Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Traditions

Here are some of my favorite traditions that we do as a family each year:

Making snowflakes! It's not the Christmas season until paper snowflakes are taped all over the sliding glass doors.

Watching Christmas movies! White Christmas, Elf, A Christmas Story, It's a Wonderful Life, Charlie Brown Christmas, LDS version of The Nativity, Mr. Kruger's Christmas, and The Sound of Music (yes, I know the Sound of Music isn't even remotely about Christmas, but for some reason, we watched it at Christmastime every year. Shrug).

Advent calendar: my sister made us a beautiful Advent calendar box, and even though I'm horrible at making sure we do the activity that's listed on each day, we still have fun with it. Brandon's cousin also made us a fun wooden Santa Advent calendar that the kids love doing (even though we've lost some of the numbers during the years!).

Advent, itself! The tradition came from the Old Country (you know, Europe and Scandinavia) and I love that Brandon's family incorporated it, so we did, too! Each Sunday night, we sing a Christmas carol, read a story about Christmas, and then we turn off all the lights, turn on a beautiful Christmas song, and light a candle on the Advent Wreath. The second Sunday we light two candles. The third, three. The fourth, four, and finally, on Christmas Eve (because we forget to light it on Christmas Day), the big one. It represents the countdown to Christ's birth and how He is the light of the world.

Jesus Stocking! This tradition was started in my family when I was a teenager, I believe. Every Christmas Eve, we take the time to write down a gift we want to give Jesus during the year, and then we place it in the stocking.

Acting out the Nativity is a must! The kids dress up, Brandon reads from the scriptures, I have the camera --you know how this goes.

Of course, then there's the normal stuff, like the Ward Christmas party, the Christmas program at church on Sunday, drinking hot chocolate, eating goodies, planning gifts, sending Christmas cards, baking treats, building snowmen, maybe do gingerbread houses (if I get to it), all the decorations, concerts, music, and lack of sleep.

Our Christmas Eve tradition is thusly:
*Watch Christmas movies all day while making treats for neighbors
*Eat a beautiful dinner (with all of those unhealthy foods in the previous post)
*Act out the Nativity
*Jesus Stocking
*Watch the Nativity (the version)
*Open the pajama gift (this one is hit or miss with me)
*Set out cookies/milk for Santa
*Family prayer/go to bed!

Christmas Morning:
*Up and open gifts (one at a time if possible)
*Breakfast of Cinnamon Rolls
*Play with toys/read the books/do the puzzles/play the games/listen to music/watch movies

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?


Julie said...

I am not a "traditions" person EXCEPT at Christmas. I love everything they represent. We watch White Christmas after the first snow of the season (and several times thereafter). We have certain albums we have to listen to- the Carpenters, Amy Grant, Garth Brooks Beyond the Season, Ring Christmas Bells with Bryan Stokes Mitchell

Julie said...

Sorry- phone problem. We make Spring Rolls on Christmas morning to take to the neighbors, we act out the nativity, we make a Christmas movie every year and watch it on Christmas Eve (as well as our movies from years past), we eat clam chowder on Christmas Eve (with breadsticks). This year, I finally finished the advent calendar I've worked on for four years and I filled it with activities that worked well around our family's schedule. It has made for such a fun season- and has made Stanton and I more sincere about the time we have spent with our children. We've followed a scripture advent for our family scripture study and followed that with a Christmas book each evening (give or take). It has been wonderful.
And the ultimate was participating in The messiah this season. That will become a new tradition, I believe.

This is my absolute favorite time of year. I'm so thankful for it!

Julie said...

Oh, and I HAVE to watch It's A Wonderful Life while wrapping Christmas presents...and not until then every year. And muppet Christmas Carol is a must. Can't have Christmas without watching it 5 or 6 times. :)

cheryl cardall said...

On the 23rd we have a birthday party dinner for Joseph Smith and go caroling with friends. Our Christmas Eve traditions sound similar to yours. We also open Grandparent and cousin gifts that night. We also try to see a fun movie on Christmas Eve day if finances allow it (tomorrow we get to see Frozen...yay!) We also have homemade sweet rolls for Christmas morning breakfast. We stay in jammies all day and play and watch movies and enjoy each other.

Constantine said...
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