Newlywed Holiday Traditions

Now that the wedding is over, I’ve really been enjoying the “officialness” of being a family. It was (and is) really important to me, during this first year of marriage, to create some new traditions for our family, and carry on some old ones as well. And what better time to kick of some family traditions than over the holidays? I hope that, by documenting them here, we’ll be able to look back over the years and see how our traditions develop over our lifetime together. So here we go!

(All photos personal.)


Overnight Cinnamon Rolls are one of Troy’s favorite, but as the name of the recipe suggests, they take quite a while to make. So, since I’m off work early on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, this gives me plenty of time to prep the rolls and allow them to rise, just in time to bake on Thanksgiving morning.


I use Alton Brown’s recipe, and when they are ready, we chow down while…

Watching the Parades. I love watching the Detroit and NYC parades on Thanksgiving morning, and now it’s part of our holiday tradition.

This last one is more of a broken tradition now that I’m married. I used to make Jello for Thanksgiving dinner, every single year trying to outdo the year prior. I’ve made so many Jello dishes in my years, I’ve pretty much run out of recipes worthy of such a feast. This year, I decided to forgo the tradition in favor of something a little more “grown up” — this year I made this cauliflower gratin, which was amazing.


I’m hopeful one of my younger cousins will pick up the Jello slack and carry on the tradition!


The first Christmas tradition is one that was started by my mom when I was a kid, and one that I wanted to start with my family: the gift of pajamas on Christmas Eve. Here I am modeling the PJ pants I gave to Troy.


I love me some new jammies!

Something that I think nearly every couple, new or old, deals with during this time of the year is the holiday shuffle — doing their best to make time for each side of the family. Troy and I have been doing our shuffle for nearly as long as we’ve been together, and I think we pretty much have it down to a science: my dad’s side the weekend before Christmas, his dad’s side on Christmas eve, Christmas morning with his mom and siblings, and Christmas dinner with my mom’s side. Maybe we’ll travel less once there are some kiddos in the mix, but for now, this works out great for us.


After the busyness of the holiday shuffle, there’s nothing like some serious relaxation on Christmas night, hence the tradition of blowing up the air mattress & watching Christmas movies. This year we got home fairly early so we had time to watch a few flicks — The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Holiday, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Leading up to Christmas, we also got in viewings of Love Actually and A Christmas Story (naturally).


Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the other very important member of our family: our pupster, Brady. We definitely don’t forget about him during the holidays. In addition to the new bed he got from Nana and Papa, we also celebrated Doggie Christmas — the time directly after the holiday when all of the holiday pet toys are 50-75% off! This is the only time of the year we (willingly) allow the pup to have plush toys that he demolishes within a few minutes. But hey, it’s Christmas.


Finally, I was very excited to send out our first family holiday card this year. We used one of the photos from our honeymoon session and created a “cheers to the New Year” card. It was also pretty handy that we had collected everyone’s addresses for the wedding, so getting these babies in the mail was a snap compared to all the wedding-related mail we’ve sent in 2013.


New Years Eve

Again, this is more of a broken tradition. Normally NYE is the time we celebrate the anniversary of when we first starting dating. This year, however, we have a new anniversary (September 28!), but midnight on January 1 will always have a special day in our hearts.

New Years Day

In addition to football and hockey, I’ve instituted yet another food-based tradition: biscuits and gravy on New Year’s Day. Like many, our diets start on January 2, so this is the last day we can really indulge in dishes like this — might as well start the year off right!


Not very pretty, but man were they delicious!

And that does it for the Stieve family holiday traditions! We’re all looking forward to continuing these for many more Christmases to come.

Please feel free to share your holiday traditions, new and old, in the comments!

Cheers, and Happy New Year!


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