Growing up every year we had specific things that if we did not do or experience the holidays were just not the same. It had to do with the sights, sounds, smells and wonder of Christmas. I knew when I had a family of my own I desperately wanted to create some wonderful Christmas traditions that made the season as magical for them as it was for me .
When my husband and I first moved in together we started some of our own traditions which we still do every year. For example, every year when we decorate the tree we play a specific list of Christmas carols and then make hot chocolate and snuggle while we watch Elf; our all time favorite movie. I truly look forward to it every year. It is a no phone, no interruption time for just the two of us.
Now with kids, we decided we needed to step up our Christmas tradition game slightly. We did not want to do the Elf on the Shelf (at least not yet). I am not fully on board with a creepy doll stalking my daughter while she sleeps. So we needed to come up with our own thing. Here are some of the fun traditions we are starting as our young family grows!
Christmas Cookies! – I am a baker by trade so I have spent quite a bit of time amassing a binder of my best Christmas cookie recipes. I always prefer to have a recipe in front of me as opposed to on the iPad or phone. Now that my daughter is old enough I will be making it a point every year to have a special day when we make cookies. When the new baby is old enough they will join in and it will be a wonderful tradition. My husband will do his duty of eating each and every last one.
Christmas Eve Packages – This one is a spin-off of something my mom always use to do. Every year we would get to open one gift before going to bed to wait for Santa, it took us a couple of years to realize it was going to be pajamas every year; but once I got the hang of it, it was a great tradition. With our kids, we are mixing it up slightly. We are putting together a box for each child. The box will contain Christmas pajamas, a pack of hot chocolate, a treat and a letter from us inviting them to story time before hitting bed to wait for Santa.
Stories on Christmas Eve – Since the year my daughter was born I knew that I wanted her to learn the meaning behind Christmas. Both sides of it really, the real reason and the fun side. So even though she was only 6 months old I sat her in my lap and read her two stories, The Nativity Story and Twas the Night Before Christmas. I know they are both long and totally on opposite sides of the map but it was important to me to expose her to both. I really love this special time during what is usually a crazy day and night. It gives us a chance to sit and listen calmly and when you have a toddler calmness is like gold.
Grandparent Gift Packs – My daughter sees us shopping and wrapping all of the gifts for the family. She understands how much time we take and how special we try to make each gift we give. This year she said she wanted to make a gift for her grandparents. I decided to make it extra special, a gift which only she could make. I came up with the Grandparent Gift Pack. We have found the one thing grandparents can never get enoughof. Pictures of their grandkids, so they each get their very own gift and photos. This year we headed to the mall, took a pic with Santa and make a wonderful homemade craft. This year it is going to be hand print Christmas trees. Each one will have a special note, signed by her and will be sealed with a kiss. What better gift could a grandparent get?
Special Ornaments – Again this is a pass down from my family. Every year my mom would, still does for that matter, take a lot of time and pick out a special ornament signifying something special which happened to us that year. As a result, there are no generic trees in our family. I have ornaments ranging from the year I was born till last year. When we got married my husband started receiving one as well. We now get to continue this tradition with our kids.
Being Christmas Angels – We are very blessed. There is no doubt about it. No matter how pinched we feel, and of course we tend to near the holidays, there is always time for others and those who are less fortunate. My husband and I started this tradition when we were dating and it is something I find very important. We are now going to be teaching the lesson of giving to my daughter. Whether you participate in an angel tree, toys for tots, food bank, or other programs, it is important to remember to give back. This is the season of giving for a reason. Even if you are not particularly religious the lesson of Christmas can still be felt and seen in charity and the helping of others.
Whatever your Christmas traditions are, cherish them with your family. Remember these are the moments the kids will remember forever and what makes the holiday such a special time.
What are some of your best holiday traditions??
Kristin, The Perfectionist Mom
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