Brigid Downey

December 20, 2018

My Christmas Traditions | Blogmas 2018 Day 20

5 DAYS TILL CHRISTMAS! (and also only 5 days left of Blogmas and I’m sad ?).

So, I’ve talked about some Christmas traditions I’ve learned about this year and briefly about things that are important to me at the holidays, but I think it’s time to tell you all about my Christmas traditions from my childhood. 


When I was a kid my mom lived in an apartment and we only really put up the Christmas tree. But when we did, my sister and I would get hot cocoa and my mom would put on one of our favorite Christmas movies and we’d decorate it. Big ornaments went on the bottom and small at the top was the only rule. We always did the topper last and had a ton of Disney ornaments! We also had a train replica of the Hogwarts Express that went around the tree which was one of my favorite things!

My dad lived with my grandma down the street from the time I was ten and I was always in charge of decorations over there. I would come home from school and decorate the whole house in rows and rows of lights and blow up characters! She had all sorts of handmade things we put up and we had a talking advent calendar that my sister and I would switch off placing the pieces in. My grandma always got a real tree and we had lots of loose tinsel that would be stuck in our hair for days afterward!

Letters for Santa

I think I wrote more letters to Santa as an older kid because I made a point to do them with my sister and sometimes with my younger cousins. However, for as long as I can remember we put out handmade cards with our milk and cookies every year because I thought Santa needed a Christmas card, too. In fact, I remember doing a lot of handmade cards as a kid for literally anyone I could think of, teachers, family, friends, the neighbor! I was always a kid who really appreciated the giving aspect of the season.

Gifts for Mom

One tradition I want to carry to Josie and my kids was one that my mom’s roommate implemented when I was around ten. She would take my sister and me to the mall and give us each a set dollar amount (usually around $50) and all three of us would go and find gifts for my mom. Then we would go home and tell mom not to look while we scurried into the bedroom to wrap them all! I think it’s a really sweet way to teach kids the importance of giving and not just receiving during the holidays because I will never forget some of the faces my mom would make when she opened her gifts! 

Lights! and Outings With Dad

When we were really little right up til last year before I moved out to Wisconsin my dad would take me and my sister out to see Christmas lights. We would either go to The Stone Zoo or Edaville Railroad (we took a vote) and go through their displays. Then we would drive through the super festive neighborhoods in the area to look at other peoples lights. After that we would go to Dunkin’ Donuts for hot cocoa and donuts before heading home! Some of my best Christmas memories are freezing my butt off looking at lights. I’m so glad I got to keep this tradition this year because Josie and I went to the Henry Villas Zoo Lights here in Madison! 


On Christmas Eve or sometimes on Yule my mom would give us Christmas PJs to wear on Christmas Eve. She still does it to this day and Cara and I always match on Christmas morning! 

The Night Before

The night before Christmas was never anything super special in my house. My sister and I would put on our new PJs and put out cookies and milk for Santa with our cards. We put out our stockings on Christmas Eve because we didn’t have a fireplace or a mantle we would put them net to the cookies on the table. We read Twas’ the Night Before Christmas and then would go to bed.

Christmas Morning

Christmas morning at my house was the big event. We had to wait for everyone to be up before we could even snoop at the tree. Stockings were first and then one by one we opened gifts and showed off what you got. Mom would have her coffee and sometimes my sister and I would make hot chocolate. Sometimes we put funny Santa hats on too. One thing my mom’s started doing since I was in high school is getting me a Things Remembered snow globe every year. Every year they make me cry.

Grammy’s House

After Christmas morning we go to my dad and grandma’s house and open presents there. We also have Christmas dinner which is buffet style laid out in the dining room. You eat when you feel like it and usually several times throughout the day. In the living room there’s usually football on and wine being poured along with my aunt’s family recipe for spiked eggnog. (It’s not my favorite thing, but everyone else loves it.)


The food was always the biggest consistent tradition in our family. My grandmother is very Italian and a lot of family recipes are made at Christmas. Out family recipe for spaghetti sauce with meatballs and Italian sausage is one of my favorites that she makes. But my most favorite is her lobster bisque! YUM! She also makes more than seven kinds of cookies, stuffed mushrooms, and sometimes the Christmas blueberry pie with lady fingers. It’s sooo good! 

I’m going to have some new traditions this year because instead of being in frigid Massachusetts I’ll be spending the holidays with my girlfriends family in Florida for the first time! Can’t wait to learn her traditions and spend Christmas at the beach! 

What are some of your favorite traditions from your childhood or even from now? Let me know in the comments!

6 Comments on “My Christmas Traditions | Blogmas 2018 Day 20

Jess @ Combing Through the Pages
December 20, 2018 at 4:23 pm

We just started doing the matching pajamas with our kids. (Well, by “just” I mean last year and we got some this year as well). But not only do the kids get matching PJs, but my husband and I do as well. So Christmas morning, we all match!

December 20, 2018 at 4:38 pm

That’s so cute! I love that!

Lili Star Reads
December 21, 2018 at 2:28 am

I live for new pj’s on Christmas Eve! I’m watching the Grinch with all my bf family this Christmas Eve!

December 21, 2018 at 7:40 am

That sounds amazing!

December 23, 2018 at 2:43 pm

That’s a lot of traditions!
…a replica of Hogwarts Express?! Oh my… is it weird that as a 26-year-old I would LOVE to own one?

December 23, 2018 at 2:44 pm

As a 23 year old I want one in my own home lol!


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