Loving 2011: Day Eleven

I’m participating in Lori-Lyn’s Loving 2011, a personal retrospective of the year.

What Holiday Traditions Are You Creating This Year?

I *love* the holidays, and since we’re really not religious, it’s the traditions that make it magic in our family.  Here’s the low-down on the old traditions we love to look forward to and the sparkly NEW traditions we created this year!

The Classics: Movies, Food and Tree

Movies and Cartoons!  We are a media loving family, and we have SEVERAL movies that we try to watch each holiday season.

*Emmett Otter’s Jug Band Christmas – This was my grandfather’s favorite, so it’s kind of bittersweet for me now.  But I love watching it and singing along.

*March of the Wooden Soldiers  (1934)– The Laurel and Hardy version, people!  This one is soooo hilarious and campy and wonderful.  I’m fairly certain that my husband thinks my mother and I are insane about this, but trust me – you should watch it.

*Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol – Razzleberry Dressing.  That’s all I’m saying.

*Mickey’s Christmas Carol – my FAVORITE of all time.  It’s only a half hour, so really easy for kids to enjoy, too.  The best intro/outro music, so pretty!  It was on ABC Family once already this year, so check your listings.

*Holiday Inn – this is my husband’s addition to the mix.  While I’m not totally sold, it is pretty awesome because it has Bing Crosby singing White Christmas.

Food!  Also HUGE food fans around here.  There are always lots of snackies around during the holidays at our house.  Some of our favorites include classic Chex mix, Spritz cookies (shot out of the cookie gun!), spiced walnuts, and these crazily delicious enhanced oyster crackers that my grandmama makes (I think the ingredients are butter, oyster crackers and ranch dressing mix…OMG).

Then of course, there’s Christmas dinner, where we always have to have CRAPPLE (cran-apple cobbler-y type thing that is SO GOOD), my grandmama’s cornbread stuffing (she calls it dressing; potato, potahto), mashed potatoes, and then some kind of main course – this is the only thing that is variable.  And there’s usually a couple of pies, including Buttermilk pie (although ours uses lemon extract) and chocolate pie.  I can’t WAIT!

In the past my mom’s usually had a lot of these things made in advance.  This year, I asked her to hold off until we arrive to make the cookies – because I know a certain someone who would LOVE to play with the cookie gun!  And Silas and August would probably like it, too. ;)

Tree!  I *love* decorating a Christmas tree.  When I was growing up, my dad would do all the boring stuff, like the lights and the garland, and then skedaddled as my mom and I took over with our very loud sing-a-long to Very Dramatic Christmas Carols.  We fancied ourselves opera-like-divas while we unwrapped our ornaments from the tissue paper, with some cheerful ribbing thrown in (i.e., “Oooh, look which one I found!” sang in the nah-nah-nah-nah-naaah voice.)  I can’t wait to do it again this year with some little helpers.  And I really hope they sing along…LOUDLY.

The New: Downtown Seattle Holiday Extravaganza!

This was a new one this year, but I hope to continue it in years to come.  A good friend started doing this last year with her daughter, and she was kind enough to invite us and some other friends along this year. Note: We went on a Tuesday morning, and there was virtually no wait for anything.  I’m sure the weekends are a madhouse of misery.  My advice: take the morning off, make some memories.

We started by visiting the Nordstrom’s Santa, where some of us got very nice photos taken (seriously, if the kids ever want to get photos taken with Santa this is THE place to do it.  Very low-key, they keep the waiting people at bay so it’s not crazy-feeling, and the staff were SO nice).  And they give out candy canes!

Next, we headed off to the Sheraton for the Gingerbread Village! Here’s what they say about it: “Each year local architecture firms collaborate with the Sheraton Seattle culinary team to custom design, bake, and build awe-inspiring gingerbread displays.”  And they were AWESOME!  Definitely worth seeing.

Next up was the Fairmount Hotel, where we oohed and ahhed over all the Christmas trees in the lobby, grabbed a snack, and then headed up to the Teddy Bear Suite!  A whole suite that looks like Christmas just exploded all over it – in a totally awesome way.  Teddy Bears everywhere, a giant four-poster bed, holiday books to browse…it was wonderful, and the kids had a blast.

After grabbing some lunch, we headed off to the carousel, which was much-loved by all.

What traditions are you creating this year?

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