Thursday, December 2, 2010

More Christmas Traditions

This is not news to anyone that knows me, but I LOVE Christmas!  I mean LOVE!  I put up my tree the first day it snows and sticks or November 1st, whichever comes first.  Yes, since I live in the mountains near ski resorts, that does mean my tree is up before Halloween.  I blame my mom who always made holidays just sparkle with magic.  I think the thing that makes them the most magical for me are the many, many traditions we have.  Here are just a few more for you.  Maybe you will adopt one or two for your family.  Also, I would love to hear your traditions as well.  Please comment here and/or join me at Couponing Made Simple and share your traditions.  I'm always looking for new traditions to add to our celebration.

Twinkle Lights
       I recently read about a family that spends one night each week driving around town looking at the twinkle lights.  I love this idea and this year we are going to add it to our family Traditions.  My mom and dad use to drag us all over town and made us sing carols, off pitch with made up words and all, while we looked at the lights on Christmas Eve (probably to help pass the time).  I think it's time to introduce my kids to the same, but maybe without the carol singing.  
 Wrapping Them In
       A new tradition we started last year in our family was to have all the kids sleep downstairs in the family room together.  After we have tucked them in for the night, we wrapped the doorway at the top of the stairs. Of course having an enormous sleepover on Christmas Eve was pure excitement and I don't think a couple of the kids slept all night, but that is part of the fun.
       On Christmas morning the kids got to break through the wrapping paper.  It was so much fun.  We got to see our kids faces as they saw the gifts for the first time.  Already, now that we are in a new home, the kids want to know where they are sleeping and if we are wrapping them in again.  This will be a tradition we will continue for years to come.  It's just so much fun for all of us!

The Cereal Game
       Another of my favorite traditions, from my childhood is The Cereal Game.  One of the last things we did before we went to bed was to set the table.  We used my mom's best china and stemware.  Then Santa would leave breakfast.  He always left the individual serving boxes of cereal, wrapped, juice, and fruit.
       On Christmas morning, after we had opened a few gifts and my dad made pancakes, bacon and eggs, we would gather round the table to play the cereal game.  We put all the wrapped mini boxes of cereal in the center of the table and then, using the same rules as the white elephant game, we would open and steal the boxes of cereal from each other.  This was really just about playing the game because if we did decide to eat cereal we just had whatever kind suited us.  It was just a fun way to spend more time together on Christmas morning laughing and enjoying one anther's company and making the magic of the day last.  Now my kids look forward to the game as well. 

Opening Gifts Throughout the Day

       I had a love/hate relationship with this tradition as a kid, but now that I am the parent I just love it.  We torture our children and make them open their gifts throughout the day, rather than all at once, first thing in the morning.  I think we appreciate each gift a little more if we are not rushing on to the next thing.  We like to save the "big" gifts for that evening to keep the magic and anticipation going.  It just makes the day so much fun. 

Gift's To Our Savior

       While we love to celebrate both, we try to keep the birth of Christ and Santa separate.  Every Monday night is Family Night in our family and on the first Monday of December we begin what we call Gifts to Our Savior.  (Again, a tradition from my childhood carried on to my children.)  From that day until Christmas Eve we preform secret acts of service for one another, our extended family, friends, and neighbors.  We write on slips of paper the act of service we preformed and put them in a box that we keep on the coffee table.  We like to keep Christmas Eve centered around Christ until just before bed when one of Santa's elves leaves a Santa Bag on our step.  So that evening, just before acting out the Nativity, we wrap the box and place it under our tree as our gift to our Savior.  We never open the box, just put it away.  Maybe one day, years from now, we will open them and remember those happy memories of our children sneaking into each others rooms to make a bed, or the acts of service we never even knew happened.  I think it's a wonderful way to remember the true meaning of the holiday.

Ten Acts of Giving
       Another of my favorite traditions is our Ten Acts of Giving.  As a family, again on that first Monday in December, we select Ten Acts of Giving to do for others by Christmas Day.  These can be anything from providing Christmas for someone in need, to shoveling snow for a neighbor for the entire month.  We make a plan of how we are going to accomplish our Acts of Giving and then set out to do them together as a family.  If you would like to share your Acts of Giving, please join me at A Season of Giving, where you can share your ideas, inspiration and pictures.  I would love to hear your stories. 

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