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.

TOP SECRET SANTA GIFTS

For those of you who have participated in Secret Santa, White Elephant or Dirty Santa in the past, you know how fun they can be! For those of you who haven’t, below is a little explanation of both games. They are a fun, alternative way to do a gift exchange with family and/or coworkers. My family has done both in years past and loved every minute of it.

Dirty Santa

Dirty Santa is a family-friendly gift exchange game that has been a staple of holiday traditions for many years. The phrase was coined in the Southern states and is called “dirty” because the game involves “stealing” more desirable gifts while scheming to avoid the gag gifts that nobody wants. Rules vary depending on who you are playing with, but the general gist is the same. Each person begins with drawing a number. From there, the person with number one starts by opening a gift. The second person can either steal that gift or open one from the pile. My family has always allowed the #1 player to be the last one the to swap and/or steal after the last person has gone.

Secret Santa

Secret Santa is a game often used for office staffs or as a game for bigger families. Depending on your budget, I have listed gift ideas below that around $20! Good luck shopping and remember to have fun with it. Be intentional with your gifts, but remember not to break the bank.

☆ Wine Tumbler

For those wine connoisseurs in your life, a tumbler paired with a bottle of wine will a sight after gift. Personally, I would go down fighting for this gift if this was in the running for Dirty Santa. You can’t go wrong with a red or white wine, or you could go more bold with a rose. You could also fill the tumbler with some chocolates and you’ve just put out the best gift in the game. Preppy Pineapple Shop has customizable tumblers that are durable and also come with a straw.

☆ Blue Light Glasses

Know anybody that is consistanly on their computer or phone for business? Our constant connection to our smartphones, tablets, and laptops may contribute to headaches, sore eyes, and stiff necks — all symptoms of digital eyestrain. With the majority of our waking hours spent in front of a screen, paired with harmful blue-violet light from devices, it’s no surprise that our eyes are working harder than ever. Blue light glasses are helpful in that they help with protecting your eyes against those harmful lasting effects. Glasses have also made a comeback in the fashion world, so here is your answer. Urban Vogue Shop offers an oversized clear pair of blue light glasses that are unisex in my book.

☆ Fleece Blanket

Now is the time of year to cuddle up with a fleece blanket and a book by the fire. Fleece blankets are an inexpensive, yet practical gift for those homebodies in your life. Target, Kohl’s, and Walmart all have a great selection of fleece that are inexpensive, yet durable. Depending on the price of the blanket, you could also throw in a $5 or $10 gift card of choice to pair with the fleece.

☆ Soap/Body Care Package

Who doesn’t need body care products? Nourish is a soap company based out of Savannah, GA, but has a location in Greenville, SC and Hilton Head, SC that offers a wide array of soaps and handmade cosmetic products. Lush is another body care company that offers bath bombs, shampoo, and body gels that are amazing. Like I said before, check out other shops in your area or check online to see what else you can find.

☆ Whistling Tea Kettle

A tea kettle is great idea in that it suitable for many different uses. You can make tea, coffee, hot chocolate or boil water for your soup with a tea kettle. They have stood the test of time and can also be left out on your stovetop as a decoration. Think about throwing in a set of tea bags or hot chocolate to make it a complete set. World Market makes nicely made, but more budget friendly tea kettles.

☆ Coffee Mug & Grounds

Who doesn’t love coffee and mugs? I have a slight obsession to both – just ask my husband. My kitchen cabinet is spilling over with a lifetime supply of both. Most of us adults rely heavily on coffee to get through the day and would greatly appreciate this gift. Stop by any local coffee shop and check out their selection of coffee for sale. In terms of coffee mugs, Apparent Project sells my favorite mugs of all time. I found AP in Port-au-Prince, Haiti when I visited a few summers ago and stocked up on Christmas gifts for the entire family.

☆ Airpods Case

If you’re doing a more of Secret Santa type game and know who you’re buying for has a set of Airpods, a carrying case would be a great gift. As someone who just splurged on a pair for myself, I have been eyeing a few cases, but haven’t bought the bullet. This is definitely the cheaper alternative and would be greatly appreciated by all Airpod wearers. Check out April and Kiwi and Topgogo who both offer real cool, diverse options.

☆ Keychain

Since we have keys to just about everything of importance in our lives nowadays, a nicer keychain would be a great option for either game. This gift is very practical and could last many, many years. LoomChoi has over twenty different colored macrame keychains available and Unus Leather highlights more of the rustic, leather look.

☆ Candles & Lotion

We all know how delightful a good smelling house can be. Head to Bath & Body Works or find a local artist to pick out a few of the holiday scents. Now is the time that they are in full swing with Christmas scents, so there are hundreds of options to choose from in terms of login and candles. If you’re feeling really bold, you could make your own candle as well. If not, Sweet Water Decor and Zen Body Creations both have some of the best smelling candles and are some of the coolest I’ve seen. This gift will always be a big hit among family or coworkers.


Be mindful in your shopping this Christmas season, folks. We all know how hard 2020 has been mentally, financially and physically on everybody. As shopping for the holiday only gets ramped up, be cognizant of the many talented artists and creators around you. There are so many deserving “small” shops who often get overshadowed by the Fortune 500 companies, but deserve so much credit. As you do your shopping this year, check out Etsy, Facebook Marketplace or other small businesses in your area first. They pour hours of their time and talent into one-of-a-kind products. That is a win-win situation for me, folks.

Be the change you wish to see.