By Amanda Hill

Growing up, we had a ton of family holiday traditions. So many that we actually laughed about how many traditions we had—and strictly stuck to—at Christmas.

The holidays were a magical time at our house. Christmas brought a special look and feel that you could count on each year.

The day after Thanksgiving (and not a moment before), the boxes of decorations came down from the attic and every ornament, Christmas throw pillow and holiday dish marched to its designated place. Santa’s stocking stuffers always came wrapped, even though he didn’t do that for any of my friends. We must have been extra special, I thought. And each year, my mother filled holiday plate after holiday plate with every kind of cookie and candy you can imagine.

Our family holiday traditions have changed a bit as my brother and I have grown older and started our own families. This year, as I was meticulously planning my Christmas decor, shopping plan and baking schedule, I realized something. Holidays are a lot of work.

Apparently those family holiday traditions don’t just happen by magic. In fact, it’s enough to drive you bonkers. As it turns out, the boxes of decorations take a long time to unpack. The holiday baking leaves your kitchen in a wreck. And Santa must have more nimble fingers than mine when it come to wrapping presents.

I called my mom and asked her why on earth she went to so much trouble each year. Her answer? Memories take a lot of work, but they’re worth it. That magical experience we had year after year was no accident.

So, surrounded by boxes, unwrapped gifts and lots of flour, I’ve decided to make my own family holiday traditions without losing the true meaning of the season. I may have to sacrifice a few batches of cookies, but the time it takes to create those holiday memories will be worth it.

What’s a family holiday tradition that you carry on? Share by leaving a comment below, and happy holidays!