Thursday, January 3, 2008


I know that Christmas is over, but I wanted to share some of the things that I had found while trying to look for different ways to establish Christmas traditions for my little family. I really want to build meaningful memories for my children. I feel that the family is so important, and I want them to feel safe in our home. I think that traditions really help to establish the security that every child needs. Some of these traditions have already been established, and others are ones that we started this year or would like to incorporate in the year to come.

Gingerbread Houses & Temple Lights: This was something we started doing as a extended family last year. I have to say that it is so much fun. Tori and Tracy are wonderful enough to make all the gingerbread from scratch, and it really has provided the best memories. This year we went and saw the temple lights afterwards, and I think that it would be great to continue doing it this way. We had a friend get together a few days after Christmas, and the kids demolished it. Caden wasn't feeling too well that night and didn't discover the evidence until a few days later. He was a little upset, but next year we will get to do a new one. Here is the before and after. :)

A New Ornament: In the past we had always gotten the kids a new ornament each year that signified some sort of accomplishment or whatever they were infatuated with that particular year. This Christmas we started a new twist on the ornament. As I had stated previously, this year I was really not into getting toys for my kids. I felt like they had so much stuff already. So the new thing we did was this. Caden's gift from us was tickets to go to the Monster Truck Jam. The ornament that he got to unwrap was a Monster Truck that we converted into an ornament. Now in the future we will plan some sort of event or thing to go do with our kids, and the ornament they open will represent the activity that we will share. So not only will we be able to do something special with just them...they will have a new ornament with their name and year to remember what gift they received from us. Since Sydney is so young this year...we didn't exactly go the same route, but we did get her a Care Bear ornament. That girl is so in love with those things. She got one for her birthday this year that came with a DVD, and if I let her she would watch it all day long. I can only take so much of "We are Care Bears...La, La,La, la laaaaaa!" It is a music video that is on the DVD.

Reading a Christmas Story every night: Back in the day when I was in Young Women's (a youth group in my church for girls 12-18) my leaders had given us a book that had a scripture, a song, and a story to read every single night up until Christmas. I think it is a wonderful idea, but my kids didn't dig it so much. They really need something with pictures. So my plan is to collect enough children's Christmas books throughout the year so we have one to read each night before they go to bed. I will wrap them up and they will get to open a new one each night. If you have any suggestions of a favorite book...Please let me know!

Christmas Eve Pajamas: This is something I have done since Caden was born. I love the Old Navy sleep sets and buy them a new one each year. I am sad because this is the last year that I can get the Old Navy ones for Caden...They don't sell the sleep sets in sizes bigger than 5T. Regardless, it is always the one gift that they get to open on Christmas Eve. I love how cute they always look in them.

Neighbor Gifts: I have always wanted to do this, but have never been organized enough to get something together. Julie aka Crazy Mama of 6, called attention to this fabulous lady who compiled a list of easy and fast ways to to put together something to give to the neighbors...Now I just have to pick which one we will want to do next year! I think this is something fun to get together, and helps the kids to get in the spirit of giving instead of receiving.

Birthday Party for Jesus: My friend Katie gave me this idea. We weren't able to do it this year, but I plan on incorporating next year. So many times children get caught up in the Santa aspect of the holiday. I want my children to recognize the importance of why we really celebrate Christmas. I think if we have a family night were we have a "birthday party" for Jesus with a cake and all...then it can help them to understand what an important role our Savior plays during this time of year.

Christmas Breakfast: Shawn's step mom established this tradition a few years ago. We always go over to Shawn's dads for a Christmas morning breakfast. It is great because I don't have to cook! It is always something that we look forward to and it is always great to spend time with Shawn's Dad. I might end up incorporating Staci's idea of waffles/ice cream/strawberries for a meal with just Shawn, me and the kids...since we go to Shawn's dad's on Christmas...maybe we will try doing this on Christmas Eve Morning.

Acting out the Nativity: Right now there aren't enough grand kids to participate in a live reenactment of the Nativity, but we did buy the Little People Nativity, Lil Shepherds, and Lil' Drummer Boy set for the kids this year. Maybe we can have the kids do it using all the toys. I think this is important for them to understand, and would be a fun way to use the set...and something that we can do with just our little unit instead of the extended family.

These are just a few that I really like, and there a ton more that I have to mull over and decide which ones to use. Here are also a few sites that give ideas of different traditions.

Cafe Traditions
The Sprague Lab - (thanks Abbie)
Garden View Cottage - this is a blog I stumbled upon where she shared 14 of her favorite traditions. One of the ones I liked was tradition #11 where she made pillowcases out of Christmas fabric...I might just do that...we will see.

Also if you have any others that you would like to tell me about...I would LOVE to hear them! I can't wait to gear up for next year! Christmas is such a great season, and I am so sad to see it go (so is Caden...because I have been sick, we have yet to get our decorations down. Caden gets upset every time I mention taking the tree down - He says he wants Christmas to last forever)! One thing that I hope to do this year is start my shopping early. Every year I say that I will, but end up scrambling in the end...Here is to hoping!

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Amy said...

Those are really good ideas! I think a good one (I plan on starting next year) is the 12 Days of Christmas. There are so many different versions of it...a couple...

One is the Nativity version. You buy a Nativity set and each of the "12 days" you give the chosen family one of the figures to the Nativity with a short story/scripture of their role in Jesus' birth. You end on Christmas Eve with the baby Jesus. So by Christmas, the family would have the whole Nativity and would have read the whole Christmas story. Pretty cool.

Another is the version where you choose a family that's having a difficult time and each of the 12 days give them small toys or food or whatever you think they need.

I think it's a good idea to teach your kids about service and doing something for others at Christmastime. They'd also think it's fun to drop the stuff at the door, ring the doorbell, and run. The trick is not getting caught the whole 12 days.

Heather and Spencer said...

I love your ideas. I too feel it's important to make traditions. Growing up I never had any so I really want to give my kids something secure to look forward to every year. I esp love the birthday party for Jesus! That's great!

Babystepper said...

My parents used to do the "one new Christmas ornament each year" thing with us, but it finally got ridiculous because we couldn't fit a single ornament more on the tree. I'd love to do the same thing for my kids, but we're already starting to have the full tree problem. How do you deal with that? There's got to be some way to make it work without going over the per branch weight limit.

MInTheGap said...

This was the first year that we actually had Christmas home-- and the one tradition we will not have next year is staying out late at "grandpa's" and then being cranky the next day!

Thanks for all of your great ideas. I especially like the one about acting out the nativity!

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