Christmas Traditions for Our Little Family of Two

There are some Christmas traditions that I had been holding out for “when we had kids” as it just felt like overkill for two adults. For example, sending Christmas cards (I have never done it once! Not once!), or visiting Santa at ABC Carpet & Home (nope, never), or buying beautiful Christmas story books (there are many I would like and have never purchased), or collecting special decorations to make the home magical (no nativities, no advents, hardly any Christmas ornaments, no German pyramid candles). I guess with just the two of us, there is less of a tug to justify going all out on traditions that often involve children. Am I too practical? Yes, I think so. A complete humbug, probably. 🙂

SO – – – we kinda have to hold on for dear life to the few little traditions we DO have as a couple. Because we DO love celebrating. And we DO love Christmas. Here we go…

LIMONATA. This is my favorite drink. We hardly buy it these days, but when I was single I had flats of it from Costco in my refrigerator. When Danny would drive home to Boston late at night after visiting me in Brooklyn, I would always send him with a couple of these for the road. And now they have become a little treat we use to surprise each other.

A “STROLLING DAY” IN THE CITY. We looove to just walk through the city at least once during the holidays. We hit up the Christmas markets in Bryant Park and Union Square, enjoy all the storefronts, drink some hot apple cider, and buy some NYC Kettle Corn if I can find it.

This year our “strolling day” in the city was even better with our darling niece. She was loving the drummers at 59th St.

And getting a piggy back ride in Central Park

And seeing all the gingerbread displays by local NY bakers at the Parker Meridien.

CHRISTMAS MUSIC. Christmas music is definitely playing at our house before Thanksgiving.  

BAKING. I absolutely love to bake holiday treats (in the healthiest way possible). This year my favorites have been these Sticky, Ooey, Gooey Paleo Cinnamon Rolls. This Paleo Pumpkin Pie. And the Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Chocolate Tart that I modified from Smitten Kitchen. It’s still a winner.

DELIVERIES FOR THE NEIGHBORS. We always tried to deliver some goodies to the neighbors in our building. This usually led to getting brownies at our door a few nights later. SO cute, right?

SATSUMAS. We just stock up on these like crazy and eat them like candy.

ELF & CHRISTMAS MOVIES. We both think the movie Elf is pretty much the cutest/funniest movie ever. We usually watch it while we’re making Thanksgiving dinner.

SECRET SANTA. Each year we adopt a family or a child and be a secret santa for them. Even if I’m lazy or busy or frugal, I try to kick myself into gear and make this happen. Mostly we think of a family in the neighborhood and deliver something secretly.

FILET MIGNON. Oh my. I pretty much never had steak until I met Danny. But his filet mignon is quite a treat once a year. He once made it for all our friends at our Progressive Dinner.

PROGRESSIVE DINNER. For years and years we helped host one freaking awesome Progressive Dinner. Let me tell you that the Brooklynites we know can COOK and DECORATE. Holy smokes. We are definitely due to have one of these again.

Any Christmas tradition recommendations for us? We need some more ideas!! We’re still pretty new at this phase of life. 

P.S. If we were with Sila for Christmas, we’d be giving her a Christmas bath and snuggling her like crazy. She is the most affectionate dog ever. We miss her so much.

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  1. Heather December 19, 2014 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    I think that cute puppy is definitely "Christmas card" worthy! Send them out! (Maybe you're actually a family of three now!)

    • mara December 19, 2014 at 6:36 pm - Reply

      oops!! You are right. There are three of us. 🙂 And Sila has definitely put me closer to a Christmas card than ever. We'll see what happens next year.

  2. Jenny D. December 19, 2014 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    Get a nativity scene! We have a special one my grandparents brought from Ecuador, it's hand carved out of wood. You must find one you love while you're living there and buy it.

    • mara December 19, 2014 at 6:39 pm - Reply

      I've was definitely keeping my eye out for a nativity in Ecuador (before we left for the states). I found one made of straw in Quito and it was a real possibility. It was the first one I saw, though, so I passed on it. Turns out it was better than all the ones I saw later. I may have to track that same one down for next year.

  3. City Chick December 19, 2014 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    Hi Mara! My husband and I are a family of two too! We cannot have children either. Although, we celebrate Christmas just as we would if we had a house full of little dumplings! I love Christmastime and I guess I have never even thoguht that we wouldn't do something or another because it is just us two. After all, we were both children at some point and those memories are still so much a part of us and it is fun and exciting to relive some of those traditions as adults, kids or not. This past year we moved to the very top of Northern Miinnesota to a lttle town. So this year we cut down our tree in the woods and trimmed it with big old fashioned lights. For the first time we really did a lot of lights outside and the neighbors love it! They tell us they love to come home at night and see the little lights. We play lots of Christmas music and watch all our favorite Christmas movies. The other night I made a big bowl of popcorn and apples for us to eat while we watched the "muppet Christmas Carol." We simmer cider and hot cocoa on the stove at nighttime. On Christmas Eve I am making a big Scandanavian dinner for after Church. We also sent out Christmas cards this year! Now that you have your little pup, you have to show him off! Before we moved we also hosted an annual Christmas party and make a huge feast for our friends. We also have always been pretty big on Christmas Presents. I love the tradition of giving the ones you love something special, that is just perfect for them. I don't think that any of these things that we do are that unique, but to to us they feel special and they help us to feel the magic of Christmas, which is the most important part! You never get too old for that.

    • mara December 19, 2014 at 6:41 pm - Reply

      These traditions are AMAZING. I especially love the Scandavian dinner! Thank you so much for sharing all of this. It all sounds so, so lovely.

  4. Elizabeth Anne December 19, 2014 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    I am single (no spouse or kids) but love Christmas and Christmas traditions. So I have always decorated a ton and put up outside lights. I even send out Christmas cards, not every year but every other year or so. I love getting them and its always nice to catch up on loved ones lives so I figure whether I have kids or not they'll still love getting a card and knowing whats going on in my life.

    I also love books and have a large collection which includes children and Christmas books. I have 20+ nieces and nephews and friends with kids so my books have ended up getting used frequently. During December I read a Christmas book each night (or over a few nights for the longer ones.) The short (little kid ones) are a quick, cheery read and this tradition has made each day extra Christmasy. My favorite tradition I just started. I created a 25 Days of Christ. I have scripture passages to read each night that cover the life and teachings of Christ. In addition I made/bought an ornament to correspond to each night to hang on a special tree. I love this one, a beautiful reminder of the meaning of the season, I'm excited to do it every year from now on.

  5. Anonymous December 19, 2014 at 11:52 pm - Reply

    You are a family of THREE! Furry ones are most definitely family, and what an extra-awesome family you are given that you saved your third family member from a life of hunger on the streets or an early death.

  6. A Few Good Eggs December 20, 2014 at 2:28 am - Reply

    I adore getting Christmas cards from all of my friends, whether they have children or not (and I love seeing pets). Sila would make a cute 3rd family member on a card next year. I love reading about all of your traditions – one of our neighbors just stopped by with cookies and I'm feeling like I want to reciprocate with something. You've inspired me! Merry Christmas!

  7. Jessica Hall December 20, 2014 at 6:48 am - Reply

    My ex and I never had any children but we always did some sort of Christmas card or letter. It was kinda of my favorite part growing up sending Christmas cards. We would also do some sort of picture as well.
    In my town we have the Christmas Village, there little play houses all decked out in North Pole style from all the local business in town. That is always a fun highlight for an evening with hot cocoa.
    As a newly single person I have found it a little more difficult to get out the decorations and to bake, but I have still found enjoyment in adding Christmas music to the mix, watching a Christmas special and going to a few social events.
    For me I like the simplicity of everything so I say if you don't feel like going overboard, then don't. Do what feels right for the two of you.

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