Now that our family is growing, it seems like a perfect time to establish some fun holiday traditions. When I think of my childhood, I can’t help but smile at the happy memories that come to mind, many of which involve traditions.
In my family, almost always spent Christmas eve with my mom’s side of the family. Christmas day was often spent with my Dad’s side of the family. We would usually go to church on Christmas eve and would have a nice lazy morning of opening gifts with a light breakfast followed by a larger dinner.
In J’s family, his mom makes each person these pretty Christmas stockings which now have a happy home on our staircase since we don’t have a mantle. His family also makes a big breakfast on Christmas morning- brunch is my favorite meal, so I’m excited to keep this going! I really want our children to grow up with lots of fond memories of their childhood holidays.
I would to begin building these traditions early, not only to make it more fun for them but to help them to understand the true meaning of Christmas. With that in mind, getting to church will continue to be a big part of Christmas for us. This is not how every family rolls, and I respect that but for us it will always be important. One of A’s gifts is a board book of the story of Jesus’ birth. Once A is a little older we can move on to reading it out of the actual bible, but while our kids are young, I figure they might enjoy the story a bit more with visuals. We have a beautiful manger that was passed down from my husband’s grandmother which will always have a happy place in our home.
In addition to the sweet Baby’s First Christmas ornament that my mother in-law sent A from a recent trip to Disneyland, I also wanted a keepsake ornament to commemorate A being born this year. I looked all over and wasn’t exactly blown away by what I found. And then while I was perusing Etsy, I came across Timber Green Woods. Located in Wisconsin, Timbergreen Farm is a tree farm that makes a variety of items from sustainably harvested wood. Their engraved snowflake ornaments are just so beautiful; I knew the minute that I started browsing their shop that my search was over. They were also super easy to work with and the ornament came in a timely manner. We could not be happier with this addition to our tree.
I also want to give our children different experiences in terms of volunteering and helping others. I find myself struggling with when I can begin bring A into situations like volunteering at soup kitchens and other types of volunteering like this. It’s important that this is a consistent thing as A grows up because I really want her to appreciate the fact that not everyone has it as easy as we do and that paying it forward is so important. This year, we are donating to a local children’s hospital. At this season of our life, we are limited in what we can afford, and as A gets older I look forward to giving time as well. I also love the idea of adopting a family at the holidays, but we were a little late this year and missed the boat on that.
We happen to live in a neighborhood with some very nice neighbors. To spread some holiday cheer, I whipped up some delicious Orange Cranberry Cakes (you can find the recipe at Emily Bites) and dressed A up in one of her many holiday outfits and headed out into our neighborhood to deliver these goodies. They were quite well received, and our neighbors were even more excited to see A.
Another tradition we decided to start was A’s Christmas tree. The idea behind this is that each year A gets to choose a small tree of her own (I know this sounds like it has potential to be expensive but we would give her limits in what she can choose in terms of size and price range, etc.). From there she will also get to choose one ornament each year. Not only is it something fun and exciting for A to look forward to, but each child will build up a collection of ornaments to eventually bring into their own homes as they get older. We also get the added benefit of the scent of a real tree without all of the maintenance of having a huge tree.
I’m looking forward to seeing how our family’s traditions grow and change as our family grows. Every day is a blessing and we have so very much to be thankful for.
I’d love to hear what traditions other people enjoy with their families!