I’m really bad at planning ahead for birthdays, holidays, baby showers, etc… I usually end up grabbing something at the last minute, or getting a generic gift and putting little thought into it. I wish I had the time and energy and willpower to be creative in these situations and make unique, special things to “spice up” the occasion. Every once in awhile I pull out something great. Every once in awhile. A long, long, long while. 🙂
Porter’s 2nd Christmas is coming up. As a parent, I really want to make Christmas really special and “magical” for him (and the new baby). This holiday has, in recent years, become such a pain in my rear with shifting from family to family and trying to balance everyone we need to see.
When I was little, Christmas always seemed really magical to me. Some of the things I remember are:
- Listening to Christmas music all the time (especially Alvin and the Chipmunks!).
- Going to a tree farm and cutting down our Christmas tree
- Getting a new ornament every year (usually for Christmas), and when decorating the tree, looking at all our ornaments from years past.
- Going on special drives just to look for houses all decked out with Christmas lights
- Baking cookies with my mom and leaving them out for Santa with a glass of milk and carrots for the reindeer.
- Spending Christmas Eve at my dad’s parents. I remember getting stockings and my sister and I would color and draw pictures.
- We used to always get a chocolate advent calendar, which I seriously always looked forward to.
- Going to church on Christmas Eve for the candlelight service
- I remember anxiously waiting up Christmas Eve to “hear” the reindeer. We always left our Christmas Tree lights on that night, and it just added to the magic.
- Waking up way too early and finding our stockings and a gift beside it (usually a holiday bear or stuffed animal of some sort). My sister and I would wake up and dig through our stockings while my parents slept.
- Always getting an orange in the bottom of my stocking, which I never had any idea why but recently I found out there is a tradition about a Christmas Orange.
- My stocking was made by my grandma… the design on it was embroidered by hand (as was my sister and brother’s). Last year I found a stocking for Porter and my mom made his stocking, so we continued that tradition. I guess I should find a stocking for the new baby so she can start on that!
Anyhow, I really want to start up some neat traditions of our own. Ryan and I have continued the stocking and one gift from Santa (opened and sitting beside the stocking) tradition. Last year we attended Westwinds *awesome* Christmas Eve candlelight service. I look forward to that again this year.
We’ve also added a few traditions of our own:
- Our gifts to Porter are kept to a minimum. We follow the “4 gift rule” to this rhyme: “Something you want, something you need, something to play with and something to read.”
- This year I will help Porter set out cookies and milk for Santa
- This year I am going to do a 25 days til Christmas socks (scroll down when you get to the link) in place of the advent calendar. In each sock there will be a tiny gift/treat. Something relating to Jesus, Christmas, winter etc…
- When Ryan was little he got new pajamas every Christmas Eve. We’re going to continue that as well.
- For most holidays/seasons I have books relating to that holiday/season and we have a book basket in the living room that we put the current books in to read. I love buying books, especially from Scholastic!
Another thing I want to begin this year is having Porter pick out some of his toys to donate. I want my kids to realize they are very, very lucky to receive new toys every year, and not take that for granted. I want them to learn the gift of giving as well (and, it’ll cut down on toy overflow!). I also think, when Porter is a little older maybe we’ll take the kids to pick out new toys for Toys for Tots.
So… the reason for this post. While I feel like I have a good base for setting up holiday traditions for Christmas, I wish I had “littler” things to do to make the holiday special. Something that doesn’t revolve around getting gifts. I keep thinking about something with a note from Santa but I can’t think of anything unique or “different.”
Here are a few neat “magical touches” I found online:
- Santa’s Bootprints
- Santa Clause Evidence Kit
- Personalized phone call from Santa!
- Personalized letter from Santa
- Track Santa Clause throughout the year
- 81 Christmas Traditions to do with your family
Anyhow… I’d LOVE to know what your traditions were/are. Have you found/heard of any traditions that sound like fun to include? What about other holidays? Do you do anything special to make Thanksgiving special? What about Easter? I’d love to make Easter a little more about religion, but honestly we’re poor examples of including religion in our everyday lives. I read Porter his kids bible every night and we pray every night (nights that I put him to bed. Ryan isn’t “into” that), but other than that we just aren’t all that religious and I’d love to include that more. Like with Christmas… I’d love to include something religious into our Christmas traditions (other than just reading our Christmas books about Jesus’ birth etc).
So… fire away!