Friday, December 2, 2011

Our Holiday Traditions for the Young and Old

Like many families with young kids, we're in the process of developing our own holiday traditions, apart from and including the ones we both grew up with. Christmas, for me, has always been a really special and magical time of year and I LOVE the day after Thanksgiving when houses begin to sparkle with lights and trees appear in the front window. I also love the day after New Years' when I'm so tired of Christmas and ready to chuck the tree out the back door. But the 30 or so days in between are my very favorite.

I hope to pass on this love for the holiday season to Noah and Chloe and convince my husband that his "grinch-y" attitude WILL rub off on them eventually. I think he's starting to come around. I've incorporated some of the traditions I grew up with into our family and have begun some new ones this year that I hope stick around.

1. Our version of Elf on the Shelf. On December 1st, Santa's elf makes his inaugural appearance and so begins the daily morning search for our favorite little elf. Our elf watches out for good and bad behavior so he can report back to Santa each evening...last year, I found that behavior improved immensely during the month of December. The elf is a win-win! (I did suck at moving him around each night after Noah was in bed so I'll have to get better at it. Noah's much smarter this year.)

2. The tree and decorations come out the first weekend in December (so that would be...this weekend! Hooray!). I grew up with a real tree and my parents still buy one for us to enjoy on Christmas Day (RIGHT, MOM? Don't let me down!) but Tim's family did the fake tree and we're now the proud owners of a plastic pre-lit tree. Don't get me wrong, the fake tree is EASY and looks beautiful but I do miss picking out the perfect tree, bringing it home, letting it "rest" on the porch before placing it in its spot of honor in front of the window. Now that I typed all that out I think we'll be getting a real tree next year. I want those memories for our kids because the tree is the pinnacle of Christmas for me. However, this year, what with the new baby and going back to work on the 19th (ARRRRRRGGGHHHHHHHHH, BLLLLLEEEERRRRGGGHHHHH) I don't think I have the capacity to deal with a real tree. Fake it is.

3. Buy this year's ornaments for the tree. I've been buying an ornament for Noah each year that reflects his current interests. I think this year's will be a soccer ball since he's started soccer class recently. I also bought Chloe a blown glass owl ornament and the requisite Baby's First Christmas ornament. I plan to pass these all on to them when they have their first Christmas in their first home.

4. Buy one new holiday/Christmas children's book to add to our growing collection. We'll read one each night before much do you want to bet the highlight this year will be Merry Christmas, Curious George?

5. Put up the Advent calendar. I would usually begin an Advent calendar on the 1st but I did not get my act in gear this year to pick one out or make one. I'm putting this on my to-do list for right after Christmas so it'll be ready to go for next year. I'm thinking small envelopes or pouches hung on the tree with a piece of candy, holiday activity or tiny gift inside. Or perhaps I will convince my mother to hand over her calendar from when we were little...for the kids, of course.

5. Cinnamon, cloves and an orange peel simmering on the stove. This reminds me of my house during the holidays when we were small. Love it.

6. Have Noah check the mail each day for new holiday cards. I'll have them hanging from lengths of ribbon in the living room so he can look at them every day and see our friends and family.

7. On the 23rd we'll do our Annual Spot The Awesome Christmas Lights Drive around the neighborhood.

8. Christmas Eve will be spent with Tim's family and then a short road trip to my grandmother's. Since Christmas Eve is a busy day, our evening will be pretty mellow. We'll have the Noah set out cookies/milk for Santa and carrots for the reindeer. We'll have them open one small gift from us (because the rest of the gifts are from SANTA and SANTA doesn't come until after bedtime...and a glass or two of wine) and then head to bed in their new Christmas jammies.

9. Christmas morning we'll wake them up and head downstairs for stockings and presents and merriment of all kinds. I think I'm going to make homemade cinnamon rolls our traditional Christmas morning breakfast. Growing up we always had a baked apple pancake and since we'll see my parents later that day my guess is my dad will have made one that morning. I won't steal his recipe until they no longer want to host Christmas Day then it's all mine (you hear that Sister and Brother...hands off!).

10. Christmas Day includes a visit with my family and mimosas and a big dinner and more presents. We'll end the day with full bellies and warm hearts and pie. I hope there is pie.

I was worried we didn't have any "traditions" started but seeing this all in writing comforts me. We HAVE started our traditions and they've created a pretty good base to build on. What's your favorite holiday tradition with your family?









Paige said...

Dude. Homemade cinnamon rolls. Brilliant. Perhaps mine will be homemade coffee cake. Or a dutch baby (though this is my mom's tradition, perhaps I can steal it). Or sausage pie. Or, or, or...

Erica said...

Love the clove, cinnamon and orange... Stealing.

Jessica said...

I think its nice you're going to give them their ornaments when they're grown. Both my parents and Thomas' kept everything.

k said...

I LOVE the buying of new ornaments for each year. This year Ezra got a robot and Iris a cat.

And I ADORE that last photo of Noah. It's so cute and hilarious and precious all in one.

Kristina said...

So cute! And your house is BEAUTIFULLY decorated - that picture of the porch looks like it could be in a magazine :)

Also - thank you for your comment on my post today - it means a lot.