Monday, January 6, 2020

Christmas Traditions

One day in December Ellie showed me a mini book she was making of all our Christmas traditions. Until I took a minute to read through her sweet book, I kind of thought we didn't really have that many traditions. But we do! And it was so fun to see which things she picked out. I don't have it with me but here are a few favorites I could think of today:

+ Christmas Eve Program
For the last few years Ellie or Landon have helped me plan this. We read about the Savior's birth from Luke and act out the nativity and sing Christmas songs and often add in some other fun music like handbells and cello this year.

+ Christmas Eve Room
One year just for logistics, we had all the kids sleep in the guest room downstairs together on Christmas Eve. I think I strung up a strand of lights and set out a basket of Christmas books.  The next year the kids were super excited to sleep in the Christmas Eve Room and this happy tradition was started! Now we decorate on purpose and the kids look forward to this special night. This was the happiest accident that still always has all of the kids excited to go to bed on Christmas Eve.

+ Cinnamon Bear
Throughout December (when we can) we gather up with blankets and pillows in the front room with all the lights off except the Christmas tree and listen to the Cinnamon Bear before bedtime.  This year I felt like I did a lot better at just relaxing and enjoying the cozyness (instead of trying to get something done/finished up/worked on) while listening. This was great, except then I had to get back up from a so-cozy spot to help get all the kids to bed!

+ Pizzelle Making
Beginning probably December 1, the kids start asking "when can we make pizzelles?!?" I love that they love to help with this! This started with a single batch for our nearest neighbors in Provo and each year we make and share a few more than the year before. And we have an amazing little system worked out with cookie makers, edge trimmers, timers... so fun! This is my favorite.

+ Music
Forever favorites -- Peter Breinholt, Amy Grant, Celine Dion, Michael W. Smith, NSync (this has faded out of my rotation I guess, but it still makes me happy and has to be included :)

Newer and still long-time favorites -- Lower Lights, Lady Antebellum, Mindy Gledhill, Ingrid Michaelson (newer)

+ 12 Days of Christmas
Just like my grandparents did for us when I was kid, my Dad & Shauna send gifts for the kids to open, one each day for the 12 days leading up to Christmas. This year they loved most the breakfast cereals and pajamas.

+ Gift Giving/Christmas Morning
We get each of the kids a book, a toy, something for a hobby, and a game. I love to wrap presents so everything is wrapped!  Christmas morning we wake up and open stockings (Ellie's favorite part of Christmas Day, and one of my favorites for picking things out. Then we have breakfast (a breakfast casserole and cinnamon rolls -- most often refrigerator biscuit style :), and then we open presents.

+ Other little things --
Decorating with our same favorite decorations each year, putting up our tree and putting ornaments up, lighting candles or simmering a pot full of yummy smelling things, lighting up our round-about tree that our neighbor and friend decorates, sledding at the park, looking for ways to help and share.