One of the things that has always excited me about having a family is establishing holiday traditions. Christmas is one of my most favorite times of year and with this being Jude's first Christmas, I can't wait to start new traditions for our family. Over the years I have been collecting ideas and want to share 10 great ideas for Christmas traditions.
1. Receiving mail from Santa. While the kids are still young and believe in Santa, I like the idea of creating a little magic. One way to do so is to send a self-addressed postmarked letter to North Pole, Alaska, and the post office there will send you back your letter showing that it was mailed from Santa. Visit the USPS website for instructions. Looking for more ways to help your children believe? Here's a great article from iVillage with 20 ingenious ways to prove Santa exists.
2. Feeding the reindeer. Everyone knows you are supposed to leave cookies and milk for Santa. But what about the hungry Reindeer?! Mix up a batch of reindeer food by combining 1 cup of rolled oats, 1/2 cup of red and/or green sugar crystals and 1/2 cup of Christmas sprinkles. Then simply spread the reindeer food on your lawn at night on Christmas Eve. Here's an adorable poem to go with the activity:
Sprinkle this reindeer food outside tonight
The moonlight will make it sparkle bright
As the reindeer fly and roam
This will guide them to your home.
3. Advent calendar of winter or Christmas books. Most advent calendars help you countdown to Christmas with a daily piece of candy. But if you want less sugar and more quality time together, how about a countdown where you unwrap and read a different Christmas book every day in December until Christmas. If you need ideas for books, Ali Edwards shares her family's favorite Christmas books and SouleMama shares their winter reading favorites.
4. Opening one gift early on Christmas Eve: pajamas for the whole family. Growing up, my parents always let us open one gift early in the day on Christmas Eve and I remember I could hardly contain my excitement. I also have loved getting cozy pajamas for Christmas. Why not put the two ideas together? The pajamas could even be in a similar style or color for the whole family. Then everyone will be comfy on Christmas morning opening presents while wearing their new pajamas.
personalized Christmas ornament from TimberGreenWoods
5. Annual Christmas ornaments that are saved and given to the child once they leave home. With this being Jude's first Christmas, we've been on the lookout for great ornaments that display the year and will commemorate this special holiday. Which got me to thinking... how wonderful would it be to build a collection of ornaments by giving him one every year that represents a special interest or accomplishment. We'd save them and turn them over to him when he grows up and leaves the house. I often wish I had ornaments from my own childhood to place on our tree!
6. Seeing a Christmas production. Even as an adult, I'm absolutely mesmerized by the local productions of A Christmas Carol and The Nutcracker. I saw the Nutcracker just once as a child and absolutely loved it, so I'd love to do something similar once Jude is a little bigger. It could anything from a larger scale production of one of the Christmas stories, to heading to the movie theatre to see a new holiday release.
7. Elf on the Shelf. For a little magic every day in December, the Elf on the Shelf tradition has you place your elf in a different place every night. He watches your kids and reports back to Santa whether they were naughty or nice. Blossom Bunkhouse shared 101 ideas for your Elf on the Shelf. And I love this idea from Balancing Home with a goodbye letter from your Elf to your children.
8. Dinner by candlelight on 12/21, the longest night of the year. Your candlelight dinner tradition could include your family's favorite foods. Or for a twist you could do something special like french toast and hot cocoa for dinner. This falls just days before the holiday and would be a great reminder to slow down and cherish your time together as a family.
9. Holiday treats and movie night. I love the idea of making a special treat together, such as homemade marshmallows to go with hot cocoa or candy cane milkshakes. Then pop in a Christmas DVD and curl up to watch the movie and enjoy your special treat. Maybe even have a "sleepover" under the Christmas tree that night!
10. Creating a December Daily / Journal Your Christmas album. 2012 will be my 5th year documenting December with an album and I don't see myself stopping any time soon. The minibooks are a joy to look through as we reminisce about Christmases past. I think about fast-forwarding even just 5 years and how thankful I will be to have documented this very special season in detail.
Do you have any great Christmas traditions in your family that I haven't included here?
You can visit more bloggers sharing their ten things by clicking here.