Holiday Traditions: From Bill Murray to Pajama Pics

Our home has had many holiday traditions since as long as I can remember. As my brother and I have gotten older, some of these traditions have faded away (sobs) but some still remain. Traditions are some of the best parts of the season in my book. It gives us something to look forward to and some much-needed family time.


From the time the Thanksgiving turkey has been gobbled up (no pun intended), the holiday season in our house officially begins. The first thing that usually happens is my mother begging my brother and I to help her put up the tree. While this is a fun family tradition, it starts to get old by the 50th ornament you have “put on wrong,” so I usually end up bailing. Some how my mother, being the perfect Martha Stewart mom, manages to trim the whole tree, wrap all of our railings and mantels in lit garlands and maintain a clean house, all at the same time. She truly is superwoman.

Next, my dad tries to convince us to write a list of all the Christmas movies we want to watch throughout the month, but we eventually decide that the only important must-see movies are Scrooged (the 1988 film starring Bill Murray) and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (we joke that we have our own Uncle Eddie in our family, but no names will be named here). My parents always try to contribute more titles but throughout high school during this time I was always busy with finals and preparing dance team for our January competitions. Hopefully this year I’ll be able to cross a few more movies off of our list!


Another annual Christmas tradition is a nice dinner on the Country Club Plaza, in downtown Kansas City. For those of you unfamiliar with Kansas City, its in both Kansas and Missouri (it’s weird to me how many people don’t know this). We live on the Kansas side, about 5 minutes from State Line, but our downtown is on the Missouri side, about 45 minutes from my house. This is where the center of KC exists, including the Plaza, the Art District, the Power & Light District, etc. Basically what I’m saying is that it’s not any regular day that we venture downtown (except for Dad- who commutes everyday). The lights on the plaza are to die for,  just the whole area screams  (figuratively and literally) “Merry Christmas!” We usually drive around looking at the beautiful mansions near the plaza all decorated and listen to some classic Christmas jazz (we appreciate our jazz). While my brother was away at KU, it was always fun to have him home and have a good family dinner together, and this year it will be me!

As for Christmas Eve, my mom prepares a delicious meal, which sometimes takes the form of fondue, which is extra yummy. (I highly suggest investing in a fondue kit) Sometimes during our meal we’ll have our annual viewing of Scrooged (as mentioned above) or watch A Christmas Story, which is repeatedly run on TBS every Christmas. After this, we head to church, which is the most important part of Christmas, remembering why we’re all here in the first place. I love the candlelight service where each candle is lit one-by-one until the whole room is filled with light. Such a great depiction of God’s light on the world. After church, we always take a family picture in front of our Christmas tree. By this time it’s around 1am, my parents are stressing because they haven’t finished wrapping presents, my brother is stressing setting up the tripod and we’re all trying to wrangle my cat to get into one of our pictures. It’s quite a scene, let me tell you. After the stressful photoshoot, we open one present. However, its been a tradition for the longest time that this one present is pajamas, for us to wear that night. I love this part strictly because I’m downright obsessed with pajamas. Finally we head to bed, where I usually lay in anticipation like a little child, even though I am a grown 19 year old. *Not a creature was stirring, except the teenager checking Instagram relentlessly…*

Christmas day: the holiday of all holidays. A childhood tradition we had, that’s since been dissolved, was unique in our household. At the top of the staircase (my brother’s room and mine are both on the second floor) my parents would tie a ribbon to “keep” us from going downstairs before they were ready. This was really for when we were little and wanted to wake up and scurry downstairs, but now we’re old and lazy and don’t wake up quite so early. However, we still aren’t allowed to head downstairs until 1) my father is armed and ready with a video camera to watch us awkwardly head down the stairs and 2) my mother is prepared with her iPhone to take way too many pictures of my brother and I in pajamas. Please keep in mind we are 19 and 23 yet we still do this. I have no problem with it. From here on is a pretty typical Christmas morning, although we have a very “orderly” way to do the gift-opening. We begin with stockings, which also now include our cat’s, so we must make sure he has vital time to play with his new cat-nip infused toys. Then, we head to the tree to open the larger gifts. We take turns, each of us opening one gift at a time. While this is tedious, it is climatic, which adds to the excitement of each gift. By the time the gifts are all open, we all decide its time to shower and put on real clothes and anticipate the arrival of my grandparents, uncle and cousin.

I can’t tell you how happy these traditions make me, and even though they’re often hard to schedule around my brother and I, I’m so glad we steadfastly continue them every year. I can’t wait to continue some of them when I have a family of my own, and even create some new ones. I’m so excited for Christmas!

What are some holiday traditions you have? Comment below!



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