Christmas Traditions

My family takes Christmas very seriously. The tree goes up the day after Thanksgiving, the Christmas card is carefully picked out, and even though my brothers and I are all technically adults, we still wake up at 6:30 AM on Christmas morning to peek in our stockings.

And because my family is so into Christmas, we have many traditions that help us to make the most of our favorite season. Here are a few of my favorites:

The best tree in the neighborhood, in my opinion.

Putting Up the Tree // We always, always, always get a real tree. It's kind of a point of pride in our family. It may make a mess and take some extra care, but there's nothing like the smell of pine as you walk down the stairs in the morning. Our tree is always chock-full of unique ornaments. There's hardly any room for the number we've obtained over the years. That's because every year my mom works really hard to buy us individual ornaments that reflect something about our lives that past year. For example, this year I got an official University of Edinburgh ornament (for obvious reasons). Some of my other favorite ornaments include my ballet slippers from when I did ballet at age four, my Samantha Parkington figure from when I was really into American Girl Dolls, and my "Leda and the Swan" swan ornament.

Somehow, I didn't see this one coming.

My parents bought this thistle ornament when they dropped me off. Note how it's the same flower as in my blog-header.  

Christmas Cookie Decorating // This used to be a time when my brothers and I would fight over who got what cookie cutter, or who got to use the blue frosting first. But now, we decorate our homemade Christmas-themed cookies in a fairly civilized manner- aside from our competitiveness when it comes to who made the prettiest or most creative cookie. Oh, and it's always a tradition for my Grampy to make the reindeer cookie. It's his true calling.

No doubt I made the prettiest cookies this year.

My dad made a red and green blob. 

The Boston Holiday Pops Concert // While most teenagers wouldn't go to an Orchestral concert if somebody paid them, I can assure you that this performance is pure, unadulterated fun. There are some classic holiday tunes such as "Sleigh Ride" and "White Christmas," but also some fresher takes on older pieces, like the Pop's hilarious version of "12 Days of Christmas." Every year, my family gets orchestra seats so we can enjoy some drinks while we watch the show. And for the past two years, my mom has booked our table as close to the stage as possible. I could practically touch Keith Lockhart. And it was magical.

Symphony Hall decked out for the holidays.

Keith Lockhart: Boston royalty/middle-aged heartthrob 

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