For me, a big part of traditions are the tastes and smells that you come to expect each year. Some things we are still tweaking and figuring out and some winners are already established and part of our family culture.
I make notes and add them to my recipes so I remember the small details.
One thing I do during Christmas is buy good coffee from a kitchen store in town. They grind it in house and it is such a treat on these Christmasy mornings. Our special coffee usually lasts from Christmas through New Year's.
So this morning I've been browsing my cookbooks and making my grocery lists. I will end up having three grocery lists for between now and New Year's Eve (a Christmas Eve and Day trip, one in between for fresh bread and veggies, and a New Year's trip).
One thing I'm always sure to add in is extra special treats for the evenings. Things like hot cocoa, chocolate melt bars, apple dumplin's, snickerdoodles, oyster crackers, ranch dip/fresh veggies/wheat thins, and a cheese ball. Some of our best memories are snuggling into the living room in the evenings and watching Christmas shows while something good bakes in the oven.
This is probably one of my biggest holiday tips. Spend some time writing down some menus including fun treats. Make your shopping lists and go ahead and do your shopping. Having these things planned makes it easier to settle in for movies, games, and fun around the Christmas tree. It just takes a small amount of effort and thinking through things like this, but it is so worth it! Think about who you want to spend time with and create some good memories this year.
(no sticks of butter or jugs of heavy cream were harmed in the publishing of this post)