Today if you were to come over for a cup of coffee I would share with you some of my favorite holiday traditions… In hopes you would share yours.
The day after Thanksgiving kicks off our Christmas celebration. Clint our elf (and now Chippy next year) will return with a full-blown “I’m back” breakfast. This is simple… yet Maddux looks forward to it every year. He brings back a bunch of Maddux’s favorites (and we will start adding in Hudson’s favorites too) But right now Maddux loves those cheap hostess mini donuts… so we get powdered sugar and chocolate…. Chocolate milk… Strawberry yogurt.. Mangoes…. And usually he brings along some holiday plates or cups… or whatever Mom finds at Target the week before :) He always comes back with a personalized note about how much he has missed the kids – what he has been up to – and what Santa is expecting of them (we use this as a good reminder on whatever we are working on – brushing our teeth, waiting your turn to speak, etc etc)
That weekend we attend Stroll on State. It’s on Saturday after Thanksgiving… we head down there and visit with Santa… watch Christmas movies… drink hot chocolate… watch the parade… or anything else going on that year. They always have cute things for the kids there… and this year we got to see a live little play on Charlie Brown that Maddux loved – and is now begging to be put in a show just like it :)
Every year there is a holiday shop that supports a local organization here … but you send your child in with a shopping list of people and a designated amount of money… a teenager (dressed like an elf) comes out and takes your child through the “store” while you sit in the waiting room. They help them wrap it and they come out with their Christmas shopping finished. I love this little tradition because I am not able to influence anything he buys. He gets to pick what he wants to get everyone… and its hilarious seeing what he picks out. Last year… almost every single person got beanie babies. Except for me. I got the exact same cup he got me the year before (and I am curious to see if I get that one again this year!) But if you find anything like this at your schools or charity events… I highly suggest it. We send him in with like 20 bucks and about 10 people to buy for and I am amazed at everything he comes out with. And he is so proud watching everyone open his gifts on Christmas day.
We also go and have breakfast with Santa locally. It is set up downtown and its pretty cute. It’s a buffet with Eggs, Pancakes, Bacon, etc… and you sit and eat with the kids… Santa comes in and walks around to all the tables and takes time to chat with all the kids. Then after you are done eating… Santa sits up in front in his sleigh and you have the opportunity to take photos with him. It’s super cute and they also have ornaments the kids can make and I believe they had a cookie for them to decorate also last year.
Every year we have them pick out an ornament. I try and focus on something they are into that year… something that kind of represents their personality. Maddux has superhero ones… star wars ones… and a penguin one. The penguin – he was obsessed with the movie Happy Feet at age 2. He watched it constantly…. So it was fitting for that year. This year his Godmother sent him a dinosaur ornament and then he picked out a Disney ornament on his own. Hudson got his baby’s first ornament which is also Disney related (seemed fitting because he will have gone to Disney twice in his first year of life)
Throughout the month we have a few Christmas activities we do. The grandkids decorate Christmas cookies together with Nana. Which is always a huge hit. And I like to go to make a few too because Maddux puts about 5 lbs of sprinkles on his and they make my teeth hurt just looking at them.
We have a family holiday party which has games for the kids… and Santa comes to visit with presents… and also the white elephant gift exchange among the adults. We just started this last year and was hilarious… I am looking forward to it this weekend and I can’t wait to see what everyone brings.
We write letters to Santa… and Clint always comes back with a video from Santa (portablenorthpole.com) We make gingerbread houses… craft an ornament…. Decorate the house together… On weekends we try to make time to watch a Christmas movie downstairs on the projector with popcorn and hot chocolate. We drive around and look at Christmas lights… and also take a night to look at the light display in Rockford. We do an advent calendar with the kids…
We buy a toy for toys for tots. Maddux picks it out and we discuss why were getting it. We have previously been able to sign up for a specific child, however this year I changed jobs and my company does not offer it. So we put one in the toys for tots bin at Toys R Us.
We buy the boys matching pjs. We do not give them to them on Christmas Eve. Although I do love that tradition. But we give them to them the beginning of December. So I can take photos of them in their matching pjs by the Xmas tree :)
This year we are also spending a weekend in Disney. If you haven’t been to Disney during the holidays… you should try. It is by far the best time of the year to go. It’s beautiful. The parks are filled with holiday décor… and Christmas music playing… and just so many details everywhere you look.
We also have Maddux make a few gifts each year for grandparents. We usually go with something Christmas related… like the un painted Christmas village pieces you can find at Michaels.. Or painted ornaments… coffee cups… etc. We usually take a trip to Michaels and I have him pick out a few things to make. I try and let him decide what to give… It’s a lot more fun for him then if I grab stuff on my own.
Christmas Eve we spend at home with family. My dad, grandpa, and sister’s family all come over. We eat brunch and exchange gifts and casually hang out … that evening we put out cookies for Santa – set out reindeer food…and we say our goodbyes to our elves.. and then we read Twas the night before Christmas . The boys are tucked into bed… and Jerry and I usually take this time to hang out on the couch. We watch my favorite Xmas movie – White Christmas… drink some wine… and then once the movie is over and we know the kids are fast asleep we start setting up for the Christmas morning surprises.
Christmas morning, Maddux has never woken up on his own. Isn’t that crazy? the boy loves his sleep. So Christmas morning is calm so far (I wonder if that will change this year) We have been able to get up on our own… make a pot of coffee… get cinnamon rolls thrown into the oven…. Set up the camera and video camera… Then wake up Maddux. So we will see if that changes this year… with Hudson or Maddux…. I won’t lie though… the calm mornings are kind of nice :)
I am sure I am forgetting some of our traditions… but that is all of them I can think of off the top of my head.
What about you? What are your favorite traditions?