Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Traditions

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??

5 comments:

  1. These are so fun! I might have to steal some of them for the future :) Next Christmas Mike will be gone :( so we will spend it with my parents but in the future I hope to do Christmas on our own but still visit family sometime. I really want to start our own traditions!

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  2. You are AMAZING, my friend! I LOOOOOOVEd reading about your family traditions at Christmas! I am so inspired by you. Thank you for faithfully sharing on your blog - and for supporting me too! And thank you for that sweet card you gave me! Treasuring it forever!!!!!!!

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  3. Sarah, we have almost exactly the same traditions, down to staying home on Christmas Eve and Christmas day! Oh, and I read the first bit of your next blog and cracked up. Butt drawing, huh? LOL

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  4. How fun!! We began spending Christmas Eve and Day at home as well. Now that our girls are older we tend to not be too stuck on that, but family is much closer so there's no need to sleep elsewhere.

    On Christmas Eve I make Clam Chowder and on Christmas Day Morning I make Cinnamon rolls. Depending on if I'm hosting dinner or if we go to my in-laws, will determine what we have.

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  5. Sarah love reading your traditions! I love the birthday cake idea. We do "christmas eve cheese soup and sausage balls" and open pj's as well. and Watch a Christmas movie. During the night "Santa" sneaks in and drops off stockings in the kids rooms for them to find when they wake up (this gives mom and dad an extra hour of sleep as the joy of opening stocking stuffers is so fun)....at least it did last year! Then we open presents once everyone is awake and eat cinnamon rolls for breakfast too :-) For lunch we do a smaller scale thanksgiving. Cornbread dressing being the main event and of course pies! Each kiddo gets a new ornament each year with the date on it which they will get to take with them when the are grown and gone. when they are old enough to handle it they will each have a 6 foot prelit tree in their room which will contain their own ornaments (collected over the years from family and friends) so when they move away they will already have their own tree and decor to use!

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Thanks for reading! I would love to hear from you!