You all know that I am obsessed with building traditions in my family.
Traditions are what I remember most growing up.
Traditions make the holiday season for me.
Although I am searching high and low for the perfect advent calendar tradition,
any suggestions are welcome,
here are our families Christmas traditions.
Last year we started this tradition with Aniston in order to help her know whose gifts were whose. This is how it works. The kids pick out wrapping paper. Any wrapping paper they want.Then we "mail" the wrapping paper to Santa. Santa wraps all their gifts in their special paper and only in their paper so that they know which gifts are theirs. This worked amazing last year. And even though Aniston can read her name this year, she will still be able to know whose presents are whose, without reading the tags, based off the wrapping paper. Most of the time I don't even use tags when we use this system.
This year we have 6 different wrapping papers. Dad, Mom, Aniston, Benson, Family and Kids.
I think that this is just a fun way for the kids to get more involved and Aniston LOVES seeing her special wrapping paper (this year she chose the Good Dinosaur wrapping paper) under the tree Christmas morning!
Letters to Santa
Letters to Santa are always amazing. Except for least year when Santa didn't write back, even though the grocery store promised he would. Aniston was pretty bummed about that whole thing, but I think I solved the problem this year. On the USPS website I found the North Pole postmark information. What you do is write a letter to Santa. Then in the envelope you also enclose a letter written to your child from Santa. You mail the letter to the address they give you and they send back your letter from Santa with a North Pole postmark.
Seriously, who wouldn't want to get a letter from Santa in return? Kind of the best thing ever! You just have to remember to mail it by the date that the post office has listed in order for your letter to be returned to your child.
As we were cleaning up Aniston's toy room one night, she mentioned that she has a lot of toys that she doesn't play with and should give to kids who need toys. Recently, she gave her pet turtle away to a little boy who didn't have very many toys and really loved turtles.
So I grabbed an old diaper box and she began handing me toys that she said she wanted to give away. My sweet little girl filled up the entire box! Somewhere I must have said or done something right to have such an amazing child who, somehow, understood the true meaning of Christmas.
Gifts to Christ
Every year growing up, we would give gifts to Christ every Christmas. Our gift to Christ could be anything. Often it involved reading our scriptures better or serving more.
This year I gave an FHE lesson on the symbols of Christmas and ended with Christ and his gifts to us, which turned into us talking about what gifts we could give to him.
We wrote our gifts that we want to give Christ throughout this year on a piece of paper. Then we fold them and put them in a box. Next year, we will read them, before we write our new gifts to Christ, and hopefully feel as though we have done our best to give to Christ throughout the year. It's a fun little tradition that brings the family back to what Christmas is all about, instead of simply focusing on the temporal aspects of the holiday.
Taking pictures of my children with Santa is the best! This year was the first year both of them got to see Santa. Benson turned 1 month old on Christmas, so he was too tiny to take outside in the cold to see the big man. Aniston seems to have mixed feelings about Santa. She knows he's nice, but doesn't really have much to say to him. He did come to her preschool party and bring her a book, which is always a good way to win over my child, so that did soften her heart a bit.
Benson didn't really love Santa this year...
Cookies and Milk for Santa & Carrots for his Reindeer
Every Christmas Eve, we make cookies for Santa. But mostly Ani just eats them. We make sugar cookies using this recipe (seriously so good) and decorate them like crazy! You can never have too many sprinkles even if Ani chooses to use skeleton sprinkles! Ani leaves several on a plate for Santa as well as a couple carrots for his reindeer.
This year Aniston picked out the bell cookie cutter and said, " Mom! Santa would love the Taco Bell cookie cutter!" She knows the way to my heart! I love that girl!
It's almost more exciting for her Christmas morning to see if Santa ate his cookies and drank his milk and to see if the reindeer nibbled on the carrots than it is to check for the presents!
Christmas Eve Graham Cracker Building
Every Christmas Eve we head over to my parents house to build our graham cracker houses or whatever we want in accordance to a theme.
This year, of course, we choose to go with the Star Wars theme. PERFECTION!
It's pretty fun, everyone leaves on a sugar high and we always have such great memories!
Christmas Eve Elf
While we are at my parents house building with graham crackers and frosting, the Christmas Eve Elf comes to our house and brings the Christmas Jammies, some treats and a new movie for the family to watch. And that's how we spend our Christmas Eve night. Watching a new movie in our new jammies and eating treats!
We always do Christmas Jammies, but this year was special because the kids got matching Christmas jammies! I found these Burt's Bees ones that they can wear year round that were super affordable and perfect! I am so obsessed! I am going to try my hardest, next year, to convince the hubby to get family Christmas jammies. Wish me luck!
On Christmas Eve we read not only The Night before Christmas, but also many different versions of the birth of Christ.
The book on the bottom left is my favorite! The illustrations are AMAZING and so adorable! We found it at Sam's Club. I am super obsessed with it!
This year was really fun because Aniston was really into baby Jesus and learning all about Jesus. We bought her a Little People nativity and it has been the favorite toy around our house this Christmas Season.
Because we have been so focused on Jesus this Christmas season, Aniston even sat down and drew a picture of the nativity all on her own. The large circles with legs on the left is Joseph. The 3 circles with arms and legs in the middle is Mary and you can find Baby Jesus lying in his manger. He is the black on the bottom right. I will never throw this picture away!
Growing up, every Christmas morning we would have waffles with strawberries and whipped cream.
That's what we did for the past 4 years, but this Christmas we tried something new.
Well basically the kids ate Cheetos for breakfast, but we attempted Spencer's tradition of buying the tiny cereal boxes and they can choose the type of cereal they wanted.
It didn't really work, but Christmas never does go as planned.
We love going to movies on Christmas. For Aniston's first Christmas she went to Les Miserables and it was perfection.
But this year may have topped that.
We went to see Star Wars. We were all wearing our new Star Wars shirts, Benson was rocking his Darth Vader slippers, and the kids both brought their light sabers for the movie.
Aniston LOVED it, and luckily Spencer and I had already seen it so it was okay that we were a little distracted with the kids.
I will say....
BEST STAR WARS EVER!!!!!!!!
I am still looking for some type of fun, and different advent calendar to use during December, so if you have any ideas, please let me know!
What are your Christmas Traditions?