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!