My Favorite Simple Holiday Traditions For Couples That You Can Start This Year
This holiday season is flying by! I’m alternating between panicking about my long and unfinished shopping list and kicking up my feet on the couch to watch Hallmark Christmas movies. Definitely a December mood if there ever was one. I know it will all (probably) get done but I’m a bit type A when it comes to getting everything ready for the holidays. But when you’re 33 weeks pregnant, you have to make some exceptions.
One of the exciting things about this year is that this will be the last Christmas being just me and Nick. Next year we’ll be experiencing the holidays with a baby and I’m so ready for all the magic that comes along with it. But there’s something so special about spending the holidays with your significant other.
For Nick and I, this will be our ninth Christmas as a couple and we have some beloved holiday traditions that always make time for. They’re incredibly simple and special mostly because we’re spending time together.
Visit as many Christmas trees as possible
What says holiday more than a pretty trimmed tree? When we first started dating, Nick and I went to the local tree lighting ceremony. But it’s gotten crazy crowded over the years and I’m too old to feel like a sardine. Instead we plan a day or late afternoon/evening to travel around to all the local small town Christmas trees. Bonus points are given if I can get Nick to snap a picture! I especially love when we get to head into Philly or New York and see all their crazy decorated trees.
Spend an afternoon decorating the house
While this may not be everyone’s favorite activity, spending an afternoon decorating can be a great way to spend time together. Usually I do most of the decorating and save the tree for us to do together. Since we collect ornaments from our travels and ones to commemorate special events, it’s always fun to pull them out and reminisce.
Visit a nearby city and take advantage of free events
If you live close to a city, this is the best time of year to make a journey in. Unfortunately it can also be crazy crowded. With a little research though, you can avoid some of the major crowds. If you’re in the NJ area, I tend to find Philly way less crowded than NYC but there are a lot more iconic Christmas spots in New York, so take your pick!
Drive through the neighborhoods to see all the lights
The cheapest, easiest date night is to grab your favorite hot beverage (homemade or Starbucks or local coffee shop, your choice) and set out to find the neighborhood with the best holiday lights. This can take some trial and error and we’ve definitely gotten lost in a neighborhood or two. If you’re looking for a foolproof way to see spectacular holiday lights, do a quick Google search. Some local farms create displays and sometimes local blogs will publish lists of where to see the best lights in your town.
In the Bucks County, PA area?
Shady Brook Farms has a HUGE drive-thru lights display. Though you might consider it pricey and crowded, it’s simple and fun to drive around and see their massive display. If you’re in Philly, there’s no better place than the Miracle on South 13th Street. Again, it’s crowded but it’s also very easy to do a run through and then head over to East Passyunk Ave for a good dinner and drinks.
Go out for a holiday dinner to a favorite restaurant
This is one of my favorite traditions of ours and one I can easily see us carrying on next year, even with the baby. We have several restaurants that are “ours”: either places that hold a special memory from an event or a place we just happened to find and it feels special. We pick one of those restaurants, actually make reservations for once, and enjoy a nice relaxing dinner in the middle of the holiday hustle. I would tell you our favorite romantic Philadelphia spot but it’s so tiny that I just can’t risk it. I will tell you though it’s on East Passyunk which makes a great spot for doing a little pre-dinner holiday shopping at my favorites, Ocassionette and Nice Things Handmade…
Buy an ornament to commemorate this Christmas season
I absolutely love, love, love those Pinterest perfect decorated trees. Yup, I pin a lot of them. But I can firmly say that my tree will never be one of them. Instead I always decorate with sentimental ornaments. Besides our travel ornaments, we also have several ornaments we picked up to remember each Christmas together. There’s nothing more special to me than placing the hand-painted first Christmas ornament on our tree every year. There are tons of custom ornaments to choose from on Etsy or scoop one up at a Christmas village (the one in Philly has great vendors!).
Host a holiday event for family and friends
Okay, this suggestion is probably the most stressful one but it can also be really fun, depending on your personality. Nick and I started hosting family once we had our house and it’s one of my favorite traditions. Oh yes, there’s a lot of stress cleaning, stress cooking, and stress baking. But it’s also so nice and cozy to have everyone gathered in our little home and get to relax with them after all the work.
Have a holiday movie night-in
Is there anything better than holiday movies? Whether you love Love Actually or The Santa Clause, I don’t know anyone who hates Christmas movies (and if you do, I don’t want to hear it!). One of my favorite nights/days is when we do a little Christmas movie marathon. We get cozy and queue up some of our favorites, like White Christmas for me and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation for him.
Plan something special for the day of
During the holidays there is just SO much going on. From holiday parties to shopping to visiting all of our family, it’s hard to get a lot of “just us” time. Nick and I are very lucky that most of our family is only 20 minutes apart but it also means that there’s no excuse not to see everyone. That’s why we set aside some time on Christmas morning as our “just us” time. Even though we have to get up early, it makes the holiday feel special and lets us relax; the calm before the storm!