Every family has their own set of traditions that they do during the holidays. Some families do elf on a shelf, others do an advent calendar, others do acts of kindness. There are so many ways to live out the holiday spirit with our families. The following are the traditions my family shares.
First is the decorating. We all get together to decorate the house and the tree. This is usually done over the course of a few days, cause well, its a lot to do. Tyler helps hang up ornaments and wall decorations and choses the location of lots of decor. Hailey mostly just likes to take things out of the box.
We throw on some Christmas music and sing and dance while we decorate. We usually order dinner too! It's a fun way to spend time with the family. Tyler loves being able to help.
Our next tradition is taking a picture with Santa. My husband grew up always going down to the Macy's in Herald Square, NYC to take the Santa pic with his family. He thinks it's the real Santa experience.
While I do like the Santaland display there, the line can be super long and depending on who you get, they can hurry you along. Plus,there's like a bazillion Santas. Like you might pass 1 or 2 Santas on your way to see "your" Santa. In my mind, it kinda makes it lose the magicalness.
However, since it is a tradition my husband really wants to maintain, we go there every year for our Santa picture. We do try to go early in the season because any mom of young kids knows, Santa meltdowns are real. We like to have the opportunity to visit a different local Santa if the first picture doesn't work out.
Advent Calendar and Nativity
While the decorating and Santa pics are fun, we also want our children to understand the true meaning of Christmas. Each year we set out the nativity and explain how we are waiting to celebrate the birth of Jesus. We talk about the Christmas story and why Jesus is so important,
Each year Tyler understands more and more of the story and the meaning behind the celebration. We also buy an advent calendar each year to help us count down the days to Jesus' birthday.
Now that our children have siblings, we encourage sibling gifts. While Hailey is not quite ready to pick something out for Tyler, we pick out a small gift for Tyler from her.
Tyler on the other hand picks out a gift for Hailey. We encourage him to pick out a gift he thinks she will like and appreciate. We talk about paying attention to what the people we love like because its often not about the cost of a gift but the fact that it means something to the person.
Christmas is a time of giving, so we like to share with others in a variety of ways. One way is baking cookies for the church flea market. It's a fun activity, we get to bake cookie without having to worry about have dozens of cookies in the house, and we get to support our church.
We also like to donate some of our old toys. We go through the things that don't get played with and donate them to the Salvation Army, and other organizations that accept toys. This allows the kids to feel the joy of giving to others and clears some space for their new Christmas presents.
Finally, we like to adopt a child and buy a present for a little boy or girl who otherwise wouldn't have anything to open on Christmas. There are several organizations that have this type of program and many parishes put together a similar program.
Starting last year, our family has participated in the church Christmas pageant. Last year Hailey was the baby Jesus and Tyler and I were shepherds. My husband filmed the pageant.
This year Tyler will reprise his role of shepherd and Hailey will be an angel. Hopefully, this year I can support from the audience, but we'll see how it goes.
I love the pageant because it brings such a sense of community and reinforces the Christmas story. Its a great way to kick off Christmas Eve mass.
Other than that, we usually do some type of Christmas craft during December. We also make cookies to leave out for Santa. We bake them before the pageant and then set them out after we get home. Every Christmas Eve, the bedtime story is The Night Before Christmas. We always do a photo Christmas card and we wear Christmas jammies.
Christmas is my favorite time of year to celebrate with the kiddos. What are your favorite holiday traditions? Please share in the comments!
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