I thought this might be a good time to post some of our favorite holiday traditions for all to enjoy. So, here goes...
We always have the grammies and our auntie come over for homemade pizza on Friday after Thanksgiving to put up our tree. After dinner, we put up the tree, watch White Christmas (singing loudly on "Sisters"), and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies.
We love to have the children choose a new ornament each year. We usually go out for lunch or dinner and then head to a local Hallmark store. We love these ornaments, because there is a good selection, they are collectible, and they are well-packaged for use from year to year. I say that I will send them off to their own homes with this collection of ornaments, but how will I part with them?! ;)
Okay, this isn't a tradition, as we just started it this year, but we have been working on a beautiful advent puzzle as a family this year. This was the perfect year to begin with hubby being home-bound due to injury and the children being older.
I always make gingerbread playdough for the children to play with and pretend to bake gingerbread men/women complete with button eyes and rickrack icing. The smell is so yummy, so I have to remind the children not to taste it!
We have a huge collection of Christmas books that we get out each year. I don't pressure myself to read them all every single year, but we do try to get to each of the favorites and a few new ones. Some faves include "The Best Christmas Pagent Ever", "Who's Coming to Our House?", "The First Christmas" (Pop-Up), "The Gingerbread Baby", and "The Legend of the Poinsetta".
We do "Jesus stockings" where the children choose an item from the World Vision or Samaritan's Purse catalog and then do chores to earn the money to keep in their stocking until Christmas. They take the money they have earned to purchase the gift to "do to the least of these" as our Christmas offering to Him.
We have a sweet advent calendar that I purchased one year from CBD. It was pricey, but I love it and so do the children. This year, our aunt also bought us the chocolate filled calendars and the children have really been enjoying these.
Hubby and I light the fireplace, turn off all but the Christmas lights, and watch "It's a Wonderful Life" at least once during December.
Hubby takes a Christmas shopping night with some of his buddies from his former job. They always make short work of the shopping and long work of the steak dinner they reward themselves with at the end!
A red velvet cake has always been a tradition in my extended family on Christmas day. When I was younger, it was for my uncle, who has a Christmas Eve birthday. But now, in our immediate family, we call it the Jesus Birthday Cake and remind ourselves of the blood He shed to cleanse us from our sin.
I have lots of child-friendly nativity sets - the playmobil one, the fisher-price one, and another one that I got from the Hallmark store years ago. I also have a fabric one that I opted not to get out this year. My children love playing with these and they are considered so special because they only come out once a year, that they are the most popular items to play with in December around here. My favorite nativity set though, is one that my mom got me a few years ago - made by Jim Shore. LOVE it! No children allowed to play with that one, though!
These are some of the things that have brought special meaning to our family in December. Maybe next I should write the post about the traditions that I never started, but wanted to, or the traditions that we have scrapped! Can you say gingerbread house?