmas Eve was always another chaotic, yet fun packed night my grandmother’s house. Now that she’s much older and isn’t in a place to do so, my parents have graciously taken over the reigns with hosting the holidays at their home. For Christmas Eve, the extended family comes over for another night of eating, chatting and opening presents. We’ve always enjoyed the fellowship of this holiday and celebrating the gift of togetherness.

+ Christmas Day

Christmas Day is more of a relaxing time for my immediate family. Now that my siblings and I are all “grown” and two thirds of us aren’t living at home, we all crash at my parent’s house from the previous night’s shenanigans and sleep in until 8 or 9am. My parents, brothers and our spouses start with opening our stockings and then quickly move into unwrapping presents. We all sit sleepily in our matching pajamas and spend the morning reminiscing and talking absolutely what we’re most excited for. As a young girl, I remember spending hours playing with my new toys and eagerly showing them off to my grandmother when she came back over later that afternoon.

+ Hot Cocoa Bar

If you’re anything like me, hot chocolate is a classic staple of the winter months. It instantly warms your soul after a long day building snowmen and sledding for hours on end. A hot chocolate bar is a fairly easy way to enjoy traditional hot chocolate but also allows you to add your own flair. Creating a cocoa bar is also a great way to offer family fun without breaking the bank. Who could ever turn down a great cup of hot Cocoa?

For a Christmas work party a few years ago, I naively jumped headlong into putting a Hot Cocoa Bar together for the team. As my first time doing something of this magnitude, it was a good learning curve into what was a big hit and what wasn’t.

Hot Cocoa Bar Essentials

In order to get the best bang for your buck, make sure to buy in bulk. Costco and Sam’s Club both have a wide array of hot chocolate to choose from. Swiss Mix and Girhadeli are both popular options, but buy whatever fits your fancy. The individual packets of hot chocolate are also an easy, yet efficient and germ-free way to it portion out. Below, I’ve listed some of my favorite Hot Cocoa bar necessities for the holidays.

  • Mason Jars
    Mason jars are a fun, but elegant way to put your hot chocolate toppings in. You can use ones that you’ve collected over the years or buy some from the local Dollar Tree. They also make cute drinking classes! It’s my true southerner upbringing speaking, I know!
  • Tags/Labels
    These aren’t necessarily a must, but tags make for an easy way to label each jar with what’s inside. You can make your own tags and labels, or find some to your liking on Pinterest or Etsy. #shopsmall
  • Hot Chocolate Packets
    As you all know, this is essentially the basis of your whole bar. 😂 Like I said previously, you can be creative with the types you buy.
  • Peppermint Sticks
  • Toffee Bits
  • Marshmallows
  • Caramel Sauce
  • Pretzels (Sticks or Pieces)
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Marshmallow Fluff

There is something so cheerful about a cup of hot chocolate. I’m a big believer in creating happiness from within and this, to me, embodies simple joy. I’m happy to arm myself and my family with whatever small acts of love and endless amount of hot chocolate it takes to see us through.


What are some of your favorite Christmas Day traditions and memories growing up and now as an adult? I would love to hear from you and what resonates to you when thinking back on favorite holiday traditions.

CHARLESTON HOPE

As we head into the Christmas season, there are so many opportunities to pay it forward. We all know 2020 has been hard enough without adding the added stresses of adding Christmas shopping to our list.

Charleston Hope is a non-profit based out of Charleston, South Carolina that works to enhance school culture and climate in high poverty, Title 1 schools by building on the strengths of both the students and teachers.

This non-profit is also near to my husband’s heart. He spent many hours behind the scenes packing gifts into the U-Haul to distribute to the elementary schools every Christmas and master grilling during summer events. He met Emily (Executive Director & Founder) early on in her journey with Charleston Hope and was involved as a board member for some time.

Charleston Hope also has two distinct programs that they implement throughout the year for children in their schools: Mitchell Elementary and Sanders-Clyde Elementary.

  • Step-In Girls Empowerment Program
    Step-In Girls program that empowers 4th and 5th grade girls to step-in to themselves, their community, and their future.
  • Classroom Mentor Program
    The Classroom Mentor Program is an academic mentoring program that pairs community members with students. Often times, community members will come in for lunch to sit with students or stay after school for homework assistance.

If you feel lead to give in a tangible way to Charleston Hope’s mission, I have listed some ways below.

Adopt a Classroom

Adopt a Classroom is Charleston Hope’s fundraiser that spreads love and joy during the holiday season students and teachers in their partnered schools and raises money for their year-round program. Check out the many ways to help with Adopt a Classroom here. One night before Christmas, thousands of volunteers come together in CofC’s TD Arena to wrap gifts for hundreds of students. It’s a great time of fellowship and a way to get into the Christmas spirit. Many people wear Santa hats and are decked out in green and red. They often times have food available and is a great time for the family.

Become a Monthly Donor

Monthly donors are the backbone of Charleston Hope’s organization. They allow us to focus more on programming and less on fundraising. You can become a monthly donor in just a few simple steps!

Host a Supply Drive

Teachers need some loving this holiday season too, y’all! They are pouring their souls into each and every one of their students everyday. Help Charleston Hope collect teacher’s most needed items for their Teacher’s Hope Closet! View how here!


If you feel lead to donate otherwise or to another organization closer to your heart, that is totally okay! If 2020 has taught me anything, it is that we must look out for each other. Everyone, and especially kids, are deserving of love. Many of these students in this area come from hard upbringings and are not expecting to get much this holiday season. For those of us who have the means to do so, think about giving back to the community in some way this season. You won’t regret it.

Donate here!

Operation Christmas Child

Since I was a child, my family has participated in Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child, which is a Christmas initiative to bring joy to kids all over the world through shoe boxes filled with toys.

The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to provide God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

The premise behind Operation Christmas Child came from the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37, which gives a clear picture of God’s desire for us to help those in desperate need wherever we find them. After describing how the Samaritan rescued a hurting man whom others had passed by, Jesus told His hearers, “Go and do likewise.” For over 40 years, Samaritan’s Purse has done their utmost to follow Christ’s command by going to the aid of the world’s poor, sick, and suffering. By being an effective means of reaching hurting people in countries around the world with food, medicine, and other assistance in the Name of Jesus Christ, it earns Samaritan’s Purse a chance to tell the Gospel and good news of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

As their teams work in crisis areas of the world, people often ask, “Why did you come?” The answer is always the same: “We have come to help you in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Our ministry is all about Jesus—first, last, and always. As the Apostle Paul said, “For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Corinthians 4:5).

With each box, you can pick out gifts for either a boy or girl and in one age category: 2-4, 5-9 or 10-14. You can either pack an empty shoe box from home or pick up one at your local Hobby Lobby. Things like journals, dolls, balls and other such things can

“Every box is an opportunity to reach a child with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Franklin Graham
President, Samaritan’s Purse

If you would rather build one online, check out my page to do so. You will be able to pick out specifics gifts and write a message to the child you’re sending them to!

Thank you for all of your help! Let’s make this the best Christmas yet and impact a child for the kingdom!

💗 Alex in Asheville