At That Time Of Year
Olaf’s Frozen Adventure premiered on ABC Family earlier this month. With my Disney-crazy family, we obviously settled in to watch it that night. With great songs and our favorite Frozen characters, it was hard not to enjoy another addition to our favorite Christmas movies. For those who haven’t seen it (or don’t want to), the movie centers around everyone’s second favorite snowman, Olaf. After learning that Anna and Elsa don’t have a Christmas tradition of their own, he sets off on an adventure to find one of their own. Of the amazing songs in the Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, one of my favorites was That Time Of Year. The song got me thinking about all of my family’s Christmas traditions at that time of year and I’d love to share a few of my favorites with you!
1. Papa’s Pancakes on Christmas Morning.
For as long as I can remember, my papa would make a big breakfast for us on Christmas morning. He’d make eggs and bacon and hash browns, but the best part was always the pancakes. Each person there would get the first letter of their name in pancake form. While pancakes aren’t something I usually enjoy, seeing Papa so happy to hand me a ‘J’ shaped pancake made me happy too. Last year, each of the grandkids got him a special cookie-cutter that represents us for him to make more interesting pancake shapes. Mine was the Batman symbol.
2. Homemade Gifts Under The Tree.
This was a tradition that my mom started three years ago and it’s quickly become one of my favorites. Outside of any Christmas presents that we buy for each other, there has to be one handmade gift under the tree for each member of the family. Mom and Daddy followed that rule too, which resulted in some interesting gifts over the past few years. For our last Christmas together, Daddy did some wood-burning to make each of us a gift. Hannah got a Minion, CJ got a football player, and I got a heart with my boyfriend’s name, as well as our anniversary date.
3. Christmas Cookies.
My favorite part about making Christmas cookies is eating them! ~ CJ Ballard
Now don’t be fooled! There’s a lot more baking that takes place in this house than homemade Christmas cookies. No store-bought ones in this house! We also make homemade fudge and rice-crispy treat Grinches. I love how good the house ends up smelling after a long day of baking too.
4. Opening Presents in Order of Age.
As the oldest of three, this is something I didn’t always appreciate when I was younger. When we lived in the two-story house, we would sit on the stairs while Mom and Daddy got everything set up for us. Then, Daddy would call us down the stairs one by one. Never once did he reverse the order to let me go first. Opening presents went the same way, too. Hannah would like to mention that there was never a way for her to go first, but I say that second is better than third any day.
5. Christmas Lights.
I’ll admit that getting on the roof to put up Christmas lights was easier when I wasn’t the adult in charge of doing it. Last year, I was on the roof for a total of ten minutes and that was enough for me. I seemed to forget that, when I was younger, there wasn’t much to helping Daddy with the lights. I would supervise on the lowest part of the roof under my Mom’s watchful eye. However, moving to Independence does have some benefits. My cousins are always more than willing to help us out with decorating the house.
6. Our Elf on the Shelf.
While some people think we’re a little too old for an Elf on the Shelf, it’s brought a little magic back into Christmas. ~ Hannah Ballard
After Hannah wrote a letter to Santa last year and explained how hard our first Christmas without Daddy was going to be, Santa sent us an Elf on the Shelf named Chuckles to keep us company. Not only did he decorate the Christmas tree with toilet paper and go hang-gliding in our aunt’s living room, there’s never a way to tell what trouble he’s going to cause next. It also makes missing Daddy a bit easier.
7. A New Ornament Every Year.
Another tradition that we’ve had for as long as I can remember is picking out a new ornament every holiday season to hang on our individual trees. Some of the Strawberry Shortcake ornaments that I’ve had forever still have that strawberry scent to them. My sweet little Christmas tree is also covered in Scooby Doo ornaments. The very first ornament that they bought me for Christmas is one of Scooby holding special cookies that he made, shaped like Shaggy and him, and it’s one of my favorites.
8. Decorating Daddy’s Headstone.
I hate to say that this is one of our newest traditions because it’s usually one of the hardest to do. Daddy loved Christmas and everything about it, so the idea of letting his headstone go undecorated was nearly painful. He has a stocking and a Christmas tree all his own, done up with lights and a red star. We also change the flowers in the two urns on his headstone to make it look more Christmasy. Sometimes our little Elf on the Shelf makes a trip out there to see it all done up.
9. Christmas Movies.
In this house, our favorite way to end a long day in December is by watching Christmas movies. Some classic favorites in this house are How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, and Frosty the Snowman. We also watch quite the collection of Hallmark Christmas movies, which is a love that my sister and I share with Mom. For my family, there’s really nothing better on a cold night than some hot chocolate and some good Christmas movies playing on the TV.
10. A Family-Ending Game of Monopoly.
It’s actually funny that we go from celebrating peace on Earth to ending our family with a game of Monopoly. ~ Andrea Ballard
The games were even worse when Daddy was still around because my siblings and I didn’t stand a chance. Usually, it came down to Mom and him battling out for another hour before the game finally concluded. Even though we always lost, the best part of Christmas was spending those hours together.
Happy, merry, Mele Kaliki, holly, jolly, happy, tappy… Olaf’s song about traditions has been stuck in my head for the past few hours, and I don’t see it leaving anytime soon. Still, it’s important to remember all the things that make Christmas my favorite team of year. Does your family have any traditions that Christmas wouldn’t be the same without?