All month long we have been preparing our home and hearts to celebrate the birth of our savior Jesus Christ! I look forward to the Christmas season each year and love finding little ways to celebrate with the boys throughout the month of December. I love decorating for Christmas, it makes our home feel so warm and cozy, especially with blanket of snow over our yard. I enjoy pulling out the decorations and ornaments and reflecting on the treasured memories they each hold.
Growing up my grandmother had tons of Annalee Christmas dolls. Anytime I see one in a store it always reminds me of her and celebrating Christmas day with family and friends at her home. She passed away earlier this year but one of her Annalee dolls comes out every year at my home to remind me of the special memories of spending Christmas with my grandparents and our extended family.
I remember my dad playing Christmas carols on his violin or guitar, we would bake Christmas cookies with my mom, put up our nativity scene and decorate the tree together as a family. One of my favorite decorations was this little Christmas mouse candle holder. Seeing it brings back that cozy Christmas feeling I felt growing up. My parents downsized their Christmas decorations a few years back and asked if I wanted this little treasure. Can you believe they were going to throw it out? Its old and cracked, but it has a little spot on my mantle to bring back my own childhood memories.
This year J is three years old and it’s been so fun continuing some old family favorite traditions as well as creating a few new ones of our own. I hope he will look back on these traditions with fond memories and maybe even want that silly old mouse on his fireplace one day. Here are the family traditions and activities we do:
Christmas book advent: Two years ago I started gathering books for a Christmas book advent. I searched thrift stores, used book stores, and bought a few new until I found 25 different Christmas books. Each day we open one and read it. Here are a few of my favorites:
Humphrey’s First Christmas by Carol Heyer. The Christmas story from the perspective of one of the wise men’s camel.
Who Is Coming To Our House by Joseph Slate and Ashley Wolff. A board book great for toddlers that shares the Christmas story from the stable animals perspective.
A Very Veggie Christmas Countdown by Laura Neutzling. A book with lot’s of flaps and items to find and count.
The Jolly Christmas Postmas by Janet and Allen Ahlberg. A book with pocket pages full of mini stories, a puzzle, and other fun activities.
A few of the books I found are activity books. They include puzzles on the pages or flaps to open. These are great and provide extra entertainment! I also try to re-wrap them before they get put away for the next year.
Family Christmas card: Every year we send out a Christmas card, I keep an extra one for us and run it through my laminator. Each year we bring out all the cards from the previous years. It’s so fun to see how our family has changed and how the boys have grown over the years.
Baking Christmas cookies: A fun and yummy activity. J loves to help measure ingredients, eat the dough, roll the dough, eat the dough, cut the cookies, eat the dough… and hopefully a few cookies make it into the over to get baked.
Nativity Scene: Every Christmas season we bring out three nativity scenes. We have one that sits on our mantle, one that lights up and is displayed in our yard, and one that J and G can play with as we read them the story of Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus. The Fisher Price Nativity makes a wonderful gift for little ones at Christmas.
Christmas ornaments: Growing up our parents gave us a special ornament each Christmas. We have continued this tradition with our boys. Every year we pick out a special ornament that reflects something about them over the last year. This year Guykey (Grandma) found a Tonka dump truck for J! Construction equipment and trucks are near and dear to his little heart.
Operation Christmas Child: A wonderful way to let little ones participate in GIVING this Christmas. Operation Christmas Child blesses a child is need and shares the love of Jesus Christ! Learn more about this great organization here. It’s not too late to pack a virtual shoe box online and send to a child in need!
A Christmas Eve Present: When I was growing up my parents let my brother and I open one specific gift on Christmas Eve. This was usually a game, puzzle, or something to help keep us busy and entertained as we were anxiously counting down the minutes until we could go to bed (and wake up at a ridiculously early hour) to see the gifts in our stockings.
A Post Christmas Tradition: Over the years I’ve tried to add one new festive home decor item each year. I started this after I graduated from college, working retail, and living in my first place. I would shop the after Christmas sales to find nice decorative pieces at a bargain price. Embarrassingly, I am STILL am using the Christmas wrapping paper I bought on clearance 90% off over 9 years ago. It was such a good deal!
I stocked up went a little crazy. It’s a little post Christmas tradition.
Lastly, the most important tradition of all… opening our bibles to Luke 2 and reading the birth of Jesus. He is the reason for the season, all traditions aside, we take time to celebrate His birth and the everlasting gift he offers.
What traditions do you celebrate with your family?
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!