The holiday season typically comes with a barrage of overly sentimental traditions. This totally happens on the farm, too. While Aaron and I are relatively minimalist in most ways, these traditions are where we, too, cave to some abundance and enjoy creating special memories together.
A Real Christmas Tree
During our very first holiday together, I created a Christmas tree on the wall of our apartment living room with a $3 pack of construction paper and some leftover wrapping paper. While Aaron told stories of real trees and how “next year, we will” – we were both pretty happy that we started from there. It continues to make us grateful for all that has come since.
This year brought us our third trip to Fulk Farms to cut our real Christmas tree. This year, instead of hauling it between us inside of my Jeep, we put it in the back of Aaron’s truck. Way more convenient. Way less hilarious.
The tree comes with a handful of its own traditions. The first being chopping it. Second, the ornaments. We add to it each year with shapes that tell our story. We decorate it together. And, when it’s done, we smother it in tinsel in honor of my Grandma Louise whose tree was always a sparkly dream of chaos (I will forever be trying to recreate it). Isai learned the ropes this year and did an unreal job of tinsel tossing for a 1-year-old. He’s definitely advanced in his Christmas-ing skills.
Each year, I commit to baking something. Each year, I panic-buy too many ingredients and then let the exhaustion and anxiety of the holidays make me question why on Earth I do this. To which, Aaron responds “because it’s fun.”
You know, it is. I do love making something delicious and – major bonus points – the holidays are a great time to make sure it goes to someone else’s house instead of hanging around in our kitchen.
In 2020, I made cheesecake. Fresh out of the oven, it was flawless. But, add a crying baby and a tired mama to the mix and my stunning dessert didn’t survive the dismount from the pan. In the end, my 2020 cheesecake looked exactly the way you would expect a 2020 cheesecake to look. It did, though, taste pretty freaking incredible – so at least there’s that.
See Some Family
COVID-19 definitely has our holiday looking different. Most years, we would spend several days visiting our 5 different Christmases. This year, we’ll see significantly fewer people in person. Our close family (the ones we see everyday for daycare and such) will have a little dinner or two.
Our extended family (the crazy, big, loud cousins) will be connecting through Christmas cards, Facebook messages and a video call or two. The togetherness apart is key – but we’re still going to make a little effort to share the season together.
Send Christmas Cards
I love the USPS. Not even kidding a little. Snail mail is my actual love language.
Sending and receiving handwritten messages is a truly lost art. With a Christmas card list that has grown to surpass 200 amazing friends, family and coworkers – I’ve given up on the handwritten part (I’m sorry!). I still write all the envelopes, though.
Our annual card is a bit of a time capsule. With one big photo, we get a snap of our family. Then, tons of tiny photos on the back show our trips, adventures and selfies from all kinds of random things we experienced. I’m always in awe of how much we change over the course of about 12-20 photos.
Some Kind of Santa
Apparently, toddler-hood means we’re creeping in on the real deal Santa life. Obviously, seeing Santa in a pandemic wasn’t going to happen. So, Isai sent our local Santa a letter – dropping it in a “mailbox” to the North Pole while my aunt and one of her friends hosted a Santa Claus drive-by wave-a-thon.
A week or so ago, Isai got a letter in return letting him know of all of Santa’s plans for the holiday. Our dude was proud to wave his letter around while inspecting the colorful official Santa letterhead. His joy for some of his very first postal mail more than grabbed my heart, so I can imagine we’ll probably keep doing this. We’re so lucky for some of the amazing little things like this that come with living in a small community.