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!
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
- 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.