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So You Want to Have Traditions of Your Own?
Memories are gifts that we treasure in our hearts. That is what the Christmas season is really good at providing: Moments full of opportunities to make memories. Everyone seems to have different traditions to help them celebrate this time of year. Some traditions are passed down from generation to generation. Others are started anew each and every year. I have a few traditions that I have kept alive from when I was growing up and I have started a few of my own now that I have children. I thought it could be fun to share a few traditions for you to try this Holiday Season.
1. Christmas Tree Farm Adventure
If your allergies can tolerate a REAL Christmas tree then try finding and supporting a local Christmas Tree Farm. Ever since I have been married, my husband and I have gone to the same Christmas Tree Farm to cut down our tree. Now that we have 3 kids, it has become a fun tradition that leaves us both happy and exhausted. Our kids love the whole process of finding the ‘PERFECT’ tree. The Christmas Tree Farms around us typically have a ton of fun activities for kids like pedal cars, rubber ducky water races, tree houses, hay rides, s’mores around a campfire, fishing in the pond and even farm animals to interact with. It really is an awesome experience. Our family takes a picture in the same spot every year. My goal is to have one with each kid through their senior year of high school. They don’t know that yet…and I am sure it will be VERY uncool at some point but I absolutely do not care. The tree farm really is absolutely perfect for photo ops:
2. Bake/decorate cookies for Santa
I wait all year to eat gingerbread cookies. I love them. Once my son was old enough, we started actually making gingerbread man cookies for Santa. It is an activity that I look forward to each year and I enjoy spending that time with him. His decoration skills are improving with age and ability. Yes, it makes a tremendous mess in my kitchen but it is worth it. If cookies aren’t your jam, maybe my Mommaw’s Chocolate Pie is more your style. Santa would surely appreciate a little variety in treats. I will link my favorite gingerbread cookie recipe I have found so far. We have used it for the past 2 years and have been very happy with with finished product:
Gimme Some Oven Gingerbread Cookie Recipe HERE:
Here is photo evidence that this tradition is a crowd pleaser for sure!
3. Open ONE present on Christmas eve. Spoiler alert: it’s always pajamas!
I cannot take credit for this one. My Mom did this for us every year, without fail. It didn’t matter how late at night it was or how tired we were after a full day of spending time with extended family and/or going to the Christmas Eve Service at our church, when we got home…we opened our Christmas Jammies. Every year I could not wait to see what PJ’s my mom had picked out for me. It was always a surprise and she never disappointed. Opening that box on Christmas Eve night was like the official start of Christmas Day. I carry on that tradition with my own babies now and I love it. I hope I can always find the perfect Christmas jammies like my mom did.
4. Pictures with Santa
Okay, okay…I know you may be rolling your eyes at this one. Honestly, you can make this as easy or as painful as you want it to be. Days of “Mall Santa” pictures as your only option are no more. A lot of local photographers offer Santa picture “mini sessions” where you can sign up for a 10 minute slot for a set fee and you receive a certain number of edited images. This is a nice option because you don’t have a line to wait in, meaning there is less of a chance of meltdowns. The Christmas Tree Farm we go to has a few days during the season where Santa is at the farm and you can pay to take as many picture with him as you want on your personal camera/device. Basically, local business have started to catch on to the trend of Santa pictures and are offering dates/times where you visit Old Saint Nick. Even if you don’t have human children, fur babies are often welcome to take pictures with Santa as well! It may take some effort to make it happen but it is so much fun to look back on all the Santa pictures your family has taken over the years. We have had some pretty good ones over the last 5 years..including the one below:
5. Christmas Crafts with the Kids
Oh, Pinterest. How I love thee. Salt dough, paint, string, glitter, pompoms, sticks, glue…all the things. Find one craft or a hundred crafts. Make one ornament or fill that tree up with handmade delights. Here are a few crafts I found that I will be trying out this year!
Salt Dough Fingerprint Christmas Tree Ornament from Crafty Morning:
Pom Pom Christmas Photo Ornaments from One Little Project:
Easy Pipe Cleaner Christmas Tree Ornament from Pre-K Pages:
6. Read the Christmas story on Christmas eve
Maybe you have heard the expression, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” If you have never read the Christmas story (the story of the birth of Jesus), I would encouraged you to do so this year. The story is found in the Bible in the book of Luke, chapter 2: 1-21. There are also great children books available that tell the story of Christmas in a way that a child can understand. Sure, Santa and reindeer and presents and Christmas trees are fun and exciting, but the real reason we celebrate was born in a stable and placed in a manger thousands of years ago. O come, let us adore Him.
7. Christmas Eve Christmas Movie Marathon
This is the tradition that my husband brought to the family. We start at breakfast time and play different movies throughout the day. We may not be parked on the couch in front of the TV all day because we have 3 kids ages 4 and under so we don’t ever get to sit for long periods of time- but we leave them on nevertheless. From classics like THE GRINCH, MERRY CHRISTMAS CHARLIE BROWN and HOME ALONE, to our favorites like ELF and CHRISTMAS WITH THE KRANKS…we commit to having ONLY Christmas movies on all day long. It is a welcomed reprieve from being forced to watch football like I am on Thanksgiving.
Hopefully, you have found some inspiration here today. Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas. Let us know in the comments what some of your family Christmas traditions are. We would love to hear from you!