Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tradition .... TRADITION!

I think I mentioned earlier that I am trying to find some new family traditions that Matt and I can share together. I love my family's traditions, and I love being a part of Matt's family traditions, but I think it'll be fun to have our own. Being newly married puts a big old magnifying glass on everything I thought was normal. Turns out, some things are normal for me, but not for Matt. The things I did growing up are not the same for Matt. Talking to people about their holiday family traditions has either proven that 1) my family is weird or 2) my family is awesome. I am wholeheartedly choosing #2. 

Here are some awesome Rowland family traditions that I am excited for this Christmas:

1) Watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. This is the only movie that I have seen more than 7 times. (Other movies that come close are Titanic, My Little Pony, and Sex + the City).  My father loves it. He quotes it all year long. It's a given that this will be on in the background at some point during Christmas vacation..........Do you see what I did there?

2) Chinese food on Christmas Eve. I think this tradition might have started because my mom was getting too stressed out about cooking a perfect meal on Christmas Eve, so my dad took away the stress by ordering Chinese food one year. I love that he gave her the perfect reason to relax and enjoy the family instead of slaving in the kitchen. We have done this for a few years now, and I look forward to it. It's a nice treat for us and for my mom...(BTW, she cooks amazing meals all the time and we love them). 

3) Mom's Annual Bathroom Reader Giveaway. That's right. I don't know how this started, but my mother buys literally every single person in our family a new version of Uncle John's Bathroom Reader every year. I always pretend to be grossed out, but those books are actually really interesting. I just keep them outside of my bathroom...

4) New Year's Empanadas. Growing up LDS outside of Utah means no LDS friends (except for my trusty sidekick, Jeannette). I obviously wasn't allowed (or invited, let's get real, I was a total nerd) to go to parties, so New Year's Eve was always a family night. We started cooking Empanadas every 31st while we watched the countdown. Now that I'm away from home, my new tradition is to spend New Year's with the very same sidekick Jeannette, no matter where we live. 

My favorite New Year's was the year before Matt left on his mission. We went to a party in SLC, but it was lame, so we went and watched Benjamin Button. That movie was so long that we had to run to get back to the party to see the fireworks go off at midnight. We were running through the deserted streets of Salt Lake and missed the fireworks because the buildings were so tall, but they reflected off of the buildings across the street. We stopped running and just stared...and then I got an asthma attack.

5) Three Christmases. My extended family is very small. And we all live within an hour radius of each other. We see each other all the time. Thanksgiving is always at my house, and Christmas is always split up between my mom and dad's sides. Christmas Eve: immediate family. Christmas afternoon: Mom's side. Christmas night: Dad's side. I had never even heard of a family reunion until I moved to Utah. We never needed them. 

6) The wrapping party in the laundry room. My mom usually stays up wrapping Christmas gifts late into the night. My sister and I loved helping her wrap presents growing up. I love giving gifts, and I love giving pretty gifts even more. I would try to make every gift look different somehow. We have a whole closet in the laundry room dedicated to wrapping supplies. Boxes of gift tags. Bows upon bows. 10 different kinds of wrapping paper. Bag and bags and bags galore. Wrapping the gifts for me was almost better than Christmas itself! I loved staying up late with them and talking or listening to Christmas music. When we had dogs they would come in and walk all over the presents, but we loved them so much we didn't care anyway. Good times.

7) Stake Christmas Choir. I don't do this anymore because I can't be at rehearsals beforehand, but in HS, I was always in the Stake Christmas Choir every year. We always sang at a special Christmas fireside a few Sundays before Christmas. I love singing, and I love Christmas music. It was so fun to be a part of a singing group that sounded pretty dece. Nothing brings the spirit of Christmas to my heart faster than singing Christmas music.

8) James Taylor Acoustic Christmas. Once my dad figured out how iTunes worked, I'm pretty sure James Taylor Christmas was the first album he bought. And then he played it loud enough for the whole house to hear. I would be in the bathroom and hear that guitar start up and I knew exactly what was going down. "James Taylor is such a good musician, but man, is he messed up." Who cares...his voice is like butta.

9) Late-night Mexican food runs. Somehow my brother found the most ghetto authentic Mexican food in Fullerton and craves it annually, at 2am. It's the kind of place where all the cooks expect you to order in Spanish. Since we both inherited the night-owl gene, we'd be the only two up and he'd ask me to go on a Tacqueria de Anda run with him. Of course I thought it was super cool when I was in high school to hang out with my cool adult brother, so I usually went along. One time he tricked me into eating a brain taco. I think that was the end of the late-night runs for me for a few years. I hope we go again this year.

- Buying a new ornament every year when we go on vacation. 
- Decorating the tree together for FHE
- Small gift at Christmas. Use the saved money to go on a nice summer vacation.
- It's not Christmas yet, so I still have time to think of some more + execute them.

What's your favorite Christmas tradition? 

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moe talks A LOT said...

How did I not know that you were a big gift wrapper? I always end up being the wrapper at our house too and I try to make them each a work of art - I think I have more pictures of my wrapped presents than of Christmas morning most years!
Also - now that you're married do you think you'll get the bathroom readers again? Haha!
Love this post


Kellies said...

Oh yeah I love Christmas wrapping. It's too fun!

Leah Lott said...

Love this post! My favorite TRADITION (it's hard writing that word without using all caps and singing it in my head) is Mexican food on Christmas day at my aunt Laura's. :)

Kellies said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who eats untraditional Christmas foo

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