October 26, 2009

Traditionally Speaking...

Now that October is coming to an end and we will be enjoying November in just a few short days, I have really started to get excited about the holidays.

I absolutely love the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas- the decorating, the gift shopping, the food, the cookie swaps, the fun family activities...

We have established several traditions for our family. Some are extension of traditions Tyler and I experienced as kids, and some are new. I thought I'd share a few with you all, and I would love for you to comment about some of your family traditions! Maybe we can add a few more this season!

Every year, we make a big event out of putting up and decorating our Christmas tree. We build a fire in the fireplace, usually get into our pj's, play Christmas music, and take the time to slowly unwrap each ornament and tell the story about how we acquired it, what makes it special, and reminisce about that year. You'd be amazed how solid these stories become in your ind when you revisit them every year- I still remember the details about ornaments I received or made as a child.

After the decorating, we all enjoy Scottish shortbread, plum dumplings, and chamomile tea together before reading a Christmas story. I can't wait to do this soon!

To go along with the concept of our decorating night, Tyler and I purchase an ornament or two for each girl each year. We don't just buy any ornament, though. We try to choose something that relates to each girl for the year. This aids in the reminiscing/story-telling part of our decorating tradition. For example, when Sassy was 2, she was obsessed with dinosaurs, so I searched high and low until I found the perfect girlie dinosaur ornament for her. This year, I will try to find a nice ballet ornament, since she started dance this year... You get the idea.

Another tradition we try to maintain each year is to get dressed up and go out for a nice dinner on Christmas Eve. We used to spend Christmas Eve at my paternal grandmother's house, and once she passed away, we began this tradition. After dinner, we would return home and open one gift apiece, which always happened to be new pajamas. Then, we would get into our new pj's and watch a Christmas movie before bed!

Finally, Tyler and I began a new tradition last season that I read about in an issue of Wondertime magazine (which I am SO sad to report is longer in publication. I loved that magazine)! To prevent going overboard with the holiday shopping, we decided to stick to this little motto (outside of Santa gifts and gifts from family, of course)- each member of the family receives something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read. We had such a great time adhering to this last year, and there is even a little bending room. For instance, Sassy was really into Tinkerbell last year, so her something you want was a package of Tinkerbell things- a doll, a movie, and pajamas.

So, there are some of our favorite holiday traditions. What are some of yours?

9 sweet tweets:

Lexilooo said...

Oh I love these ideas! I love the ornaments, and the "somethings!"

Growing up, we spent Christmas Eve with my father's parents (both sets of grandparents lived in my town). We'd go to Christmas Eve mass and then to their house. On the way home (it was usually around 10pm or so), my mother would always manage to see Santa's sleigh in the sky, so she'd tell us we had to hurry into our jammies when we got home. They were usually new Christmas jammies, and we'd read "The Night Before Christmas" and then lay out our stockings, and then go to bed!

Christmas morning, my mother always makes monkey bread, even today!

Danielle said...

Such great ideas! Thanks for playing along!

Crystin said...

How fun! We do the ornament thing, too, except I wrap it and they open it on Christmas Eve. I had a hard time finding a construction vehicle ornament the year we built our house! We always do a chocolate Advent calendar. I like to take pictures of Santa delivering the presents Christmas Eve and surprise the kids with it in the morning. :)

Crystin said...

Oh, and we get a new Christmas-related book each year and read it before bed on Christmas Eve.

Crystin said...
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The Hoffman Family-Adam, Laura, Easton & Emerson said...

We go to Christmas eve service and open presents that night after church. We always went to my grandma's house because her birthday was Christmas day. She has since passed away so we no longer go there. We now usually hang out with Adam's side.

Mama KG said...

Ooh, I love the Wondertime idea. I've very much been thinking that I want to put a limit on gifts this year, but it's hard to figure out a method. I love that one & I think we'll try it out! I've also heard of a family who gives each child 3 gifts only because that's how many Jesus received. I'm not that disciplined. :)

Growing up, we had a pretty elaborate Christmas Eve tradition... Children's Mass followed by dinner out (at the 1 restaurant in my hometown that was open), then cruising around town looking at Christmas lights & singing carols. We'd then go home and open 1 gift each and usually stay up until the weatherman (it was always a guy) reported that Santa had been spotted flying in the area. Fun times!

Stace said...

Great ideas... I really like the gift one! I wrote about my traditions at: http://seashellsandsunshine.blogspot.com/2009/10/its-most-wonderful-time-of-year-almost.html

amyk said...

I love the idea of something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read. This is wonderful to help from going "overboard" with gifts. Which is something I would never do, but I guess that is for a Not Me Monday post. Thanks for sharing!!!