I. Love. Christmas.
Especially with kids in the house.
As a child, I loved the holidays during school.
All the crafted Christmas ornaments, the Christmas word searches that filled time when my teachers had gotten through the required materials ahead of schedule (or maybe just given up?) I love being able to do those things with my own kids now.
We crafted our first ornaments- painted plaster ones.
We’ve already gotten out the window cling jellies.
I love these and had to buy new ones this year. I have had some every year since Christmas 2012.
My husband was deployed that year so I threw myself into decorating and establishing traditions to keep my mind off the fact that he was away.
Some of my favorite traditions/decorations include:
The Christmas window cling jellies
I love them, the kids love them, they’re just awesome.
Operation Christmas child box
This is sponsored by Samaritan’s Purse. We have the kids choose gift items to pack a box for a boy or girl. This year it’s a boy box. I feel like it’s a good way to teach generous giving. Some 4-6 year old little man is gonna be pretty stoked this Christmas.
A holiday 5k walk/run
I liked doing this when I was in high school and in decent shape. It’s something I decided to pick back up the year My husband was deployed. One year some friends actually ran the new year’s day, Snowman Shuffle with us! That was a first and likely last.😂 It was easier before kids. Maybe I’ll do it this year- who knows?
Kind of a mine field with gluten free/potato starch free/ cornstarch free baking… But we do what we can. Gotta have Spiringerle and Lebkuchen.
This is a “mommy” thing. It’s cathartic and I love sending and receiving. I skipped a year and I really missed it. But I’m prepared this year and the TN Elstons are sending cards this year!
Hot cocoa and Christmas movies
I haven’t done this one out in the neighborhood in ages, but maybe we will this year. I do switch to Christmas carols/hymns for the bedtime songs each night. It’s a fun way to teach them to the kids.
Candle light service
This was (I thought) super embarrassing last year as my oldest two kids screamed and cried through almost the entire service during which my husband and I had to sing. Maybe it’ll be better this year? All I know is that I remember the kids being “little” and acting like little kids do- loud, crying, and likely sticky. I guess that’s not a bad memory to have.
Reading the Nativity on Christmas Eve
Last year, we used Google Hangouts to do our Christmas Eve traditions “with” my husband’s parents. Technology is really a blessing when you’re 3 states apart.
New to our family this year:
The Jesse Tree/Advent calendar
We’ll be reading through Geraldine McCaughrean’s book The Jesse Tree.
Something they love, something they need, something to read
I’ve combined this with advent countdown and our “how we keep from going overboard on Christmas gifts” idea. We got a total of 21 $1 books (4 of them came with DVDs) from Dollar Tree. Some are fairy tales or educational, but we mostly tried to keep it fairly God, Christ, and Bible centered. I wrapped the books individually so the kids can take turns opening 1 book per day through advent. The DVDs from the 4 books of Bible stories I used to make it so that each kid gets 8 items to open.
24 days of advent÷ 3 kids = Even Stevens
Then on Christmas day, they each get one “wow” gift they’ve been asking for, something they need, like clothes or underwear/socks, and the something to read happens throughout Advent.
My friend Tasha says, “We do 3 gifts. If it’s good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for our people.” I completely agree.
Community Christmas parade
I watched a live stream of the parade last year, but I think this year since my husband won’t be working, we may haul the family down to watch the lights and floats.
There’s so much more I really love, and I promise I haven’t neglected Thanksgiving- each holiday is getting due celebration.
But doing a bit each day is the only way to “do it all” when you’ve got babies and farm duties all still needing done.
What are some of your family’s Christmas traditions?