Holiday traditions are something you may take for granted until you have your own child. Since having Athena, we decided we needed to keep some of our favorite family traditions going as well as start a few new ones with her so she can share in the special memories.
The first tradition was visiting the Macy's windows. In Chicago this, is a huge event with huge crowds of people to go along with it. We used to go every year with my dad and my niece and nephew. It was tradition to take my niece's picture with my dad in front of the tree, because he hangs the pictures up in order on his fridge and hasn't missed one in 8 years. We also usually get a special ornament to commemorate something important from the year, like buying our new house or our first year married. The Macy's on State Street in Chicago really does have an unparalleled selection of ornaments.
In Utah, there were half as many windows but still throngs of people, especially children. It felt as if every child in Utah was at the window opening this year when we went, maybe because the window displays are made entirely of candy! It turned out to be a very different experience than our usual Chicago tradition but still fun and worth keeping alive next year. And it will be nice to show her that we have proof in pictures that we took her when she was just a few weeks old.
Athena looking unamused to say the least. (Her snowsuit here)
The next tradition is one that comes from Andrew's side of the family, the cutting down of a Christmas tree. Since I have been with Andrew for 16 years I have participated quite a few times with his family's tree cutting at a Christmas tree farm out in Wisconsin. We usually even cut off rings of the trunk and write our names and years on them to use as ornaments or decoration.
We tried to make this tradition just like Wisconsin, but last year but we quickly realized that Utah is not at all like Wisconsin. Here, the evergreen trees are up in the mountains. You can get a permit and go up onto public land to cut down your own, but between having a newborn, a Prius and Andrew with a broken foot, a Christmas tree lot would have to do. Andrew's dad was in town with us when we went, so that did help make it feel more like the old days in Wisconsin. We even got a trunk ring to write "grandpa, mom, dad and Athena" on!
This next one is not specific to any one place or way of accomplishing it. It's one we are starting this year with Athena. We wanted to be able to tell Athena that she has been doing good deeds for others since she was born, so when Andrew heard that the County Building had three Christmas trees with tags of gifts requested by people in need, we took Athena in to grab a tag for each of us.
Here is Athena grabbing her tag.
And I've got one each for Andrew and I as well.
Athena returns to deliver her gift to the Mayor's office.
When we return to Chicago, we have another tradition we started about six years ago that we will get to do again, this time with Athena! We go see the movie White Christmas at the Music Box Theater in Chicago. It's an old theater that puts on a super cute double feature. People get dressed in Christmas gear and bring their friends and whole family. Last year we didn't make it for the first time in five years because of our move to Salt Lake, but this year we are returning with Athena and will be taking her to the theater along with my dad. We will see how she deals with the whole experience later this week but I'm super excited even if she doesn't make it through the whole movie happily!
So those are our Holiday traditions! What are yours? Any good ones you recommend for a baby's first Christmas?