Austin Living: A Hull-iday Tradition
Published 6:23 pm Tuesday, November 2, 2021
Editor’s Note: This story and more can be found in the November-December edition of Austin Living Magazine, on shelves now
Sara Hull and her family are clearly enthusiasts of Christmas.
They deck out their home, featuring a beautiful view of the countryside, with all of the accoutrements of the holidays: garland, lights, and a 20-foot Christmas tree in the corner of their living room.
The family of five devotes the entire day to celebrating and fills it with games, food and gift-giving, that comes complete with presents from Santa Claus.
“Santa comes and visits everyone in our house Christmas morning,” Hull said. “There’s always presents from Santa for everyone and Santa does all of our stockings.”
However, there is also one other very important part of the Christmas tradition that has its roots extending back to when Hull was a little girl.
The day’s activities are all celebrated from the comfort of matching pajamas worn by the family, which includes husband Neal and children Kendall, Berghyn and Jarrett.
“Everybody loves it,” Sara said. “It’s a package the kids get to open Christmas eve. They know what it is, they just don’t know what it looks like?
Hull remembers the fun she had when she was a child. Her family held the same tradition that started with her own mom and has since been carried over enthusiastically by Hull.
The Hull’s own tradition started with the girls after the family made the decision to start spending the holiday at home.
“When we started staying home with our kids when they were little, we just started the tradition,” Hull said. “It started with the girls because you get cute matching jammies for them and I always had something that would be coordinated, but the matching thing just started in the last five years.”
The tradition was made even more special when Jarrett was born. Both Kendall and Berghyn are now in their 20s and Jarrett is currently 10. With such an age difference, the Hulls realized that now was the time to really get into the tradition.
“Christmas morning is very special for the five of us,” Hull said. “When Jarrett was born, I realized we would have very few Christmases with just the five of us, so we wanted to make them really special.”
It’s easy to see then that the pajamas are really more of a reflection of how the family celebrates Christmas as a whole. Take a step back and you see a family content to not leave the house and bask in the warmth of creating holiday memories; memories that started when they took a step back from traveling for Christmas.
For Thanksgiving, the Hulls travel to share it with extended family, but on Christmas, the holiday is all theirs, starting with the opening of presents from Santa in the morning.
What follows is a big breakfast cooked by home chef enthusiast Neal with more presents exchanged within the family.
And that’s just Christmas Day.
Christmas Eve morning is for baking and decorating sugar cookies. That night, the family gets dressed up for church service, followed again by Neal and what Sara terms as a “gourmet feast.”
“That’s our fancy dinner for Christmas Eve,” Hull said.
The night is capped by another tradition that is one that sits especially close to Hull’s heart.
“One tradition that I dearly love is that Neal reads ‘Twas the Night before Christmas’ to everybody before we go to bed.”
The next morning, the family is up to find what Santa has left, which includes a letter to the family that reviews the year and an empty plate of cookies.
As time has gone on, the Hull tradition of Christmas and the excitement leading up to it hasn’t lessened. It holds just as strong today; even as the daughters have reached adulthood, the joy of watching Christmas morning hasn’t lessened.
“We still get the enjoyment out of watching them,” Hull said. “We drag out the day.”
It’s a reflection of years gone by. Each year is a reminder of memories Hull had growing up and throughout her life, which is why the single day of family togetherness means so much to her.
The family pajamas are just a part of that joy.
“Christmas was always a magical time of year for me,” Hull said. “It was more about just being together with family. The gifts, when you were little, were important, but it was just being together. Experiencing sharing the day, starting the traditions.”
It certainly doesn’t hurt to look good doing it.
“The pictures look fantastic,” said Hull, who formerly worked as a photographer with a portrait studio.
Even as the girls get older, the tradition maintains. Each year the family continues to lounge about through Christmas in their “jammies.” But as time goes on, children move away and things can change.
Hull hopes, though, that as the years bring change, the tradition can maintain and be carried forward to a new generation. Not just the pajamas, but everything so that her kids can enjoy the same joy with their future families that the Hulls do today.
“I hope it goes with them as well,” Hull said. “Some of it started with my family and my mom and the Christmas pajamas and it just kind of morphed into a little bit more. I remember Christmas just being a very magical time when I was a little girl. I love that magic and I want to share it with them and hopefully they will carry on their piece.”