A large part of the magic of the Christmas season, I believe, are those holiday traditions we incorporate into our lives during this busy time. Each year, I greatly anticipate the traditions we love so much. Of course, there is always room to add special new traditions. So if you are looking for some holiday ideas…..hopefully you will get an idea here that will “ring your bell!” Pun intended!!!
The day after Thanksgiving really kicks off our holiday festivities as we go in search of that elusive “perfectly imperfect” evergreen at our nearby Christmas tree farm. There can be no cutting until we see a bright light above said tree, and hear a choir of angels. Just kidding, but you know what I am talking about if you are a “Christmas Vacation” buff like we are!
If I recall, I did promise you last year a picture of the live Christmas tree complete with decorations. So here it is! Now if we get our live tree early enough in the day, we attempt to decorate it that evening while listening to Christmas music. This is one of my favorite trees as it has a collection of our children’s handmade ornaments, which include homemade gingerbread ornaments.
Eighteen years ago this tradition began with a good ole’ fashion gingerbread recipe, ribbon, and paraffin! That first year, my girl was just under two, and she was quite taken with the waxed dipped gingerbread ornaments – they obviously looked tasty as she kept taking bites out of them. Her very tidy brother Kasey would promptly rehang them, so the next time Rachel felt like snacking she would start afresh on a new cookie. Naturally, from there on out, there was no wax involved!!! So now, every few years, we bake a new batch of gingerbread cookies for our live tree, and just for good measure, one cookie gets a bite taken out of it!
When my boy Kasey was in Cub Scouts, his amazing Scout leaders helped the boys make this adorable “Santa Stop Here” sign! Now it is Kasey’a duty to stake it in the front yard the first week in December. Usually the same day we turn on our house lights!
Ok, so if you were tuned in last year, you know I am basically in love with Christmas trees, so much so that I have a tree in the master bedroom all year long! Don’t worry, it matches the room (click here to see that tree). This year’s tree is the 19th tree to go in Rachel’s room. It is the ever- changing tree because it always matches her room décor, which is ever-changing! New color and theme this year! You might notice some of the music ornament bulbs I made for my kitchen nook last year.
Rachel and I found some of these ornaments as well as these cute little critters at Pier One this year!
Fair warning on this “tree box” tradition – the kids love it! After a few years, the parent’s – not so much! Each child has a tree box in their room, then starting 12 days before Christmas, an elf visits each night to leave a treat, small present or note in the box! Someday I will happily turn over this tradition and these boxes to my children for their children :)
On Christmas Eve we read the story of the Christ child’s birth from Luke…. Afterward we each light a candle in remembrance of baby Jesus!
Christmas morning bright and early, the children wait on the stairs until Mom takes a few morning snapshots, whereupon the children race to the tree to find “The Christmas Pickle”. The child to find the pickle first also gets to open a present first! By the way Pier One has some pickle ornaments this year. This inexpensive and simple tradition is one of my girl’s favorite!
More traditions…..It’s Beginning to Feel a lot like Christmas
- drum roll please….Exterior Illumination turned on to fanfare on Thanksgiving Night….
- Christmas Star (see more on this here)
- Take a drive to see Christmas lights
- Iced Sugar Cookies/Goodies taken to neighbors
- Do the “12 Days of Christmas” anonymously for a family
- Participate in a Giving Tree
- Neighborhood Christmas Caroling the Monday before Christmas
- Christmas Eve Dinner with the very important glass of Egg Nog
- Leave Hot Cocoa and Cookies out for Santa
- Christmas Slippers or Pajamas
- Oranges in Christmas Stockings
- Christmas morning Sticky Buns for Breakfast
My dear friend Karen told me about a wonderful tradition she does. Each Christmas Eve she bakes and decorates a cake for Baby Jesus! What a brilliant idea! What are some of your favorite Holiday traditions? I would love to hear them!
It can be easy to get sidelined by all the commercial aspects; yet for me each one of these traditions holds special memories and feelings. The one thing they all have in common is family and love. May each of your holidays be filled with joy and love, and may God bless you as you celebrate Christ’s birth.