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.