Wednesday, November 30, 2011

christmas traditions

december first is tomorrow and already we've started moving into the holiday season. i don't know about you, but i grew up in a house where each holiday was celebrated with gusto. we had green cookies for st. patrick's day, made ridiculous amounts of valentines for valentine's day and christmas, well, there was no comparison.

having kids of my own, i wanted to start some traditions that would become a part of their christmas celebrations. here are five we've adopted over the years. we'll continue sharing our ideas (and some we've borrowed from friends of ours) over then next couple of weeks. if you have amazing christmas traditions you would love to share, let us know. we'd love to do another post featuring your best ideas.

the elf on the shelf: this little wonder is pure genius. he "hides" all over the house and watches little boys and girls to report back to santa. i only wish he could stick around all year long!

christmas cookies: my kids and i make a ton of christmas treats and cookies over a weekend in december and then deliver them to friends and neighbors nearby. my kids love to be a part of this process and it teaches them a bit about giving during this holiday season. check out our mmmmm, mondays this month for some great christmas treats.

sibling gift giving: along the same lines as the christmas cookies, my kids are a part of shopping for christmas. i didn't like how christmas had become a day all about "i want" lists. so, they are now fully a part of the shopping process. each of the kids gets one special present from their siblings. the kids have to help pick out the present, help wrap it and usually work on a card for their sibling. surprisingly, the kids are usually more excited about seeing their brother or sister open their gift to them than they are about opening some of the presents of their own.

gifts for parents: this same principle continues as they shop for their parents. each child gets a $10.00 budget to buy something for their each of their parents. the hope is that at some point, they will use their own money to purchase these gifts. mind you, these gifts may be pretty random and you'll have to put on your best academy award winning performances come christmas morning but the kids love to be a part of the shopping for christmas gifts for their mom and dad. it's also pretty amazing to see them get excited about something besides receiving.

operation christmas child/angel trees/other charity: we as a family do something for those less fortunate each christmas. we love operation christmas child and the kids are always a part of putting together the shoe boxes to send to needy kids in foreign countries. operation christmas child has online shipping payments as well where you can register your christmas box and then follow it on it's journey to another country. this is an amazing opportunity to show your children how fortunate they are and to put things in perspective. there's nothing like packing up a bar of soap and a toothbrush to give your children some perspective. angel trees can be found in various locations and you can adopt a family member or just purchase a gift for someone in your own community who has some extra needs this holiday season. regardless, check these charities out.

happy christmas preparations. we know this time of the year can be crazy and full of activity. we hope this gives you some ideas for making the season memorable for you and your family.


  1. Lovely traditions :)

    Here I tend to blog daily in December - mad I know, but think I'll try again.

    We always have advent calendars (with windows and chocolates behind).

    We also have an Austrian Christmas Pyramid which we light the candles of each sunday evening for the 4 weeks before christmas, and sing a carol or two.

    On Christmas Eve we always go for a walk to see the neighbours christmas lights, then home for hot chocolate, and a christmas movie.

    Finally we leave out a glass of port, a mince pie and a carrot beside the chimney before we head for bed.

    I'm feeling all christmassy now :)

  2. Your last comment about the Angel Tree is what adds the depth to Christmas I think and may I add a perspective from a seniors point of view.
    There are a lot of lonely seniors out there over Christmas and my family has decided to have 2 from the old age home for this year to sit with us at our Christmas dinner. If it works well then we will keep up the tradition.
    Seniors, parents-in-law & grand parents might say they don't need anything for Christmas but there are lots of comforts you can buy them.
    - a hamper of toiletries,
    - a magnifying glass to go over the tv,
    - reading glasses with a small light on either side of the glasses from Walgreens,
    - a key finder, I've seen them on line,
    - a phone for seniors with larger keys and letters on the screen, like a Tracfone SVC.
    The best gift of all for the elderly is to give them your time, take them to Starbucks for a coffee, take them to a park or kiddies playground.
    I think Christmas is about doing a charitable event which is just as important as the kids getting great gifts and letting them make the Christmas cards.