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Timeless Traditions

Posted: Monday, Dec. 09, 2013

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Photo by Lora Denton Photography.

Originally from England, Sarah Ryberg has lived in Charlotte for the last 12 years and is a graduate of UNC Charlotte. After two whirlwind weddings - one in Charlotte and another in her homeland - Sarah is settling into married life and learning what it takes to be a Mrs. You can reach Sarah at sarahmryberg@yahoo.com

I love, love, LOVE this time of year. The way the Christmas tree gives your home a warm glow, the lights all around the neighborhood, the cups of hot chocolate, and the feel good Christmas movies all make this season so inviting. I try to soak up every holiday experience when this season arrives and we've picked up a few traditions along the way. In fact, we're even making new ones this year.

With Christmas just weeks away, I'm sharing some of my favorite family traditions (some from our home and some I'd love to start). Whether you're newly married, or you've been married for years, these little traditions can help you make the most of this wonderful season.

Collect ornaments
I have to credit my cousin-in-laws for this idea. They've been collecting ornaments from their travels for years, and when we got married, they passed on the suggestion to us. I haven't been as diligent about this as I would have liked, but I've been collecting a few this year (including ones from Australia and Florida). It's a great way to look back on your adventures together and dream up new ones for the upcoming year.

Christmas Eve movie marathon
What better way to enjoy the anticipation of Christmas than with a movie marathon the night before? This is particularly perfect for any family with children, but works for just you and your spouse too. Grab the hot chocolates, your favorite Christmas movies, and snuggle up for a cozy night in.

Give back
I give where I can throughout the year, but this Christmas we have our first opportunity to donate to Operation Christmas Child,http://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/ . I can't wait to go shopping with hubby for all the toys and gifts we'll be including in our box. I'm hoping as our lives progress, we'll be able to do more and more each year.

View the lights
Make some hot chocolate, turn on the heated seats, find the Christmas stations and go for a leisurely drive around your local neighborhoods. I'm sure we all do this one, but if you haven't indulged in this tradition, definitely don't wait until next year to start!

Get in the game
After you've opened presents and eaten way too much (I know I do), sit down and play a board game. It's a really fun way to end Christmas day and leaves you with so many wonderful memories.

Holiday treats
This year I made Alice snickerdoodle treats, which you can find the recipe for here,http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/12/02/4513685/baked-with-love.html . My mum and I have always made holiday cookies together and I loved including Alice in this year's tradition. I will definitely be spoiling her with holiday recipes going forward.

Think positive!
If you're an avid Pinterest user, you'll remember how popular the positivity jar was the end of last year. So hubby and I decided to give it a try for 2013. Basically, you put every good thing that happens on a piece of paper and store it in a jar. On New Year's Eve, you open the jar and remember how many wonderful events happened during the past year. It's a great way to focus on the good of every year and makes for a great New Year's Eve tradition. You could even keep each slip of paper in a journal to look back on years later.

Ornament exchange
Every year, get together for an ornament exchange with the women in your family. It's the perfect opportunity to bring your family and your in-laws together.

Holiday on Ice
If you're local to the Charlotte area (I know there are some international readers here), be sure to check out Holiday on Icehttp://www.wbt.com/holidayonice/ in Uptown Charlotte. There's also a smaller ice rink in the Arboretum,http://www.shoparboretum.com/wp-content/uploads/AJV.12.HolDMback.jpg , which offers horse-drawn Surrey rides. Each rink returns yearly and makes for a wonderful holiday date with your spouse.

A cozy Christmas
Other than when we dress up for dinner, my family and I celebrate the entire day in pjs. I love buying new pjs for the occasion and it makes the whole day feel even cozier. If you're like us, why not take a family picture in your adorable Christmas pjs? It may never make it to your social media pages or next year's Christmas card, but it's a great way to relive each year together (and your evolving pj style).

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