I think one of the hardest things Paul and I have had to navigate in marriage is the holidays.
Now, because I know my own parents and my in-laws read my blog, let me clarify what that statement entails. 😉
(I promise it’s because we both LOVE YOU ALL AND WHERE WE COME FROM!)
We LOVE the holiday season and spending it with our families. The hard part has been meshing traditions from two completely separate families that we cherish so deeply without killing ourselves in the process. If we tried to please everyone, follow every tradition we love, and do EVERYTHING exactly as it was before we got married… we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the Christmas season as much. It would feel more like a long checklist of “must do” instead of “want to”. Mixing the old with the new, all while creating our own traditions together has proven to be a hard task! I can’t expect Paul to want to do Christmas EXACTLY how I did it growing up, nor can he expect the same of me. And, despite the wish deep, deep down in my heart to run out of my bedroom with my siblings while Mom and Dad video tape us with the Camcorder every year still… I know that I can’t and won’t do that really ever again. (Paul probably says “Thank God” to that.) The holidays as a married couple means picking with my husband what we want to do for our own family traditions, keeping our time together at Christmas sacred, and even though it’s just the two of us for now, creating a magical time of year for our future family. It means compromising, mixing and meshing, and putting together a tailor made Christmas season for us inspired by both of our backgrounds, loving the traditions each of us grew up with.
The heart of all of this is Paul is now my family. That’s so hard to grasp. (Even three years later!)
Creating new traditions is a hard transition. But, it’s also so much fun.
This is Paul’s and my third Christmas married, and every year we add something new and change things up.
This year, we added something that both of us have always wanted to do, but neither of our families did… a real Christmas tree!
We forced ourselves to wait until the day after Thanksgiving to put up our tree, mostly because tree farms aren’t open before, and took our parents and my grandma and grandpa with us to our first tree farm adventure. NONE OF US had EVER been to one before. Isn’t that crazy?! I got to watch us all trek across acres of trees that, after a while, just begin to look identical and you get a little flustered because you aren’t quite sure what you want. It’s a big decision, picking out a tree! We placed moms and grandmas at potential contenders so we wouldn’t forget where they were/wouldn’t lose it, and my daddy, hubby, and grandpa walked around pointing at different trees commenting on how straight the trunks were, if the pine needles looked healthy, and if there was only one single branch up the middle…I learned a lot. You see, my dad was a forestry major in college at Texas A&M, so… my daddy knows a thing or two about trees. After what felt like forever, we assembled our ladies who were scattered across the farm and announced that we had found our tree. The Morrison family Christmas tree. It no joke was so magical. We turned on Christmas music while Paul played lumberjack, sawing our tree down, and my dad waited to catch it at the top. I don’t know what it was about it, but seeing the two most important men in my world chopping down a tree together was one of my most favorite memories to date.
Too sappy? (Insert ba-doom-cha drum for punny joke.)
If you love Christmas Vacation as much as we do… perhaps you also just thought of the line “Little full, lotta sap.”
We rode a hay ride together back to the headquarters at the tree farm, and my heart was so happy. We all talked about how each year we have to get a picture, and watch as the group of us changes. New little ones, and others who have left us. It was truly one of my happiest memories to date. I loved every second. I took note of every smell, every sound, every moment I could. I squeezed each person multiple times, just so I could feel their warmth, smell their scent, and soak in every bit of this time together.
This is by far my favorite tradition we have created over the last three years. I know with every fiber of my being it is one that will stick for… forever.
This Christmas we will do Christmas Eve services with Anchor, something new and something I am so excited for. Then, we will come home to have a special dinner. I grew up with lasagna every single Christmas Eve for dinner at a beautifully set table by my momma. The last three years we have done rosemary lamb with risotto and brussel sprouts. But, who knows. Maybe this year I will do lasagna like momma did it. Then Christmas morning, the two of us make french toast casserole, open up gifts together, and Facetime our families who live far away.
We have a hard time holding off on Christmas movies (year round, if we are honest), but White Christmas and Christmas Vacation are held with high regard for ONLY ACTUALLY DURING CHRISTMAS TIME. (Post-Thanksgiving!)
December is when we first started dating (so fitting for us) and this month is our 5 year anniversary together, so we are recreating our first date tonight, which was driving around Grand Prairie for a Christmas Lights tour and drinking hot cocoa while listening to Ella Fitzgerald’s Christmas album. I wish I remembered the exact date.. but I believe it was the 15th!
Fun Story: For our first date, I was super nervous I was going to come home (like every other date) and be over it, and have to break it off the next day. But, I prayed for God to do something really special if this was someone I was supposed to be with. (And I REALLY wanted it to be.) At dinner, we went to Spaghetti Warehouse, when it was time for our bill our waiter came over to tell us someone anonymously had actually paid for our whole meal. I took this as the special sign I had asked for, and knew pretty quickly after that Paul was going to be my husband.
We love the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and go every single year the first week of December. It kicks off our Christmas season. Once the DSO happens, it feels like Christmas is officially here.
Mulled wine is basically on repeat throughout all of December in our household.
Christmas is the best. Traditions are beautiful.
Another new tradition that I look forward to every year, our Christmas photos. And, of course, Hannah of Cottonwood Road Photography didn’t let us down with this year’s. I am still actually trying to pick my jaw up from these. She is so talented, and somehow captures our personalities so well through a camera lens.
My dress and cardigan are all from Landry Kate! Isn’t it the cutest?! If you haven’t been into LK or shopped online with them, you’re missing out on an amazing curation of C-U-T-E clothing.
Merry Christmas, y’all. So grateful for you this Christmas season.
Oh Hannah I loved this post so much! Picking out christmas trees is so fun, and I totally had Christmas vacation in the back of my mind as you were sharing your moment in the forest haha. Hope your having a wonderful holiday season. <3