Having grown up without any proper family traditions, it’s become of utmost importance to me to create and maintain some great ones for my family now. One of our favorite traditions each Christmas comes from my husband’s family, and they refer to it as “the Christmas Can.” This is a wonderful tradition that learned and experienced while we were dating, and that we continued from our very first married Christmas. I love how it places the focus on loving one another, expressing gratitude and quality time together!
Here’s how it works: On Christmas morning each member of the family draws the name of another family member. They write a note to that person about why they love them, appreciate them, or anything they remember from the past year. Later each person reads their note to the entire family, and all the notes are saved in the Christmas Can from year to year.
It’s a simple concept with a powerful impact. Now as adults, my husband’s family will read notes from their childhood and laugh till they cry over some of the ridiculous things they wrote as kids. “You’re not too bad…for a boy.” “You’re good at basketball and a little nerdy.” Some years you can really tell the sibling rivalry was strong! Other notes are incredibly sweet and sentimental. It’s such a great way to look back over the years together as a family!
My husband and I started our own Christmas Can from our very first year of marriage. Each year we’ve written to each other and shared time together reading our notes. A few times we’ve had guests at Christmas, and invited them to participate with us in the Can. It’s so fun to look back at those notes now! Once my daughter was born, we would write a note to each other and collaborate on a note to her from the both of us. Now that she’s 4 I think she’s ready to write her own note (with some help!) this year!
A silly note on our Christmas Can: I made the can you see pictured nearly 6 years ago, waaaaaaay before I was remotely “crafty.” Not only that, I made it in the middle of the night and actually misspelled the word…you can’t see it, but it says “Cristmas Can.” I’ve often thought about remaking the can to be more flashy, modern, impressive and with correct spelling…by the mister has pleaded with me to leave it because he loves that it’s quirky and imperfect, just another funny memory to share!
What are your favorite family-focused holiday traditions?