Intentional Holiday Traditions

November 21, 2022

Jenna Smith

To Make
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I wanted a creative "catch-all" to host my work, inspirations, personal life, + creative endeavours all in one place. Whether you are a full-time mama, a bride looking for inspiration, or a creative looking to put her hands to new work, this is your place to be!

Hi, I'm Jenna

This holiday season I am preparing my heart + home for the beauty this season brings. This is easily my favorite time of year. You just cannot beat the desert in the winter- chilly mornings, sunny (but not too hot) afternoons, golden sunsets and time to actually be outside and garden. This year is the first year I’ve done this, but I actually already have had our Christmas tree up for a couple weeks! Ha! I just feel like this season goes far too quickly- and I want to soak in the magic and wonder for as long as possible. Speaking of slowing down, I think that now, more than ever before, we are flooded with what to buy, parties, + busyness that can sometimes rob us of what the season is meant for. There have been many years where this time of year was so jam packed full of extra stuff to do, I would look back and feel so disappointed I never took the time to stop, slow down and enjoy where I was and what was around me. Have you ever experienced this?

My hope is that this year would be different. I want to be a mom, wife and friend, free from the noise and be so alert and present in the present- especially in this sweet season I am entering.

I believe it means using our intention + planning ahead to carve out space, time and stillness to set our eyes + ears on what this season is intended for.

As the season changes and Autumn + winter arrive, I find my creativity can be poured out through creating traditions for my little family. Now, having a toddler, traditions are that much more fun. Seeing the joy and wonder light up on her face as we show her new and beautiful traditions that point us to hope has brought an even deeper sense of joy and purpose into slowing down this season. But, even before having our daughter, I knew as a wife and mother I wanted to impart sweet and meaningful traditions from both our pasts + cultures, as well as bringing in new traditions as our story as a family unfolds. My mom showed me how important traditions were in a family. Every year as a little girl, I had so much to look forward to alongside my family. These sweet memories with my mom, dad and siblings will forever be cherished. That is why we do traditions. It truly is about the lasting impact and memories they bring and form.

My husband, Caleb, is originally from Australia, and even though it is a Western country, family time + holidays had their own uniqueness (just like in any home) and traditions. Since he has moved over to the US it has been key that we as a family use similar foods, games, and pieces of his heritage into our home.

I thought it would be fun to share some of the traditions we have done through the years as well as share some I have not tried, but would like to start introducing this Christmas season! Please comment any traditions you and your family love. I get so inspired hearing what other mamas (or dads!) do to bring joy and wonder into their homes. It would bring my heart so much joy to hear what you are up to this season.

Here are 6 traditions we love or will be using to set our gaze on the Hope this season brings.

  1. Christmas wrapping and crafting prep
  2. Family Christmas jammies + nighttime Christmas reading
  3. Trying out a new baked good
  4. Advent
  5. Handmade creative gifts for friends and family
  6. Taking family photos (even if the Christmas cards don’t get mailed!)

1. Christmas Wrapping + Crafting prep

I was just texting my dear friend who is an amazing creative woman, and we finally have decided to get a date in our calendars to decorate and prep our Christmas wrapping. We have tried this a few years and it fell through because we didn’t plan ahead. BUT this year is different and we have a date scheduled this week. We will be painting, stamping and decorating butcher paper and paper bags that will be used for our Christmas gift wrapping. I love that this is a simple yet beautiful and intentional way to elevate and personalize your gift wrapping. There are so many different types of media that could be used, a few I’d love to try- ink, watercolor, colored pencil, puff paint, and graphite. I will keep you posted on the outcome. But what a fun + easy way to gather friends and do something of the Christmas spirit while also making beautiful wrapping for your loved one’s gifts! Some fun inspiration for your holiday decor + wrapping can be found here!

Photo from Pinterest

2. Family Christmas Jammies + nighttime Christmas reading

Yes,t his was another one of those things I have wanted to do every year, and each year we left it too long and the Christmas jammies were always sold out, haha! We didn’t do anything fancy or super cute, BUT we bought the dang jammies. We went to Fry’s (yep fry’s) and found some soft, matching pajamas that were somewhat Christmas themed (green plaid counts, right?!) to snuggle up with and enjoy our morning coffee in. I already had thrifted some super sweet Burt’s Bees jammies for Lacie so Caleb and I are somewhat matching her. The point being, I love having something that we as a family can get cozy and comfy in together, even if it is cheesy!

I also love reading through the Christmas story together as a family. We have been using Lacie’s children’s bible (which I actually love to read on my own too) or looking through a few collected Christmas books we have already. Just the act of sitting down together as a family and spending time reading, looking through picture books, and learning the story of Jesus birth is so meaningful + special.

3. Trying a new baked good recipe

I typically don’t bake sweets unless I have a specific event to use it at or I have a brownie mix in the cupboard haha. But I love the idea of trying a new recipe just because and gifting it to a neighbor or setting a little tea party for my daughter and I to enjoy and spend quality time together. I have recently been dreaming up trying out a new corn flake granola recipe like this one, or a cream cheese pumpkin roll like this one (my mom would make this when I was growing up and it was delicious!). Baking can bring so much fun (+ yumminess) into your home. Spending the time to gather ingredients, mix, and bake can feel so oddly therapeutic. And the obviously the delicious outcome makes it totally worth it! Do you have any yummy holiday treats you always bake or want to try this year? Please do share!

Photo from Pinterest

4. Advent

This tradition I have done since being married, but my absolute favorite advent calendar cards are made by my dear friend Coley. Not only do I love the meaning and tradition behind these advent cards, but they are beautifully designed and so well made, they last year in and year out. I think this is the 3rd or fourth year I’ll be bringing these same cards out to decorate and use. I love that each card has a verse to follow along in on the Christmas story of Jesus’ birth. I can’t wait to bring Lacie into this tradition of flipping the card in the morning and reading the Scripture that sets our heart in expectation of the hope we have in Christ.

5. Handmade gifts for friends

Image from Ronney Sewing Patterns

In my immediate family, us siblings and in-laws have always done a secret Santa where we have one person to gift a present to. I love how this tradition keeps it very simple yet still intentional on that specific person and finding the perfect item that suits them and their personality. However, because I love to make, I am wanting to try out this sewing pattern from a small business I follow and love. I think anything handmade cannot be beat. I am excited to try my hand at sewing from these beautiful patterned aprons in different shades of linens for my sisters.

6.Family Photos

I had leftover time from a studio I used last year from a Milk + Honey shoot, and I thought it was just the perfect spot to play with our film camera, while also getting family photos for Christmas done. My siblings will be joining as well so we can get some sweet photographs of the whole family. Even if you aren’t planning on sending out Christmas cards, I think it is SO important to document you and your family each year all together. I am beyond thankful I have boxes of photographs from my childhood my mom took. Having photographs to recall, remember and look back on is a huge piece of the memories we will leave behind.

Even though we will be using a studio, a few fun and simple backdrops that would be so meaningful to use would be in the front yard of your home, your local park, on your living room couch, or using a beautiful spot in your hometown by a lake or mountain.

Well friend, I would love to hear what you are most looking forward to this Christmas season and any meaningful traditions you have tried or would like to try! This season is too good to pass by through quickly. There is so much beauty to behold. Thank you for being here.



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