The holiday season is my favorite time of the year!

Something about the lights, glitter, and festivities just seems to brighten my world a little bit more.

I grew up in a family who also loved the holidays.  Each year we spent Christmas Eve with my dad’s family having lunch together, opening gifts, and playing games the rest of the evening.  Christmas Day was spent opening gifts from Santa, taking a long nap, and maybe sneaking in a movie that night.  I always loved our family traditions growing up and it has made me even more excited to think about the traditions Connor and I are building together.

That first year as a married couple is incredibly special, and your first married holidays even more so… there’s just a bit more magic in the air!  And it’s also the perfect time to start creating your own traditions as a married couple.  This will be the third holiday season Connor and I spend together, but only our second Christmas married.  We’re excited to continue some of the traditions we started last year and add a few more.  In the spirit of the holiday season, we wanted to share a few of our favorite traditions with you all!  Maybe you are celebrating your first Christmas married or maybe it’s your 30th Christmas married… either way, we hope these traditions will bring light and life into your season!

Rachel Nickel Photography at Hawks Nest Weddings and Events

Christmas Cards

I have always loved receiving Christmas cards in the mail!  It’s such a neat way to keep up with friends and family who I may not be able to see as often as I’d like.  We’ve made it a point to send out Christmas cards for two years now and hope to continue to do so throughout our marriage.  One thing we have chosen to add to our Christmas cards is a small letter with updates from our year.  It is a great way to keep friends and family across the country up to date with the major things going on in our lives.  (And side note, if it *is* your first married Christmas, I would absolutely recommend using the caption “Merry & Married” on your cards / Instagram / anything else because I think it’s so stinkin’ cute and it’s the one time you can be a little extra with the whole “Merry & Married” thing, hehe)

She Reads Truth Advent Study

I’ve used She Reads Truth for different studies over the past few years, but my favorite is always their Advent books!  They present the truth and beauty of Christmas in the most wonderful way making it easy and fun to follow along each day during Advent.  There’s also a spot at the end of the book to reflect on how you spent Christmas that year.  I love being able to look back through previous books and remember different details about each Christmas season.  Connor and both order a book to go through together– they offer a women’s study book and a men’s study book– and we would highly recommend these!

To check out the She Reads Truth Advent study books, click here!

Gingerbread House Competition

For each Christmas Connor and I have known each other, we’ve had a gingerbread house competition with our siblings and it sets us right in the Christmas spirit!  We are two extremely competitive people, and to top it off, we both have siblings who are just as competitive as we are.  It makes for a very fun competition when we are all together for this!  Our competitions have looked different each year.  Sometimes we’ve been able to work on them with our siblings and parents together, and this year we’re working on them individually and having a digital competition.  This is one small tradition that we all love and value, and even if we weren’t able to be together to work on our houses this year, we still wanted to make it a priority.  We have loved making this a staple in our holiday traditions!

A dear friend of ours made this ornament for us to commemorate our first married Christmas

This year we had a FRIENDS themed and cabin themed gingerbread house

Hot chocolate + The Polar Express in our matching mugs

Our favorite Advent study book

Christmas Eve Service

This might be my favorite tradition.  On Christmas Eve, Connor and I make our way to our home church to celebrate with our church family.  This intentional time to pause and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas is incredibly special to us and we love that we are able to gather with our church to do so.  Christmas Eve service allows us to position our hearts in a way in which we are focused on the reason we’re celebrating.  We wouldn’t miss this for the world!

A Cozy Night In

After Christmas Eve service is over, we head home to begin our family Christmas traditions.  Christmas Eve is filled with such sweet anticipation for the morning!  We spend the evening in our new matching Christmas pajamas while drinking hot chocolate and watching The Polar Express… it is the coziest of cozy winter nights!  This year we’re also adding a new portion of our evening!  We’ll be baking (and decorating) our own Christmas cookies to enjoy that night as well… kind of a nostalgic throwback to making cookies for Santa when we were little.

Christmas Morning at Home

When the morning comes, Connor and I spend time together, just the two of us, sharing our gifts with one another!  As often as possible, we want to carve out time for just our own little family on Christmas Day, even if it’s just the two of us.  We have been alternating which set of parents we spend Christmas Day with, so last year we headed to my parents’ house after our morning together and this year we’ll head to Connor’s parents’ afterwards.  We love having time to open gifts together and create our own cozy little traditions!

Wherever you may find yourself this holiday season, our ultimate prayer and hope is that you are able to find a few moments to slow down and celebrate the true meaning of this season.  Connor and I love the holidays so much because it provides a special time of celebrating our Savior.  Many years ago, a baby was born who would grow up to live a perfect life.  He would later be crucified, paying for my sin and yours on a cross.  Through His life, death, and resurrection, we are able to know personally the God of Heaven who created us and desires to know us.  It is such a joy to celebrate this Christmas how the God of the universe has radically and forever changed our lives and shaped our marriage.

We wish you the merriest of Christmases and the happiest of New Years!

We’ll see you in January!