Thursday, December 4, 2014

Family Christmas Traditions

I have previously shared some family traditions to celebrate our birthdays  As we prepare for the Christmas season this year, I realize that we have some fun Christmas traditions too. In an effort to keep this year's surprises a secret (especially since E.J. is now a reader!), I am going to share photos from last year.  

First, we usually start December off with a Christmas activity calendar.  

I pre-program an old Santa advent calendar I got at Target several years back with slips of paper that share activities to do each day to prepare for Christmas.  

Things like making Christmas cards, videoing a Christmas carol for Grandma and papa, making Christmas ornaments, making a loop chain for the Christmas tree, making Christmas cookies, writing a letter to Santa, watching a Christmas movie, etc.  I intentionally program them so that longer more extensive activities are done on the weekends and little things are done during the school week.  School night activities include calling your cousins to wish them a Merry Christmas or reading a Christmas book before bed.  You know how it is....busy moms have to rig things a bit to make it all work!  Santa's little helper!!! ;)  

Secondly, we paint glass Christmas bulbs for family, friends, and teachers.  These are the same ornaments my students made for their parents throughout the years. Click here for more information about previous year's bulbs.  

Here is last year's family gift. 


Note: That on the ornaments the boys make for family and friends, I specialize the tag so that it denotes each boy's contribution to the bulb.  

Then each of the boys make their own ornament for our family tree as a memory of that year.  It also documents how they wrote their names that year and their artistic abilities. Thus the not so Santa looking bulb that Payt made as a two year-old.    

The boys also pick out their own Hallmark ornament each year.  Making it so much fun to decorate the tree each year! 

On each Hallmark box, I write a little something about what they were doing that year making great memorabilia to pass along to their families when they get older.   

It has been fun watching them grow and mature over the years.  EJ started with a little Fire Truck ornament, then Thomas Train, Handy Manny, Spiderman, Ben 10, and this year Disney’s Planes.  Payton started with a Teddy Bear, then Winnie the Pooh, and this year Jake and the Neverland Pirates. 

EJ’s choice, the Planes ornament, triggered a new tradition last year.  He decided that it would be neat to cover his whole tree with his toy airplane and helicopter collection.  

It turned out so cool that their bedroom trees will now be decorated with the toys of their choice each year.  Here is what Payton's looked like last year. 

In preparation for Santa each year, we decorate a plastic plate for our cookies and milk and leave a Santa key on the doorknob for Santa before heading to my parents for Christmas at Grandma and Papas. 

When we return, there's always a small gift and goodbye note from our Elf on the Shelf in the Christmas tree.  Last year's was candy in the tree. . .

With this note: (Daddy staged Chippy eating the boys' candy all season last year :) )

There were also notes in the boys' stockings that lead them to their gift from Santa. The notes read, 'Your big present from me is in the place that you sleep. Love, Santa.' 

They were quite clever gifts so I thought I would share them with you. Payton got EJ’s old bed with a new train comforter set on it to replace his crib. 

Here is a closer look at Payton's note from Santa. . .

And here is a pictures of EJ's much-asked-for bunk bed. . . 

and the note that went on his bed. . .

Lastly, I would like to share with you the tradition that keeps our memories of each Christmas alive.  I got this Christmas Memorybook from a school fundraiser several years back.  

Each year I paste our family Christmas card inside and then write what we did that Christmas.  

It is sits on our coffee table every Christmas season as a reminder of the holidays we have been blessed to share together. 

Hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday!


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