Traditions create memories and a sense of belonging in a family. Here are some of our Christmas traditions -- many I'm sure you've heard of before, but some are unique to our family.
~ The kids get pajamas each Christmas Eve and an ornament each Christmas.
~ On Christmas Day we read the story of Jesus's birth and re-enact it with our nativity set. We have the Little People nativity set by Fisher Price that the kids can play with (and there's no chance of it breaking!).
~ At some point during the Christmas season we drive around and look at Christmas lights in our community. Our newspaper has a list so we can spend a night driving around and looking at the most impressive ones. Last year we found one that was timed to music on a radio station!
~ We set our fake Christmas tree up in the backyard and then we go search for a Christmas tree to "cut down". This year we walked all over the neighbourhood admiring the Christmas lights before we found the perfect tree right there in our own backyard. Next year I might "plant" the tree somewhere else to add to the excitement.
~ We have a family sleepover on Christmas Eve where we all camp out in the family room after watching a Christmas movie. Some of our favourite Christmas movies are:
* How the Grinch Stole Christmas (animated!)
* The Toy that Saved Christmas (Veggie Tales)
* Small One (Disney short)
* Elf (Will Ferrell)
* It's a Wonderful Life (Jimmy Stewart)
* The Family Man (Nicholas Cage)
One thing we don't do is wake up early. My kids are both night owls (like me!) and would rather lay awake at night buzzing with excitement about what's to come than go to sleep early and wake up early. This could be in part because at our house no present is opened without Mom and Dad watching so waking up excessively early just means you have to wait longer...
~ I take the kids stocking stuffer shopping at the dollar store where they can each buy a couple presents for each family member's stocking. The kids are able to practice the art of giving by thinking of what each person would like (and because we're at the dollar store it doesn't cost too much of our money!).
Two years ago, Elijah (then 2 1/2 years old) bought me a red train for my stocking. Once Desiree bought Daddy a set of water paints so that he could paint with her and a pair of work gloves. It's so neat to see what they come up with.
I love that the kids have the opportunity to give. By having them do the choosing, wrapping and sneaking around, I hope they're learning that "It's more blessed to give than to receive". They sure have a lot of fun, that's for sure!
What Christmas traditions do you have in your family?
~❀~ Chelsey ~❀~