Family Traditions, Holiday Cheer, and Honey Bunches of Oats®

It's here. The holiday season. I know what you're thinking... No! Really? Already? You're joking. The time that passed so slowly when we were children--worse than trying to run in quick sand while carrying an entire marching band on your shoulders---is little more than a blink of an eye to a parent. I'm right there with you! But I have to admit it, even though it's terribly cliche to do so. It really is the most wonderful time of the year. My husband, who works tirelessly all year long to provide for our family, has more time off in the last two months of the year than it seems like he receives in the rest of the year combined. Like everyone else, we slow down. We breathe. We laugh and play with our children, and the kids soak up every second of it.

Funny story. Last year, we picked up some cups of hot cocoa and went to a Boy Scouts tree lot to pick out a Christmas tree as a family. After moseying down each aisle, we all eventually agreed on a very lovely Noble Fir that wasn't too tall or too short, not to sparse (Charlie Brown Christmas Tree, anyone?) nor too busy. It really was just right. Now all that was left... was to take it home! Mind you, this tree lot was all of three blocks from our house. I reasoned to my husband that we should walk back to our house and he should drive his work truck back over to pick up the tree. Simple, right? My husband must have had pixie dust sprinkled on him without my knowing it---that, or the sugar from the hot chocolate went to his head. But he was struck with the urge to carry our Christmas tree home. I couldn't talk him out of it. So carry it, he did. It took him half a block to realize it was heavier than he imagined it would be and to start regretting it. But he managed it! The tree came home with us, carried home in a true labor of love... and it was a perfect fit in our living room.

It's the memories like that that make the holiday season---and the ensuing holiday spirit---so much fun! Our Christmas traditions are still changing and evolving, as we like to try different things. But it's been a fun experience to blend together traditions from my husband's family and from my own upbringing into a hybrid form for our own children. We open presents on Christmas Eve (his) and eat our Christmas dinner at mid-day and enjoy it for dinner as well (mine). For Thanksgiving, we have pie for dessert, but for Christmas we skip the pie in favor of a divine Yule Log cake. At the end of the day, it's not even about the presents. It's about the things that we can't buy. The memories, the time, and the love.

What does the holiday season mean in your family? Traditional or radically different, we'd love to hear about what brings your family together this time of year and what this time of year means to you!

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