It's the most wonderful time of the year! Along with pretty much everyone else, this is my most favorite holiday. As my children age, it just keeps getting better and better!!
Establishing traditions is one of my goals during the holiday season. I am a sentimental person, and I am hopeful my kids will grow up with fond memories of their childhood Christmases.
Most, if not all, of my traditions are not original. I glean ideas from others and make it my own. The Happy Home Fairy is a wonderful resource for making your holiday magical.
The Williams Family traditions:
- We stay home for Christmas. We travel during the holiday break, but for Christmas Eve and Day, we are home. To be honest, this was hard to do because I know family members on both sides want to see our kids, but I wanted to do what was best for our family. We welcome anyone who wants to come visit on Christmas, so we are great to have others in our home. And there are many reasons we choose to stay home. The top ones are:
~Part of having traditions is doing them each year. Traveling makes that difficult.
~As a whole, my family does not sleep well away from home. I did not want us all to be exhausted every Christmas morning.
~Santa remains magical because we do not have to discreetly transport gifts.
- During the month of December, we have Elf Elf (Caleb named him). Elf Elf is (obviously) an elf. I hide him each night (out in the open but in funny places) after my kids are in bed. They each find him when they wake up in the morning. This is our first year to do this and they LOVE it. I am having fun finding new places for Elf Elf to hide.
- We are doing a chocolate Advent calendar (one for each of my older two), as well as an Advent calendar with verses each day that, all together, will eventually tell the Christmas story.
- I typically limit my gift buying to two nicer gifts for each child. I do not buy them much during the year, so I like to splurge at Christmas. But I don't overdo it. Instead of buying what's on sale or a bargain, I consider what they'll truly love and play with. It may cost extra, but no matter how cheap something is, if they don't play with it, it's a waste of money. They receive a lot of gifts from family, as well, so there is a lot to open.
- As my kids take a bath on Christmas Eve, the "jammy elf" delivers coordinating pajamas. They have something small to open, and the pictures in the morning are cute, since they coordinate. Some years this is easier than others, since having boys and a girl is a little tricky.
Once their jammas are on, we read the Christmas Story from the Bible.
- On Christmas Day, after gifts are opened, we make a birthday cake for Jesus. Caleb and Chloe assist in this (as they love to help in the kitchen). Luke will, too, once he's older. We sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. This, more than anything, probably helps my kids identify it's about Jesus, not us.
- Our tree topper is a gold crown, to represent the King of Kings. Jesus is truly the reason we celebrate, so I do what I can to make him the focal point.
- This year, I was given a really cool idea: to write a letter to your kids and say that it is Jesus' birthday but He wants them to have the gifts. I plan to do that!
- I buy my children photo ornaments each year. I will give them the collection as a wedding gift. I used to try to get photo ornaments that were something they're interested in, but I have had trouble finding those in recent years. So this year, it was just a frame with "2010" on it. My tree is tacky, but it's sweet.
- For Christmas Eve dinner, we do an appetizer spread. I love appetizers, so this is a fun time to make a lot of them! For Christmas Day, we eat lasagna or tacos (depending on my mood).
- Lastly, I was given a "Christmas Memories Book" as a wedding gift. Each year, I record the highlights of the day, as well as put our family's Christmas card in it. Even in just the short years we've been married, this is a treasure to me.
Merry Christmas!! I hope you have a most wonderful holiday season with your family.
What are some of your favorite family traditions??