As we start to prep and get ready for the holidays we thought it would be fun to hear about some other people's traditions. We are both in the earlier stages of starting our young families and we love hearing about traditions that other people have found meaningful and special to them. We want to implement traditions that will create happy memories over the years. We asked our Instagram followers, family, and friends for some traditions they have loved. We thought it would be fun to share a few of them to give you guys some fun traditions to think about.
Making a leaf wreath or garland - Take your littles outside to collect their favorite leaves. For a leaf wreath attach the collected leaves by sticking and tying them into a grapevine wreath starter or use a foam wreath starter and glue the leaves around it! To make a garland decoration take a long piece of twine or ribbon and staple (or glue) the leaves along it! We love this idea because it is a fun way to let you kids help decorate!
Early Christmas Pajamas - One of our emme mamas has her family open Christmas Jammies after Thanksgiving dinner to kick off Christmas so they can wear them all throughout December! We love this idea because it starts the Christmas celebration early and allows for everyone to enjoy the comfort and coziness it brings for even longer!
Giving Thanks - A special tradition that was shared by a close friend. “ My favorite tradition my family did was at Thanksgiving. After we all got our food we would go around the table (or when extended family was there, the whole room) and say 1 thing we were grateful for. It was so fun to hear everyone’s different responses. I would spend so much time thinking about what 1 thing I would share and looked forward to hearing everyone else's. The holiday’s can be a very chaotic time and I love to be able to slow down and reflect. Everyone gets a chance to be heard and share what they were most grateful for that year.”
Turn the tablecloth into a keep sake - Lay out a plain white tablecloth and markers. Ask everyone to draw what they are most grateful for, what their favorite part of thanksgiving is, or even a self portrait. You can use it year after year and enjoy looking upon past additions to the tablecloth.
Turkey Trot - Get ready for all the calories by either participating or setting up your own thanksgiving day run! I’ll be the first to admit that running is just not my thing, but for some reason it’s not as bad when you know about all the delicious Thanksgiving food that awaits you afterwards.
Reusable Advent Calendar - They are such a fun way to build up that Christmas day anticipation. We are all about sustainability so we love that fact that they can be used year after year.
Christmas Pickle - An ornament that looks like a pickle gets hidden somewhere on the tree and the first person to find it gets some sort of prize or reward!
Making your own wrapping paper - A unique tradition that was shared with us by one of our emme mamas! This is done by decorating brown craft paper with ink stamps (or any other sort of decoration) and using that paper to wrap presents. This is such a great way to give your toddlers a fun way to contribute and help with the holiday wrapping!
Service - There are all types of service activities and ways to donate around Christmas time. This is one that can have a powerful impact on you and your family no matter what stage you’re at. One of our emme mamas shared one of her favorite traditions
“ Almost every year we would visit my Grandparents house in December. Prior to Christmas they would find a time to take us to a store and give each grandchild $20 to go and pick out a toy for a child that was our age. We would spend so much time as we tried to find the very best thing to give and after we made our thoughtful decision we would all bring back our gifts and wrap them up together. My very favorite part was getting to drop them off (some years it was to a family that lived nearby and other times to donation centers). They did this for as long as I can remember and it was the most meaningful tradition that I hope to continue with my family”.
12 days of Christmas - Pick a neighbor or 2 and drop off a festive treat or gift for 12 days. It is fun to drop things off and try not to let them see who it’s from! Let your kids be in charge of picking the different gifts or treats you drop off everyday!
Baking pastries - A fellow emme mama shared her favorite tradition, which is baking pastries on Christmas eve with her daughter! She shared with us the recipe and we hope you will be able to try it this Christmas season!
- 1 ¼ cups of lukewarm milk, divided
- 2 ½ teaspoons of instant yeast or active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 3 ¼ cups of all purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon of lemon zest (or ⅛ teaspoon of lemon oil)
- ¾ teaspoon of salt
- ⅓ cup of sugar
- ¼ cup of all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
- ¼ cup of sugar
- ½ cup of ricotta cheese or farmer’s cheese, well drained
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 2 medium Granny Smith apples
- ¼ cup of sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons of cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
- ¼ cup of chopped pecans
- ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 - To make the dough: In a large mixing bowl combine milk, yeast, sugar, and flour. Mix thoroughly and let rest for 15 minutes until the mixture becomes bubbly.
2 - Add the remaining dough ingredients and mix and knead until you have a smooth, somewhat sticky dough. Cover and let rise for 11/2 to 2 hours, until doubled. While the dough is rising make the topping and filling(s)
3 - To make the topping: Combine all the ingredients until crumbs form and then set aside
4 - To make cheese filling: Whisk together the four and sugar. Then mix in the cheese and nutmeg until smooth
5 - For the apple filling: Peel, core, and finely chop the apples (a food processor works well here). Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and mix in the apples. Cook the mixture over medium heat until the apples are tender and the filling is thick. Remove from the heat and stir in the cinnamon, nuts, and vanilla. Cool to room temperature before using.
6 - Preheat oven to 375 F
7 - To assemble: Transfer the risen dough to a lightly greased work surface and gently deflate it. Cut walnut sized pieces of dough and shape into slightly flattened balls.
8 - Place the pieces of dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and let rise until puffy (about 35 - 40 minutes). Using your fingers press a deep indentation in the center of each ball (too shallow and the fillings will tumble out as the kolaches rise in the oven).
9 - Add a mounded tablespoon of apple filling, or 2 teaspoons of cheese filling and crumble a teaspoon of the topping mixture over each.
10 - Bake the kolaches for 20 - 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove them from the oven and cool before serving.
11 - Store in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 1 week. If desired, reheat kolaches for 5 minutes in a preheated 350 F oven.