Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Traditions

In our house we have a LOT of Christmas traditions, some conventional, some unconventional and some are just plain fun.

I'm REALLY learning and trying as I get older to make Christmas more about Christs birth, spending time with our family and the spirit of giving more than about the gifts. It's difficult, but we are trying.

Our traditions though we remember year to year.  Our traditions keep us more focused on spending time as a family and the fun of Christmas rather than the gifts, our traditions are important.

One of my favorite traditions/useful Holiday tips that I thought I'd pass along is an idea my husband gave me that his Aunt Kathryn  used to do with her kids and I thought it was just such a brilliant idea.

She would get each of her kids a different wrapping paper and wrap all the gifts in them, and wouldn't tell her girls who's was who's until Christmas morning.

Can you guess who's is who's?
It's a lot of fun to watch my kids try and guess who's is who's (usually wrong because I'm sneaky like that).  It also keeps them from digging under the tree shaking gifts trying to figure out what their gifts are.  I love it and look forward to it every year.

No peeking until Christmas!
My mother in law's birthday is Dec 15, so we always go over to her house on or right near her birthday and get her a real tree (I do an artificial one here at home).  She always makes a big crock pot full of apple cider and has Christmas music on while we all decorate her tree.  I tend to get a bit nutty watching my kids cluster too many ornaments next to each other (my OCD kicks into overdrive), but she is so relaxed and chill she just let's the kids have fun with it.  I need to learn to be more like her on things.  She is one amazing lady.

Kids hanging the lights

the little ones with grandma
 Another fun Christmas tradition that we have is my baking during the week before Christmas (usually Christmas Eve and the day before).  I make white chocolate pretzels, rice crispy treats, fudge, sugar cookies, gingerbread men and sometimes other things, but those are my staples.

My kiddos in the kitchen making sugar cookies

The best part (other than eating them) is decorating them!

My gingerbread men
I think I almost enjoy Christmas eve more than Christmas day.  There is just something magical about that night.  We start out the evening by eating pizza.  Yes, I said pizza.  It's something that my family did when we were kids, and my husband and I carried the tradition on.  We even carried on the tradition in blizzards.

My husband, nephew, and brother in law's going to get pizza in the blizzard of 2009
Yes, we were all trapped in my mother in law's house in the OKC blizzard of 2009 and the men in my family walked about a mile in the snow to Target to get frozen pizzas to carry out our tradition.  You can read all about that Christmas here. It was one of the craziest and best Christmases ever!

After pizza we settle down and get the kids and read about Christ's birth out of Luke.  While we are reading we let the kids take the nativity pieces and move them around to the story.

Each Christmas the kids look forward to this
After we read the Christmas story from the bible, we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.

My MIL makes a cake each year
After they do that we let the kids open one present each.  If we were at my MIL's house, we do this when we get home and my husband puts a big fire in the fireplace.

Waiting to open his one present
It's ALWAYS been PJ's
Every year I get the kids new Christmas jammies.  My son still doesn't remember that each year he gets new pajamas.  Every year he thinks it's a toy.  I think this may be the first year he actually remembers. 

After the kiddos go to bed my husband and I bring down all the "Santa" gifts.  The Santa paper I try and find always has an image of Santa on it and is the traditional red color.  I love waking up Christmas morning and seeing the kids faces.  Every year my husband and I are so excited we usually have to wake the kids up!

We take our time opening presents, mixed in with Christmas music, and have pigs in a blanket for breakfast.  For lunch I usually make a ham and we spend the rest of the day enjoying our time together as a family.

This year we have added Advent to our list of traditions we will be doing.  I look forward each Sunday night to our family bible study together when we do Advent.  (Advent is not biblical, it's just tradition to help remember and anticipate the coming of Christmas and to help us keep focused on Christ during this season).

Our first Advent wreath
When it comes down to it, it's not the presents we remember but the traditions and time spent with our kids and family that sticks in our memory year after year.

What are your favorite Christmas traditions?  I'd LOVE to hear about them in my comments! No matter how your celebrate Christmas this year, I hope you and your family have a wonderful, awesome VERY Merry Christmas.  God Bless.

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  1. We do the Christmas present wrapping paper thing, too. My kids haven't really figured it out yet, though. They're still too little. One thing they do love (at least Maya) is our Elf on the Shelf. She wakes up each morning looking for our friendly house elf, Gus. It's pretty stinkin' cute!

  2. Since I only have one kid he pretty much knows that the presents are his lol, but my mom always did the different wrapping paper for us. I always tease her about the years when she forgot whose was whose and we opened up each others gifts! I do love that we have such a big family and that we get together every year to watch the kids open their presents from Gram and Papa. Last year we started going to your brothers church for the Christmas Eve service since most of the kids take part in the program, and it's great to have every one altogether in the same church for once!


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