This Christmas will officially be my first Christmas not being home with my side of the family for the Christmas holiday. Every time I hear the song, "I'll be home for Christmas" come on the radio, I start to get teary eyed and realize how bummed I am about it. (But we get to spend the week leading up to Christmas with my hubby's side of the family though and I am so excited about that:)
Since our Christmas season has been a little different without family nearby, I decided to focus on starting some new traditions and carrying on some old family traditions with my little family this year. So to get some inspiration, I asked some of my favorite bloggy friends to share their family traditions with us all.
Here are just a few of the traditions our family will be doing this year...
1. My super crafty mom-in-law made this advent calendar for my girls last year and we will be eating a treat a day- counting down the days until til Christmas comes:)
2. It has been a family tradition since I was a little girl, that we listened to the tape and followed along with the book- The Polar Express and I got to ring the bell every time you were supposed to hear Santa's bell in the book. We are definitely carrying on this tradition with my little family and I am thinking Little Miss B is just old enough to be the new "bell ringer" in our family. She is going to love it!
3. We will be writing letters to Santa, with the help of this Dear Santa Letterform Printable that I made this year to share, and making cookies for him to leave out on Christmas Eve.
4. Every Christmas Eve we let our girls open one present and it is always new jammies to wear to bed that night. They love it! I always try to find fun jammies that are different than anything they currently have so that it is extra special. It helps us to make it to Christmas day a little easier since they know they can open one gift the night before!
5. Growing up since we had 6 kids in our family, we always drew names to see which sibling we gave a gift to that year. This year I started the same tradition with my girls. (since we only have 2 girls- we technically didn't need to draw, but it was funner that way;) We are headed out Christmas shopping this week and I am letting them each choose out a present for their sister- without the help of mom or dad (for the most part;). I really want them to feel like they picked out each others gifts! I can't wait to see what they choose! Could be interesting! :)
Now for the ideas of things I would like to do for next year:
1. I would like to start the elf on a shelf tradition! I didn't realize what it was until recently and I think it sounds so fun. Basically- you have an elf (you can get the real Elf on a Shelf one or just any old elf) and that elf sits somewhere in your house- if you get the real Elf on a Shelf, it comes with a book that talks about how the elf watches the kids and tells Santa if they have been good or not. Every night the elf moves (with the help of mom, dad, and Santa- of course) and the next morning the kids have to find where the elf moved to and make sure that when the elf is watching that they are being good so they the elf gives a good report to Santa Claus. I have heard the funniest stories about kids talking to the elf and telling on their brother or sister! ha ha I think it sounds like such a fun tradition! (I mentioned having one of Santa's elves move in with us and my little girl got a little nervous! ha ha So that is why I am waiting to start this tradition till next year. I will give her a year to mull it over;)
2. As we took some of our neighbor gifts around the neighborhood tonight and I saw the excitement my little 3 year old had at giving a gift to all of our friends, and it reminded me of something my husband and I used to do before we had our kids... Secret Santa gifts for a family in need. I decided that this would be a perfect tradition to help us teach our kids the true meaning of Christmas and that we can give to someone in need just like Christ did for all of us. I can picture us all sneaking up to the door of that family and ringing the doorbell and then running like mad with our kids around the corner! I know my girls would love it and would love that we had to keep it a secret that it was us! I can't wait to start this tradition next year!
3. When I was a little girl, my grandpa used to make a birthday cake every Christmas and on top he would put a popsicle stick manger with a baby Jesus in it and we would all sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus and then, while we ate the cake, we talked about the things that Jesus did for us. I am sure that this may seem like a weird tradition to some, but as a little girl, it helped me to remember that Christmas was Jesus's birthday and it helped me to remember why we have Christmas as we talked about him. I think I would like to do a similar tradition with my girls but also add on to this tradition... The first Monday night in December, for family night I thought it would be fitting to talk about Christmas and what it means and then ask our girls what they would like to give to Christ for Christmas that year. We could write it down on pieces of paper and then put it into a box and wrap it up and put it under the tree. Then on Christmas, after we sing and eat cake, we could open that present and read all of the things that we promised to give to Christ that year- whether it was being nice to their sister, or listening to mom and dad, or saying their prayers at night... just whatever they wrote down. Then we could talk about those things and why they are important and help each other remember throughout the year those promises we made. I think it would be such a fun way to teach our girls about the true meaning of Christmas! :)
Over the next week and a half there will be a new blog post with family traditions posted. It is going to be so fun and can't wait to see all the traditions that each family has. On Tuesday Dec. 13th, in addition to my Ta-Da Tuesday link party, there will be a special link party for you all to link up posts about your family's traditions too!
I hope that it inspires us all to start some new traditions with our families:)
Feel free to grab a button if you plan on sharing your holiday traditions with us all on December 13th!!