Tolman Christmas 2018 – New Traditions in Belgium

Our first Christmas in Belgium was a success! There were so many new things this year and I loved every new tradition we made. With all the right ingredients for a great Christmas (family, friends, and eggnog) so all the extra stuff was icing on the cake!

We started a new tradition a couple years ago where we don’t keep or store any ornaments. We have a tree stand that we store 1 string of lights and a tree skirt in. Nice and minimalist! This means every year we get to make our own ornaments! Last year we scavenged Oklahoma for acorns and pinecones, but no such luck this year. We used candy canes and made cinnamon ornaments. It was simple and FUN!

St-Nicholas Day

A fun new tradition we started this year was celebrating St- Nicholas Day which is 6 December. It was heavily celebrated at Simons school and the idea is wonderful.

Children put out their shoes the night before and St-Nicholas brings all their presents while they sleep to celebrate the life of Saint Nicholas who use to leave coins in peoples shoes. A very cool tradition that we decided to adopt. The children each got a book in French and some chocolate!

Community Events!

I got to help with a Christmas party for the Mom2Mom Breastfeeding Support Group here at SHAPE which I volunteer with. I love this group and they’ve been so welcoming and provide a wonderful place for moms to come together. Raising children takes a village, and I’m grateful to be a part of such a great group.

We set up a little photo booth and made hand/foot ornaments while we had food, tea, and chatting. It was a lot of fun!

Mom2Mom Shape also had a Christmas bake sale which was a lot of fun and really successful! The SHAPE brass quintet also showed up to play a few Christmas carols and it was fun to see Nick play while I was out and about doing my thing. He played a lot of fun Christmas gigs this year. Here’s a little video!

Christmas Markets!

I just finished a whole post on all our Christmas market adventures this year. You can find that here! I’ll put another link at the end too.

Spoiler Alert: We LOVED experiencing European Christmas Markets!!!

Christmas Sunday

The kids got to open a gift early since it was some new church clothes. Nick picked out some great outfits for these little boys! So handsome. (They were a little miffed that it was only church clothes… but that’s life)


Christmas Day!

Christmas morning!

Our sweet Hyrum is a ball of fun and has a joy for life that we all envy. He loves everything, want to touch it all, and is extremely curious! This year he got his own “guitar” that looks just like dads. Hopefully this will keep him from touching all the fun instruments! He carried it around all day, playing it and dancing. Just ask him for a “Dance Party” and he’ll bust out the music and moves. We love this sweet boy!

Simon was so much fun this Christmas. I enjoy him more every year! This year he really latched on to his legos! He spent the day building little things from the instructions. This is the first time he’s been able to do that by himself. He was so proud!

My sweet husband nailed Christmas this year! A new tea cup with my New Little Life logo carved in. I may or may not have cried and immediately brewed up my BEST herbal tea from our trip to London.

Nick will not be attempting to perfect Belgium waffles! I found an original Belgium recipe from a fellow at the carrefour who helped me translate a recipe he got from texting his mom! He also took me around the store and helped me find all the “secret” ingredients of these waffles. Our first attempt on Christmas day was an excellent start!

Liege style waffles are more of a dough than a batter and have these special sugar pearls to help make the caramelized outside!
Speculoos and Nutella… classic waffle toppings in Belgium!


Christmas in Belgium was wonderful this year. We loved all the new traditions and the feeling here. We’ve made so many friends and connections in the community and I’m so thankful for everyone that has welcomed us to Belgium. I look forward to continuing to learn French and explore this culture!

Read about and watch videos from our 2018 Christmas market adventures in Belgium, France, Germany, and (basically) Holland!