I love the holidays!
Some of my favorite memories as a child are around Christmas. There really is such a magic about it all and it is so fun to see my kids living it now. I love making a list of things for us to try and do at the beginning of each month. If we don’t get to it, it’s fine but it helps to direct me when I’m in a slump or caught up in the busyness of life. Like this past Halloween had come and gone and I realized we forgot to carve pumpkins. Not the end of the world…but I would have liked too.
It’s fun to start traditions around the holidays because your kids start looking forward to them each year and they may carry them on to their children one day!
I’m going to list some of my favorites and some other’s I’ve heard about recently that I’d love to start doing. A plus is most of them don’t cost a thing!
- Surprising with matching Christmas PJs! Either on Christmas eve to wear that night or earlier in the month so you get more wear and picture opportunities out of them. This year was the first time I thought to give my kids their PJs minutes before we started decorating the tree and they were so excited. I’ll definitely continue doing that. Maybe they show up when your elf does 😉
- Countdown to Christmas kindness chain or advent calendar. My kids love doing this. It’s simple and gets them thinking about giving instead of receiving in the days leading up to Christmas. You can start this anytime and do the number of days til Christmas. We get out red and green paper, cut in rows, write an act of kindness (ie. pay for car behind us in the drive-thru, compliment someone, send letters in mail to great grandmas, donate toys etc.) It can be whatever your family chooses, I love seeing the things they come up with! You connect each one to the other using a staple until you have a chain. Every morning the kids pull one off and we all focus on it that day and share about it at the dinner table.
- My mom used to wait until Christmas morning to put baby Jesus in the manager of her nativity set. She would also slowly move the wise men down our staircase (it was an open floorplan staircase) towards the nativity scene. Seeing them get closer got us so excited and then we would look in the manager for Jesus on Christmas morning! It’s a simple and fun way to remind kids of the real meaning of Christmas. In my nativity set Mary is holding Jesus so I can’t do this, but I have decided I’m going to try and find one for the kids that they could play with and has a removable baby Jesus. So he can appear on Christmas morning! This nativity set would be perfect.
- Surprise Hot Chocolate Christmas Light Adventure! A friend of mine shared this tradition with me and my kids love it!! On a random night while the kids are getting their PJs on and getting ready for bed (cue the Christmas jammies) you go crazy and start yelling repeatedly, It’s “Cocoa Lights Night!” Haha ok so if I’m being honest, I don’t remember what she told me they called it but that is what I named it! You throw their jackets on, make hot chocolate to go, or go through McDonald’s or Dairy Queen drive-thru for a cup of hot chocolate, and go on a drive to see Christmas lights (your favorite Christmas music playing in the car of course!) I am getting excited just thinking about doing this again with my kids! The surprise factor makes all the difference! Please tag me if y’all do this so I can join in on the fun! #cocoalightsnight
- This same mom shared her Christmas morning tradition with me. On Christmas morning the first person to wake up can’t get out of their room. They have to sing a Christmas song on the top of their lungs until everyone else wakes up and joins in. Her kids are grown now and when they come home for Christmas they STILL do this! I think it’s the best idea. Hadley will be up first on Christmas morning so I will be sure to video how it all unfolds!
- Kids love to buy presents for others and it’s hard to remember and find the time to take them shopping but it’s definitely worth it. My parents used to take all 5 of us to the dollar store and gave us each 6 dollars to buy 1 gift for each person (including our parents). My husband and I took Hadley and Bennett last year and did this. They had a good time and had even more fun wrapping and watching the gifts they picked out get opened. It’s hilarious to see the things they pick out!
Some more common ones worth mentioning:
- Visiting Santa
- Reading the Twas the night before Christmas before bed on Christmas Eve (see picture below of our attempt at this last year 🙈)
- Watching your towns Christmas parade and or tree lighting
- Making cookies to leave out for Santa on Christmas eve along with milk, carrots for the reindeer and a note.
- Elf on a shelf
- Making reindeer dust to sprinkle in the yard on Christmas Eve
- Seeing a Christmas play or going to a Christmas Eve service at a church
- Watching all the classic Christmas movies (pick a night or 2 each week to watch one together)
- Decorate a gingerbread house
I hope this list is a helpful start at some traditions you can begin with your families. I’d love to hear your stories!