Since the holidays are close, I thought it would be fun to share some of our holiday family traditions with you all. Some we’ve been doing for years (even before having kids), and some are fairly new traditions that we’ve added.
With Halloween being next month, the first thing I love to do is decorate for Halloween at the beginning of the month. We love decorating inside and outside of the house, even though we are never home on Halloween.
Within the first 2 weeks of October, we ALWAYS visit Gilcrease Orchard. We’ve been coming here for about 6 years now, and it’s something we all look forward too, especially since we come here once a year for their pumpkin patch. At the end of September their pumpkin patch and all the other little festivities that they have there, opens. Here is were we buy our pumpkins. Although it is more expensive buying the pumpkins here than it is at the grocery store, it’s all about the experience that the kids get to do. They search through all the fields and try to find their PERFECT pumpkin… that in itself beats the price!! After picking our pumpkins, we always look through their other produce that is harvested.
Another thing that we love to do there is pick green apples from the trees! I’m going to be honest, we almost NEVER eat them because they are just way too sour, but again the experience our kids get with finding and picking the apples from the tree is definitely worth it in my opinion.
They also have a hay ride you can go on, which takes you around the whole orchard and finally they have a maze and chicken coop that the girls really love visiting.
Ok, now I save the BEST for last about this orchard… and that’s their FRESH apple cider and their amazing APPLE CIDER DONUTS!!!! Yes, I said that right… they are so DELICIOUS! *drooling right now* This place is seriously amazing, and we absolutely love coming here every year!!
Another thing that we love to do is bake!! I feel like October is the start of my baking season! When I bake for the season, these are goods that I only bake once a year and for these holidays. I feel like it’s more special doing it this way, because it’s something that we all REALLY look forward too, especially my oldest. She loves when I bake pumpkin pie (which I actually make in November for Thanksgiving) and always request 1 pie for herself and herself only.
Some of the items that I bake every October are pumpkin bread and pumpkin crunch… UGH sooo good! I will have recipes soon on those! I do like to try and incorporate new desserts, so we shall see what new dessert I’ll be making along with with the other 2 that I always make.
Although we take the girls to the orchard already to pick out their pumpkins, we also love taking the girls to an actual pumpkin patch. They love the little carnival rides there and like to play the little games. So, what does that leave the adults to do…. eat funnel cake and drink hot coco!
Ok, now we all can’t go on without watching some Halloween movies… and no I’m not talking about scary movies (I hate scary movies), I’m talking about HOCUS POCUS! My all time favorite Halloween movie, and I think everyone can agree with me on this one, right?!?!? This movie is on serious repeat in my house! Another movie that we love to watch are The Nightmare Before Christmas, Halloween Town, and Casper. Can you tell I’m a mom?
Last but not least… Halloween. We love taking the girls around the community with all of their cousins and have them go trick-o-treating. Always remember to check your kiddos candy before you let them dig into it.
As I do for Halloween, at the beginning of the month my decorations change back to a Fall look and adding some Thanksgiving touches to it.
When it comes to this month it’s really all about BAKING in my house! My famous sweet potato pie and pumpkin pie are an ABSOLUTE MUST!!! I have to make multiple pies for the family. And, just like October, I also like to incorporate new desserts for the family to try out.
Last year we started a new tradition and that was feeding the homeless that week of Thanksgiving. The whole family came and we served food to those who needed it. We had the kids help out a lot with passing utensils and water bottles. It was definitely a good experience, and we hope to continue it every year.
As far as celebrating Thanksgiving, we have always celebrated Thanksgiving at my house until these past couple of years. Before my parent never had the holiday off, so we would always celebrate that Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Well.. now they have the holiday off, so we celebrate it at their house now.
Since I do miss the holiday being celebrated at my house, I do switch things up and do a Thanksgiving meal the day after or when my husband is off work. I think it’s very important to not only celebrate holidays with all of your family, but for my kids to see that we have our own traditions and celebrations at home as well. I of course don’t do a full blown meal that can feed a family of 20, but I do, do a couple of dishes for us to enjoy.
Now because Christmas is my favorite holiday and I love everything about the decorations.. my Christmas tree goes up right after Thanksgiving and so does the Christmas music!! Ok… well maybe I start the music prior to Thanksgiving. *don’t judge*
Have you ever heard of Elf on the Shelf? I’ve been doing this for about 5 years now and the girls seriously love when ‘Twinkle’ arrives to the Mosley household. I usually have him arrive right after Thanksgiving, but before Twinkle arrives I make a plan of fun things for the elf to do around the house and if they are good I will get them little treats. The ‘elf’ will watch their behavior and “reports” to Santa every night. I have so much fun doing this and recommend it to all mamas/daddy’s out there! Trust me, the kids will love it!
Ahhh… so many festivities that happen this month!!!
Within the first 2 weeks of December we take the girls to the Santa Train in Boulder City, NV (which is right outside of Henderson). We’ve been coming here ever since my oldest was a baby, and it’s something they always look forward in doing. We take a 45 minute train ride and that is where they see Santa, his Elves, and Mrs. Clause. We also enjoy having some hot coco and cookies on the train ride. After the ride, they have many other trains you can go that are FREE. Their favorite train to ride is the small little steamer trains.
Another thing that we love to do is go to Ethel M’s Botanical Cactus Garden. Coming here is absolutly FREE, which is always get (unless you want to buy something). You are able to do a little tour of the chocolate factory and at the end of the tour get a piece of chocolate. They also have some yummy treats at their chocolate shop.
When walking through their cactus garden, this is where all the Christmas lights are set up through out the garden along with blow up characters. It’s so pretty seeing all the cactuses light up. They also have a little ice skating rink here. Santa and carolers are also a nice addition to the garden.
Our kids favorite thing to do before Christmas is visit Magical Forest- Opportunity Village. There is honestly so much to do here and they just love it! Rides, train ride, slides, mini golf, pictures with Santa, entertainment, and the lighted forest. My favorite part, hot coco and their funnel cake!!!
One of my favorite thing to do is what I call city lights. This is something that my parents all did for me and it’s something that my husband and I have been doing with our kids. We first stop at the corner store and get some delicious hot coco, and then we venture off throughout the city and look at people’s homes that are filled with Christmas lights. Of course we play Christmas music the whole time while we are out!
A couple days before Christmas is when I start baking. Since we spend Christmas Eve at my parents house, I make a a lot of different dessert…anywhere from fudges, cookies, pies, cakes, bread pudding, etc.
When it comes to celebrating with ALL of the family we celebrate it on Christmas Eve or technically early Christmas morning. We usually have dinner around 8-9pm and then attend midnight mass. After mass is when we go back to my parents house and that’s when everyone opens presents. It ends up being a very long day, but we’ve been doing this ever since I was a kid.
As far as Christmas morning when we finally wake up, we all go downstairs and open presents, and afterwards I always make a BIG Christmas breakfast.
Something that is always a MUST when making Christmas breakfast is my famous monkey bread. Something new that we’ve been doing is spending Christmas day at home with just us 4.
Something new that I started doing last year was making a hot chocolate bar for us and watching our favorite Christmas movie as a family.
Another thing that I wanted to start doing was making an Italian dinner on Christmas night. Something different than the typical Christmas meal that my mom makes or what’s really eaten on Christmas. I’ve been having this idea for some time now, and I think this year is when I want to start doing it.
Before the year ends we always celebrate New Years Eve at my aunt’s house. She always makes a big meal which we all get to enjoy. Normally my husband works on NYE and most of my family as well, so it’s normally just my aunt, the kids, and me. Of course we all stay up until midnight and we all watch the firework show.
Well that’s all folks. I hope you enjoyed all our little holiday traditions, and hope it gives you and idea or two on what you can incorporate into your family. I would love to hear your family traditions. Let me know down in the comments below. XOXO