One of my favorite things about the Holiday Season, is all of the traditions we have made over the years as a family. Some are traditions we have carried over from our past as children, and some are those we have made on our own! These are some of my personal faves AND some really great traditions from a few of my favorite people!
Light Looking: We go near and far to drive and see lights. A few nights a week we bundle the boys up, toss on our jammies, and hit the road. Most of the time spent is with the flashers on driving 5 mph but, we don’t ever want to go back home. It’s always great to check out your local online news articles to find which homes in your area have been voted for best light displays!
Santa’s Bells: This is a favorite of mine! Once the littles are down for bed, grab your top secret Santa bell and jingle it outside of their window(s)! Just be sure to hurry back inside before they come looking for you!
Christmas Jammies: We always love to find matching PJ’s to wear for Christmas Eve! It makes for awesome Christmas morning photos!
White Elephant Gift Exchange: Every Christmas Eve we all get together at my Aunt’s for a huge family & friends gathering. Each couple is asked to bring one or two gifts to add into the gift exchange. All gifts have a min/max. and must come wrapped. We count the total of gifts for the game, put a number in a basket for each gift, and everyone draws. Number 1 goes first of course at choosing any gift under the tree. They unwrap, and number 2 is next. Once number 2 has their turn, they can either choose to open another gift OR steal number 1’s gift. If they choose to take the opened gift from number 1, number 1 will unwrap another gift of their choice. Now, for number 3. Number 3 can either choose to open a gift OR take an opened gift from number 1 or number 2. This continues until everyone has either chosen or taken a gift. Now, for the twist! Once everyone has chosen/opened their gift, the game goes back to number 1. To finish the game, number 1 is allowed to either keep their gift OR choose ANY open gift from the game. *Gifts can only be in a total of four hands before it is “frozen” or out of play, and not allowed to be stolen again. A single turn continues until a wrapped gift is selected and unwrapped, even if a gift was stolen. When a gift is taken from you, you either take an already opened gift, or open a wrapped gift, to replace the gift you lost. A player can not immediately take back a gift that was just taken from him/her.
Cookies for Santa: I’ve learned that it’s easier (and more fun), to make your cookies for Santa in a couple days’ time! We cook, cut, and bake our cookies a day before decorating! It gives me enough time to bake ALL of the batter so nothing goes to waste and the extra time also keeps a cleaner kitchen! Since I add the base coat of the icing onto the cookies myself, I usually do that while my little guy is asleep and then let him do all the fun decorating the next day!
Kids’ Gift Exchange: Every year at Thanksgiving, my entire family throws all of their kids’ names into a basket and let’s each child pick a name. Come Christmas Eve, we all get together at my Aunt’s house and let the little one’s pass their gift off to the person they had chosen at Thanksgiving! Each kid gets a gift and it saves us from buying for every single little in our family!
Christmas Brie: My mom makes the incredibly awesome raspberry brie croissant every Christmas Eve. Most of the time she has one for my grandfather to take home for himself and one for the family. This year I made one myself because I was craving it’s delicious gooeyness!
Stocking Collectors: Growing up, and still to this day, my aunt would collect a new set of stockings for their family every year and hang each years’ stockings across the shelf that runs through their home. I have long awaited the day for a family of my own to do the same. I try and make our stockings every year but, there are times I struggle between handmade and the gorgeous store bought ones!
Here it is! A collection of 110 handmade stockings, sewn to perfection by one of the #1 awarded quilters in the nation, Sylvia Clary!
Yearly Ornament: Every year, we choose an ornament for our family. The first year was an ornament with little man’s picture since he was born only a few weeks before Christmas. The next year, we were gifted the cutest personalized penguin ornament. Last year, we chose a frog ornament to personalize ourselves with all of our names! & This year, we chose to create an ornament ourselves with one of our family photos from our session with Jordan Emmit!
Santa Wrapping: So, this year I’ve decided to start a new tradtition. One of the biggest oopsies my parents would slip on with the Santa secret was accidentally using the same wrapping paper on some gifts as the paper used on our gifts from them. This year I wanted to find a paper that would easily be found for years to come. After searching high and low, I decided on this black poster paper from Hobby Lobby that comes in a HUGE roll for only $6! I used Santa’s “magic pen” (a permanent white chalk marker) to write the boys’ names in a fun font. Every year Santa will drop his gifts wrapped in the same paper each time he slides down our chimney! That saves another Santa question from our little ones in a few years!
From my Bestie! Christmas Eve Box: Her little one gets a Christmas Eve Box full of Christmas awesomeness! She tied up a box with a pair of PJ’s, a Christmas Movie, a Christmas Cup for hot cocoa, popcorn, reindeer food, a small gift, her yearly ornament, and some sweet treats! On Christmas Eve, their family will pop the movie in, slide into the Christmas jammies, and cuddle up as they snack on their hot cocoa and popcorn bar to await Santa’s arrival!
Reindeer Food: This year, don’t forget to leave carrots, celery, or special treats out for Santa’s favorite pals!