I can’t tell you how excited I am that Christmas is finally here! I leave for Maine on Wednesday and I am counting down the seconds until I reunite with my parents, Grandy, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Since we’re celebrating Christmas in Maine instead of Connecticut this year, there’s been a little more planning involved to make sure we’re able to carry out everyone’s favorite traditions in a new place. I thought it might be fun to share a few of my favorites and I’d love to hear yours as well! (P.S. Writing this post was a serious trip down memory lane!)

design darling christmas tree

{our Christmas tree in Dallas this year!}

The menu. We make lobster with lemon butter, salmon with capers, and my grandfather’s asparagus Hollandaise every Christmas Eve and it’s easily my favorite meal of the year. Someone once commented on an Instagram of mine saying our family’s Christmas Eve meal looks more like the Fourth of July but I wouldn’t have it any other way. 🙂 On Christmas, everyone else eats beef bourguignon (this will be my eighth vegetarian Christmas I think?) but I will be undoubtedly be going back for seconds on twice baked cheesy potatoes. And my cousin Emily makes a mean bûche de Noël — I’ll try to Instagram or Snapchat (@designdarling) a peek of this year’s if you care to see!

design darling christmas table

{our Christmas table in 2010 — how I have been blogging this long?!}

Reading The Night Before Christmas. We have an old illustrated copy that we sit down to read before everyone goes to sleep on Christmas Eve. Everyone reads one page then passes the book in a circle until we get to “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.” It’s such a quick and simple tradition but nothing does a better job of getting me in the Christmas spirit than seeing 15-20 family members each reading a page of this children’s classic.

design darling diy letter wreath

{our DIY letter wreath from Christmas 2012}

Opening presents. All the “kids” (everyone’s now in their late teens or twenties) open their stockings rapid fire then we sort out the presents beneath the tree into piles for each person. The nine kids open one present at a time, in order of youngest (my brother Camden) to oldest (my cousin Sarah) and then start the same order over again until everyone’s out of presents. Obviously we don’t all get the exact same number of presents every year but it’s great to see everyone open each individual present, know who it’s from, see their reaction, thank each other, etc. Then we break for breakfast (I’ve been known to make a lengthy list of everyone’s coffee orders and make an emergency Starbucks trip) and settle down to watch our parents and Grandy open their gifts in reverse order, oldest (Grandy) to youngest (my mom).

{#tbt Christmas 2013}

How does your family celebrate Christmas? What’s your favorite tradition? It’s so fun to hear how everyone spends the most magical day of the year!


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  1. I love hearing all of your Christmas traditions! Our gift-opening is always craziness, everyone opening their gifts at the same time. We also leave A Christmas Story on all day and then have Peppermint Ice Cream Cake after Christmas dinner!


  2. We do something very similar to your family! Christmas is just my immediate family (2 younger brothers and my parents) and we all open gifts one at a time. We like to take breaks to refill coffee or make mimosas 🙂 It’s so nice to really be able to appreciate each gift given and see the gratefulness on each other’s faces. My family likes to keep Christmas super chill so we normally stay in our PJs all day, watch old home movies and then have hamburgers and milkshakes for dinner!

    – Kelsey

  3. I love reading everyone’s traditions 🙂 We all stay the night at my Grandma’s and wake up to warm bubble bread! Next up…it’s the gifts where there really is no rhyme or reason haha. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

  4. I like the sound of your Christmas Eve dinner! We always go to church and then get Chinese food on Christmas eve and then on Christmas morning its been just me, my mom and dad, brother, and boyfriend the past couple of years. We all open presents one at a time and have coffee and cinnamon rolls while doing so. My mom always makes us a Thanksgiving dinner for Christmas dinner and we’ll usually have drinks, play board games, and watch a movie. I wish my whole family got together for Christmas, but it’s nice being with just my immediate family as well! I look forward to your snaps!

    Laura | Laura Aime Vous