Here are some of the posts I've written, for reference:
2007 Holiday Traditions: Making it Magical
2007 Pondering Presents
2007 What does YOUR Santa bring?
2008 Christmas Traditions
2011 New Christmas Traditions
Here are the Traditions that have stuck for 2012:
- Elf on the Shelf. This little guy was introduced into our family in 2008 and about 2 years ago Bob joined our family as well. The boys LOVE hunting for the elves in the morning and I think this will be a tradition we will continue.
- Mini Tree in the bedroom: The kids each have their own mini tree with lights in their bedrooms (Amelia's does not have ornaments yet... but will next year!)
- Book Basket: We have TONS of Christmas books (i'd say about 30? 40?) And one year I did wrap 25 of them to unwrap as an "advent" type of activity
- Christmas Eve Candlelight service at Westwinds
- Getting a new ornament every year (we usually get numerous... a new ornament from any vacation we go on, one for each kid and usually one as a "family or couple")
- New PJ's on Christmas Eve
- Cutting down our Christmas Tree: This tradition I wanted to begin when Porter was little, but somehow we just kept pushing it aside and the fake tree was so easy to use. This year, however, we began the tradition and will continue!
- I hope we'll continue the decorating Christmas cookies with cousins on Christmas Eve
We are still pretty closely implementing 3 of the 4 Traditions that the Anderson's use:
- Each little person gets their own wrapping paper. None of the gifts are marked. Christmas morning they find a piece of wrapping paper at the bottom of their stocking that matches the wrapping paper on their presents.
- Each kiddo is getting 3 gifts from us Want/Need/Surprise... although technically this year they're getting 4 gifts, and not necessarily along the lines of want/need/surprise. They also get a gift from each of their siblings. Porter and Hudson each get to shop for their own siblings, so it makes the gift giving more personal.
- Christmas Eve PJ's (though we don't open a "read" present because we have so many other gosh darn Christmas books!
Santa bring one "big" gift for each kiddo (this year they are getting scooters), and fills the stockings. He also brings 2-3 smaller ($10ish) gifts that are wrapped in special "santa" paper (red paper with white HO HO HO on it). That is all Santa brings. Us parents want credit too!!
We get the kids 3-4 gifts as well as a gift from each sibling for a total of 6 presents to open Christmas morning. I do wrap our presents ahead of time and put them out under the tree throughout the month, but the past 2 years have not put names on the presents but instead "coded" each child with their own wrapping paper. They don't know which paper belongs to whom, and won't find out until Christmas morning when they find the little piece of wrapping paper in the bottom of their stocking.
So, what are YOUR Christmas traditions? I'd love to know what special things you and your family do year after year, as well as how you determine the gift giving. Leave me some comments... I'm feeling lonely here on the blog!