Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Holiday Traditions


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


Today Sandra at Diary of a Stay At Home Mom is hosting a Holiday Traditions day. A place to link and share all your wonderful traditions new and old, that you do to celebrate the holidays. And it's been fun reading what everyone else does and getting some new ideas, too.

Here's a few of ours:

We always put up the tree on the first weekend of December. That kicks off the holiday decorating in our home. The kids each have their own box of decorations they put on the tree themselves. It is their special decorations. They recieve one each year in their stockings since the year they were born and they will take their own decorations with them when they fly out of the nest, so to speak.

Starting December 1st, we read from our Christmas story book each day. It's a huge board book that opens up into a bunch of tiny books each dated for one day from the 1 to the 25th. It tells every aspect of the Christmas story from Mary, to the shepards, to the wise men, culminating in the birth of Jesus, which is of course the 25th book and the biggest. We read for the corresponding day and then that book is hung on the tree from a gold thread like a decoration. Some years its on the big tree and sometimes we've had a 2 ft. tree just for this Christmas story.


On Christmas Eve, we always open our stockings after we've come home from whereever we've been visiting that night or after our company has gone home if we're hosting. This is where the special Christmas ornament is. We always start with one of the kids reading aloud the Christmas story.

When the kids were little no Christmas presents come out for our personal family until late Christmas Eve, after the kids have gone to bed. Now that they are teens they just stay up to darn late and I don't feel like hauling presents up from hiding places at 1 and 2 in the morning. So now the presents come up Christmas Eve morning before they all wake up. Each child's presents are wrapped in their own type of paper and none are labeled. (I totally change the kid's wrapping each year so they have no clue). For each child I have a chunk of their own wrapping paper that I've cut into a bazillion tiny pieces and put into an envelope with their name on it. I hide it somewhere in the living room, sometimes in the tree, sometimes on the fireplace or where ever else I think it will take them a few minutes to find. I try to pick different places each year! Come Christmas morning, while the coffee is perking and hot chocolate being made, they have to find their envelope and open it and figure out which wrapping paper belongs to them. Once they figure it out they can have at it. Dave and I just sit back and enjoy it, with the kids occasionally bringing us one of ours to open.

Christmas morning is doubly hectic as it is also Tweenie Girl's birthday! We've asked if she'd like the actual celebrating on another day that would totally be devoted to her, but she always refuses. She likes that she has the same day to celebrate as Jesus! We've also asked if the kids would rather open all the gifts on Christmas Eve but they want to stick with the tradition that was started before the youngest decided she was ready to make a showing on Christmas Day.


So once all the mayhem of the Christmas presents is over, it's time to celebrate the second birthday party of the day. Believe it or not, then we move to the kitchen where it is decorated with birthday balloons, tablecloth and birthday presents. Tweenie girl gets to do the birthday thing. When paper and bows are semi-cleaned up we usually enjoy some kind of breakfast like french toast or pancakes together. Then we usually gather and watch either "The Scrooge"(or it might be named "A Christmas Carol") with Patrick Stewart or "It's A Wonderful Life" with James Stewart, this one in black and white of course. (I just noticed my 2 favorite Christmas movies have actors with the same last name. Strange.) Although last year "Christmas with the Kranks's" also made it in there as did "Elf".

Christmas afternoon we all gather wherever the dinner is held that year and enjoy the company of family over great food. We always have the turkey complete with stuffing and all the extras. We in Canada are ready for turkey by Christmas as our Thanksgiving is in October. And of course, it's tradition that I bring the birthday cake wherever we are going for the dinner!

So there you go. I love traditions. It makes looking forward to the holiday special. What do you do? Link up at Sandra's so that we can read your lovely stories of a beautiful time of year!

21 comments:

Morning Glory said...

Oh, I just love all your traditions!! The board book is the best. What a celebration you have!

Pamela said...

Love your family traditions. That board book sounds great, and I need to find something like that for my gbaby. What a nice thing to do in hiding the envelope that tells them what wrapping paper is theirs...that is so sweet! :)

Beck said...

I love your traditions! My favorite is the wrapping paper search - so much fun!

Mrs Blythe said...

Oh *sigh* It's a Wonderful Life, nostalgia at it's best! Love it. I've not see the Patrick Stewart Scrooge I like the old black and white Alistair Sim film, if you've never seen it I totally recommend! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrooge_(1951_film)

Your Christmas story book sounds lovely and the coffee, well that's got to be the best bit ;o)

Chappyswife said...

Hey, Susanne! Dropping by for a minute to catch up and say "Thanks!" in person for your prayers and sweet thoughts!!! I love your Christmas traditions and good posts, but I've got to say I am so jealous of the SNOW! Wow. Those pictures were incredible, and I loved the pictures your daughter took, too. Be sure to tell her I said good job!

momrn2 said...

Such wonderful traditions! I really like the one about the figuring out whose paper is whose. That is great!

And the board book sounds fabulous as well!!

PastorMac's Ann said...

These are terrific. The wrapping paper one-so creative! Love your focus on the Christmas story all during the month leading up to the 25th. Sounds like you've got a lot to look forward to.

Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) said...

What a wonderful day you have!!!!! I esp love the book, the wrapping paper thing and the b-day party!

I would love to find a book like that. What is it called? Who published it and when?

Kili @ Live Each Moment said...

I have to say I love the photo. We too put our tree up the first week of December. I love it!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful family traditions. I like the idea of the wrapping paper in the envelope!

Sherry

Pretty Lady said...

You have great traditions, but I think the one about the envelope is very fun for the children specially. I am thinking on making it part of our Christmas this year.
Also I have seen that book and I love when someone else's reads for me (and better if it is a child) so I am taking that idea, too. Thank you

org junkie said...

Love your traditions and really enjoyed reading about them. I think the wrapping paper/envelope idea is terrific and so I think I'm going to try that this year. Thanks! Laura

Julie said...

Oh my goodness, Susanne,

What a busy time for you...what with Christmas AND a birthday thrown in for good measure. I cannot imagine.

I think your little envelope hunt for with pieces of their individual wrapping paper sounds so fun.

What cute traditions you guys have.

Kathleen Marie said...

This is just wonderful and to have your own tiny little Christmas angel born on that day. Have you heard Barbara Steisands "The Best Gift". The words are something like this,

"The best that I ever got, didn't really weigh a lot. It didn't have a ribbon round and it sometimes made a terrible sound...the best gift that I'll ever get was sometimes dry and sometimes wet...The best gift was a tiny, newborn child"

It is a precious song and is on one of her older Christmas albums.

Anonymous said...

Susanne, I've enjoyed rereading your traditions, I always feel like the second time around, I find something I missed before :)

Love your traditions....and thank you for adding your name to Mr Linky for me...I couldn't do it so I added it manually underneath it :)

Hugs,
Sandra

Anonymous said...

That's pretty cool your daughter's birthday is Christmas....how lucky she is to share something so special with Christ....

Anonymous said...

I am going to use your idea on the kids having their own box of decorations. I have mine all thrown together and they have to dig through to find their own. IThis will make it a lot more fun instead of wasting time finding out whose is whose.

The envelope idea sounds great. I might try this although my 3 year old probably would get a little frustrated, but the older kids would enjoy this.

PEA said...

Hi Susanne...from another Canadian gal:-) I so enjoyed reading your Christmas traditions..it really must be hectic with a birthday to also celebrate but I think it's wonderful that you decorate the kitchen with balloons, etc, to make it special for her! My mom always gave my boys ornaments every Christmas since they were born and when they moved out, I gave them all to them for their own trees...now my tree is empty! lol Like you said, since our Thanksgiving is in October, we're more than ready for Christmas turkey:-)

gail said...

I enjoyed reading about your traditions! And with a birthday too, it sounds like a busy day at your home! Fun times....

Linda said...

I think your daughter's attitude is sweet and precious. These are great traditions. There is one I heard about where the adult puts a non-descript ornament on the tree and the first kid to find it gets to open the first gift. I think that's a tradition from another country.

Katherine@Raising Five said...

Love reading about your family. I totally missed this (I'm always a day late and quite short). Our traditions are changing somewhat as the kids are getting older, but the Christmas story is the one thing that remains. I want our kids to know this is a distinctively Christian holiday.

We have three December BDs in our family so it is NUTS around here!