Instead of posting our Christmas traditions before Christmas this year, I wanted to share with you photos, stories, and recipes from all of our Christmas celebrations the last few weeks. Colton and I are blessed that our immediate families both live nearby, so we can celebrate with both of them every year. We also have several close friends that we have traditions with leading up to Christmas.
Pre- Christmas traditions
We have started several pre-Christmas traditions to get us in the spirit before Christmas Eve rolls around.
One is our Bradshavis Christmas with one of our best friends, Allison. For the last few years, we have gone to one of Dallas’ finest restaurants, enjoyed great food, and laughed our butts off. Each year, we explore a new restaurant in search of Dallas’ best steak. This year, we ate at Nick and Sam’s and it was incredible. If you ever find yourself there, grab the chocolate cake for dessert.
A new tradition we started last year is looking at Christmas lights with Brandon and Ashley. This year, we set the bed in Maeve (our 1978 Westfalia, or the “Westy”) up, opened up the back door, and drove around Deerfield.
Our longest standing pre-Christmas tradition is Christmas with Matt and Hannah. For the last 5 years, we have gotten together to eat Marie Calendar’s dutch apple pie and watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. We realized this year that we have never had our traditional Christmas in the same place, between a couple of moves and one year we celebrated in the hospital when Hannah was on bed rest before delivering the twins.
Christmas Eve was always a bigger deal in my family than Christmas day as I was growing up. We get together with the whole family, eat a ton of food, read the Christmas story and open gifts. This year, we fit 14 adults and 2 kids in my mom’s house for dinner and fellowship.
Since my beautiful grandmother turns 90 on Wednesday, we surprised her with a cake. Then, my cousin read the Christmas story and it was time for gifts. It’s funny how the older you get, the more excited about watching everyone open up the presents you bought them makes you happier than your own presents.
For dinner this year, I made beef taco rings and Oreo cookie balls. Here is the recipe I used for these addicting, melt in your mouth treats.
Oreo cookie balls recipe
Adapted from Kraft Recipes
1 package of Oreos
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
24 oz. almond bark baking bar (milk chocolate)
1. Finely crush 36 Oreos in a food processor. 2. Mix crushed Oreos and cream cheese until well combined. 3. Roll into 1 in. balls and freeze on cookie sheet for 10 minutes. 4. Melt almond bark on the stovetop or in the microwave, and use a toothpick to roll the cookie ball in the chocolate. 5. Crush 5-10 more oreos and sprinkle on top of chocolate covered cookie ball. 6. Drizzle all balls with remaining chocolate and refrigerate until hardened (about an hour)
After dinner, we drove the 5 minutes to my in-law’s house, so we could camp out in the Westy. We set her up and got the pups tucked in to bed long enough to realize camping in the city is no fun. Unfortunately, there was too much noise (and it was way too hot in Dallas this weekend), so we slept inside for the rest of the night.
Christmas morning, we woke up for the traditional Bradshaw Christmas breakfast and waited for the other “kids” to arrive. We opened gifts, played games, snapped photos, and played with the puppies all day.
Christmas, for us, is to celebrate the birth of Jesus, by being grateful for friends and family. We are encouraged by these beautiful people we get to do life with all year, and Christmas is our time to show them how much they mean to us. Gifts are fun, but the gift of time and energy is more precious.
How did you celebrate Christmas this weekend? What are some of your favorite traditions? Leave me a comment below!