Thursday, December 20, 2012

Our family traditions

Now that our family is complete and our little guy is not a teeny 4lb newborn fresh out of the NICU, as he was last Christmas, it's time to start making new traditions and mixing them in with some of our old ones. 


We've had a lot of discussion in the past couple of months as to whether or not we want to incorporate Santa into our yearly Christmas celebration. We have close family members that sit on both sides of that fence, so how Elliott will grow up, I'm not sure. All Santa gifts? No Santa at all? If we do "Santa," will his cousins ruin it for him early on? I'd like to avoid trauma! 

I'm still not 100% sure on how we'll do it in future years, but for now, Santa will be bringing one gift and filling up stockings. When Elliott is a bit older, we'll do the letter to Santa and cookies for him, along with a birthday cake (or cupcake) for Jesus. I think we can easily mix the two and teach Elliott all about the true meaning of the holiday. 

Christmas Eve:

We'll be doing a somewhat traditional "new pajamas on Christmas Eve" thing, along with a new ornament, and a new book about Christmas story. This year, we're spending Christmas Eve having a huge dinner with friends, so we'll be opening up these in the morning. 

Spending time with friends is definitely taking a step away from the tradition of going out for a nice dinner -- something Aaron and I have done since we were married. With Elliott being of toddler age (and hitting the sack at 6 p.m.), dinner out isn't feasible at this point, so dinner at a friend's is the next best thing. 

We'll also be doing Christmas Eve church services, of course, but our church has them on both Sunday and Monday. I'd much rather do the Monday time, but again, with dinner at someone else's home, we have to be flexible. We're just going to attend at our normal time on Sunday morning and dress up for Jesus! 

Aaron and I take turns reading aloud the story of the birth of Christ from Luke. 


Last year, I heard about this neat method of limiting the amount of gifts children receive to a few categories. I thought it was a brilliant idea and from the looks of Pinterest and a lot of other blogs I've read recently, a lot of you are picking it up too! 

I found the image via the blog:  a random sampling. She doesn't credit where she found it, though does mention Pinterest. 

Ashley over at Writing Chapter Three also used a 5th category of "1 Thing to Create" and we'll be using that too. I love that idea! 5 gifts from us, 1 from Santa, and stockings is still a whole lot of stuff, so we may even limit it more in later years when the items are more pricey and Elliott is doing the asking. 

I'll be sharing the gifts we've decided to give Elliott this year in my next post, so stay tuned!

Christmas Morning:

For as long as I can remember, my mom always made a pan of cinnamon rolls for breakfast on Christmas morning. Just the super fancy ones that come in the blue tube ;). Aaron and I incorporated that into our own set of traditions, but now that I'm trying very hard to stay away from processed food, I'm thinking of making my own this year. I know The Pioneer Woman's recipe is a popular one, but do any of you have others you're fond of?

Angel Tree:

This is the first year we've done an Angel Tree child as a family and I know we'll be continuing it. We had a 7-year-old girl to buy gifts for and after some careful saving throughout the fall months, were able to buy everything on her list, including a bike! What 7-year-old kid shouldn't have a bike?

Future Traditions:

Elliott is barely a year old and is still pretty young to enjoy the holiday. I'm hoping that next year we can start to incorporate these traditions:

Reading of the Christmas story on Christmas Eve (including E in the reading).

Nativity. We already have a beautiful nativity (this one), but I'd like to do one like this one for Elliott. (A small side note... I find it funny that our nativity set is listed at almost $400. We bought pieces over three years, but probably didn't pay more than $150 for it total. Don't buy a $400 nativity set, that's lunacy!)

An advent calendar filled with fun activities. 

Decorating a Jesse Tree.

Driving around on Christmas Eve to see houses all decorated with lights.

Hand-making gifts as a family. 

Wrapping up 1 book for each day leading up to Christmas. Finishing with our Christmas Eve book! 

What are some of your favorite traditions?


Ms. Yingling said...

I always told the children that >I< did not believe in Santa, but they could believe in anything they wanted. They got one Santa gift eventually delivered by drunken elves (long story, but their favorite part now), but I always denied all involvement. I didn't feel as much like I was lying to them.

SamANTHA1983 said...

Aw, I love these! We've always gone for a walk on the beach on Christmas, and we do PJs on christmas eve and 1 gift from under the tree.