Christmas 2018 – Keeping Up With The Holiday Traditions

Holiday traditions are always a fun thing to hear what other families do differently than yours, to hear about similarities, and to get great inspiration from completely out-of-the box ideas. When it comes to Christmas, I have got a boatload of traditions that I want to keep going, but this year felt like the perfect year to get a little crazy and do all the hosting before baby arrives. And of course, we kept our little ornament tradition alive!

Christmas 2018

My parents came to visit us a few weeks ago for an early Christmas weekend, and while we may not have had the tree or decorations up yet, it was filled with all the important things: Family, Food & Fun. Between the homemade apple pie, the delicious stuffing, and the nursery reno, it was an amazingly productive yet relaxing weekend.

This year was our fourth Christmas together, and we knew it would be the last without kids of our own, so–while we were on a roll–we decided to host actual Christmas dinner for my husband’s family as well.

But not until we had lived out our own little tradition in the making. We set up the tree together on Christmas Eve, enjoyed a sit-down dinner, and snuggled up for a holiday movie.

On Christmas morning, we woke up a little earlier than usual to get the pies and turkey ready. Once those were taken care of, we sipped our coffee as we set up for our gift exchange, and brought out our ornaments. Even though you technically know what you’re getting, there is still quite the anticipation on what this year’s will be! I am glad to say we’ve never been disappointed, or bought identical gifts. Fingers crossed it stays that way!

After the gifting had been had, we got dressed in our best reds and took our annual family portrait with the tree. This year we upgraded from the usual selfie, and pulled out the ‘good camera’ for an everlasting moment of just the two of us. While firsts are always exciting, I really wanted to capture this “last” too because even though I am super happy to be starting this new adventure, it is important that the adventure coming to a close is well appreciated. The adventure of meeting and falling in love with my husband falls nothing short of amazing!

The rest of the day was about getting the rest of the food prepped, making sure the room was ready (aka turning the portrait studio into half its size and creating a dinning room and living room out of the other, and taking some time to relax before the crowd rolled in. We certainly managed.

While everything felt a tiny bit cramped in our little humble home, it was absolutely a great success! The food was delicious–especially dessert!–the company was poppin’, and the 2018 edition of Secret Santa was fantastic! I was the ‘game-master’ so I didn’t really get to participate, but sometimes that is part of the fun!

Boxing Day for the time being is a day to relax, get back into routine, and make sure the decorations aren’t taking over the entire living space (here’s looking at you, harvest table!). It might turn into a shopping day in the future, but for now we will happily keep to ourselves. Especially when that means indulging in cinnamon bread pudding, eggnog, and turkey sandwhiches—yumm!

Now, for the ornament tradition, in case you missed last year’s holiday post


  • the ornament has to be something that goes on the tree
  • it must be a piece that supports local businesses, hopefully handcrafted
  • there should be some sort of meaning behind it rather than just a generic or ‘pretty’ ornament
  • it doesn’t have to be super christmassy, and can be a memento of sorts
  • if you choose to make it yourself (DIY) it has to be effortful, not thrown together at the last minute
  • if you find the ‘perfect’ ornament at a big box store, a one-time exception is granted

This year, I started my search super early so I would have the opportunity to find the perfect handmade ornament, even if it meant stretching the ‘local’ limits to the rest of the country. And I am so glad I did! I scored a jackpot set of beautiful macrame ornaments to represent our growing family. Not even the Canada Post strike could hold back the awesome find!

I present to you, the 2018 additions to our Christmas tree:

I wonder what next year will bring!

stephanie de montigny SdeM handrawn initials ottawa blogger