Christmas is only a few weeks away! I’m starting to feel the anxiety because as usual, I’m not ready! But I do love the holidays. Yesterday I was driving in the car flipping radio stations and one of my go-to current music stations has switched to all Christmas music, all the time. My first reaction was WHAT?! And then like 2 minutes in I’m singing along. So I’m not ready, but I’m excited! We have so many fun holiday traditions that my kids get all worked up about and watching them have fun is truly my favorite part of the holiday season. As silly and insignificant as some of our traditions are, they’re important to our family. Remembering those things we’ve done every year are some of the things that bind us together and make Christmas special. Our kids look forward to them and I hope they’ll carry some of these on with their own families when they grow up (which better not happen anytime soon).
I’ll share some of my family’s favorites and would love to hear about your family traditions, too. Leave me a comment and let me know how you celebrate the holidays with your gang!
Our 10 Favorite Christmas Traditions
Mom, kudos to you for instilling a love of Christmas cookie baking in me from a young age. Chocolate Crinkles, Jelly Thumbprints, Peanut Butter Kisses, and iced cutouts are a must or there is no Christmas. (If you’re reading, Mom, bring your apron when you fly home in a few weeks. We gonna get our bake on!) Our family has favorite recipes and we make a ton and freeze them in a feeble attempt to make them last the whole holiday season. Usually I fail, but A for effort friends.
My husband’s birthday is in early December so usually the weekend closest to his birthday we get started on decking the halls around here. Depending on the severity of the weather we’ve either gone out to cut our own tree which is so fun (and so expensive – why?!) or we stop at our favorite garden center and pick one out. Once we get it home, we fire up some snacks and Christmas music and let the decorating begin! I love getting out all of our ornaments. So many memories tucked away to rediscover each year!
Church on Christmas Eve
This might be my favorite tradition and not only because it is a solid reminder of what we’re celebrating, but also because by the time you get to church on Christmas Eve everything is done. Hopefully. Mostly. Okay, sometimes I still have a couple of gifts to wrap but the shopping is done, the tree is up, the hustle and bustle is over. Time to just enjoy the holiday.
Elf on the Shelf
This one simultaneously kills me and delights my kids to NO end. We have an Elf named Tootsie who finds a special place to hide every night and the kids have to wake up and find him. You can see some of his shenanigans here. It really is quite fun, until you wake up at 3am and bolt out of bed to make sure the Elf found a new hiding spot. (Wink, wink.) And get this: Last year my husband’s Aunt and Uncle sent my kids an adorable GIRL Elf. So we had to keep her. Her name is Noel and she’s Tootsie’s girlfriend. You guys. Two elves. Send help.
Visiting with Family
We usually have a delicious Christmas dinner at my sister’s house and the whole family comes. My Mom flies in from out-of-state to visit with us and my in-laws usually join us for church on Christmas Eve and for Christmas dinner. We exchange gifts, eat lots of food, and just enjoy hanging out. Christmas is definitely not the same without family there to share it with.
We have TONS of kids’ books. Like, it’s ridiculous. So I keep all of our Christmas books in a tote in the basement and then when the holidays roll around we break it out and ta da! There’s a whole new slew of books to enjoy and get geared up for the holidays. We love rediscovering these every year and it makes me feel uncharacteristically organized to do it this way. Win!
See Christmas Lights
There are a few places in my neck of the woods that have giant light displays, like Sweet Lights at Hershey. We crank up the Christmas music in the car and drive through with some popcorn (bring your own and save about $5 – you’re welcome) and point out which lights are our favorites. Then we hit up the ritzy neighborhoods in town and see who has the most glitzy decorations. This is one of my favorite traditions!
Shopping for the Perfect Gift
Shopping can be all #helpme and whatnot but I love that feeling of finding a gift that I know someone is just going to love. And use. The kids get a lot of stuff so I try to be choosy in what I buy for them. Fun, educational, stimulating are some of the things on my checklist. My favorite place to shop for toys I know my kids are going to love and learn from is Fat Brain Toys.We have tons of their stuff that the kids play with A LOT. Some favorites that we have and my kids love: Squigz, HexHive math game, Brain Food, Boogie Board, and Super Fun Marble Run.
Our Sad Little Christmas Star
This is probably not going to be a tradition you want to piggyback on but we are an odd family and we love it. Every year when we unpack the Christmas decorations and get the tree up the last thing to go on the tree is the star. We have this chintzy looking lighted star that’s a total hunk of junk and I badly want to replace it…which I did! I bought this really modern metal, rustic looking thing that sits on the tree and I like it. But no one else does. They want the chintzy lights. And so every year I lose that battle. It’s gotten so I kind of look forward to it. 😉
Christmas Movies & TV Specials
It gets dark at about 2pm around here now. Okay I’m exaggerating but it’s dark early and so cold, so movie night happens a little more frequently leading up to the holidays which is fine with me because we LOVE Christmas movies! Elf and Arthur Christmas are my two favorites. And then the TV specials are just the best! How the Grinch Stole Christmas is one we always make a point to watch and I’m super excited this year because it’s the 50th Anniversary of A Charlie Brown Christmas! If that show doesn’t get your Christmas spirit soaring nothing will. My favorite!
What would you add? Tell me about your family traditions!