Thursday, November 28, 2013

Our Family Christmas Traditions...

I love Christmas. The best time of year by far. And we are big on our version of Christmas traditions. We are gearing up to really get started on ours this coming weekend so what better time to share them all with you.

We make an event of putting up our tree. We call it Tree Day and we go big or well, you know what I'm saying. We get started early with a yum breakfast, and I pop a turkey and a ham in the oven. We put on Santa hats, play Christmas music, pull out all the decorations and enjoy it. I sometimes have to step back and let the kids just go when they want to decorate the tree, learning to control my inner Monica is a battle. We laugh, play, take lots of photos. Then we feast! Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, gravy and as of last year sweet potato casserole. While our dinner/lunch settles we put a Christmas movie on and snuggle up on the couch. Then it's dessert, this years will be pecan pie. The littles get some new Christmas pajamas. It's always a great day. It also marks the arrival of Alfie.

Which brings us to the Elf on the Shelf. This is new for us, only a couple of years into it, but the kids adore it. They love waking up each day so excited to look for where Alfie is and what he's been up to. Mia even cried last year on Christmas Eve when she was saying goodbye to him. So sweet!


We go into the city to see Santa, look at the Myer Christmas windows, have coffees (we not for the littles), browse, listen to the carollers, pick up any presents we need to, and just soak up the atmosphere. It's so much fun in the city at christmas time.

Christmas movie nights. We have a regular family movie night every Friday night, except when Todd is working nights when we move it to Saturday. But at Christmas we up the ante. All Christmas, all the time. Christmassy treats, Christmas pajamas, Christmas blankets, Christmas movies. Home Alone, Elf, The Grinch, A Christmas Carol. Love them all. It's the best.

We either go to Christmas carols in person or watch it on the tv and sing along. We have special fake candles the littles use and it's a lot of fun.

Since Todd joined the RAAF we have gone to their Christmas treat which is basically a big Christmas party. Lots of other defence families, fun, plus a visit from Santa where the littles each get a present. They look forward to it each year.

We bake gingerbread cookies that we all decorate together. This ones always interesting, and very messy. 

We go late night shopping. The kids love getting to stay up late, eat out, and we usually get them a little ornament to take home. This year we are using the trip to pick a present to put under the kmart wishing tree. We used to do it, but have forgotten (how awful does that sound!) the last couple of years. 

We have an advent calendar, which we put sweet little ornaments into with the occasional treat thrown in for good measure. This year we have one for each of the littles on their door, and a main one in the living area. I'm planning on adding little notes with activities on them, so they never know what they are going to get. I'm looking forward to this one.

All presents are wrapped ready to go the night before the tree goes up. Except for those for the littles. I like to wrap them progressively and add them under the tree every couple of days. The littles get excited seeing the presents seemingly pop up!

Christmas cards, always sent by December 1st. We also do the cards for school and preschool friends.  With candy canes inside. They love giving them to their friends and they light up when they get one in return.

We pile into the car and go see the Christmas light displays. This is one of my favourite things ever. Twinkly lights are so magical. A few streets near us decorate really well so this year weather permitting we are going to walk around to see them instead of driving.

We bake cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve. I have it on good authority that he likes chocolate chip and peanut butter chocolate spiders. So good.

Christmas Eve we do one last round of Christmas lights, make caramel popcorn, watch a Christmas movie, put out the cookies, milk, reindeer food and water then tuck our excited littles in. Mia and Ryan get to camp out together in either of their rooms, CJ will stick to his cot! Then Todd and I watch another Christmas movie and wait until it's go time.

We like to add a new tradition each year, with the hope that as the children grow it will be a full, magical, special time of year where they know what is in store for them. Hopefully this will only add to their excitement.

Do you have your own family traditions? Please share!

Oh and speaking of Christmas, I've been featured over at The Organised Housewife - talk about a dream come true! Head on over and take a look, she has an amazing daily series happening all about getting organised for Christmas. You won't regret it!


Alyson McMahon said...

I love this, Em! So many great traditions and you're making such wonderful memories for your kids. We do so many of the same. Have you seen (the movie) Santa Claus the movie? Not the ones with Tim Allen. It's an old movie but is SOOO good. It's our fav and was my fav as a kid. Definitely worth checking out. Hope you enjoy all of your traditions this weekend!

thegreatmumadventure MamaD said...

What fabulous traditions!! I think I will do ours as well! We love Home Alone! Favorite movie for christmas! And could you PLEASE - pretty please share the choc. chip peanut butter spider recipe please??

Ashley said...

Such wonderful traditions! I love that you make a complete day out of decorating your tree! This year I feel like we just had to cram it in when we had a spare moment. I am trying to slow down this year and take it all in a little more but the holidays can be so stressful!