It’s cozy. It feels homemade. Just hearing it evokes so many memories and emotion, that sometimes I can actually smell certain smells. It’s what the holidays are composed of, it’s what makes them special. We all have them–sometimes whether we know it or not.
There are some traditions we’ve have always done, always wanted to do, and I have planned to every detail. There are others that we have stumbled upon, and my children will remind me of them, saying things like, “Are we going to make cookies again this year while we decorate the tree? We always do that.” I’m reminded that they hold onto those things–they are remembering not only what we did, but how it made them feel.
Traditions don’t have to be “fancy”, or “time intensive,” although sometimes they might be. Often times it’s the most simple thing that kids love the most—it really comes down to the time you’re spending together. The dictionary defines tradition as “something that’s handed down,” and anything that your family loves to do together falls in that category. My children’s memories will be founded in the traditions we have–it will be what they remember of their time at home, and my wish is that the word tradition will conjure up all the wonderful times that we’ve had, and that they will think of home, and how much we love them.
With Thanksgiving coming up next week, I think it’s the perfect time to be thinking about the traditions in your home, and new ones you’d like to start. This week I decided to make a list of our favorite holiday traditions, and when I actually wrote them all out, it amazed me how many we have…and love.
*Making donuts and hot chocolate on the day of the first big snowfall.
*Watching a Christmas movie on Thanksgiving night
*Having the kids choose names for a sibling gift exchange
*Cutting down our Christmas tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and going out for ice cream or hot chocolate afterward. When we moved to Texas from Michigan last year, I was worried that this tradition might not be able to continue, but I was THRILLED to find that there are wonderful tree farms here too! We went to the Old Time Christmas Tree Farm in Spring, and had a delightful experience. We want to try a couple different places, so this year we’re heading to Dewberry Farm!
*Decorating our tree on Sunday, while making and decorating sugar cookies.
*Being involved in an annual Nativity Exhibit and Concert the first week in December, then attending the concert and walking around to see all the amazing nativities.
*Being involved in some kind of Sub-for-Santa
*A girls’ day to see the Nutcracker and have lunch.
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*Unwrapping then reading a different Christmas story each night leading up to Christmas
*Reading aloud Dickens’ A Christmas Carol as a family.
*Opening a box from our advent calendar each morning–the weekdays hold candy, and the weekends include enjoying family activities…driving around to see lights, singing Christmas carols, watching our favorite Christmas movies while eating popcorn, and more.
*Deciding with Rick the gift we will make for our kids, then working together to get them done in time!
*Making yummy Christmas treats, then driving around together to deliver them to friends and neighbors.
*Visiting the Santa House, so the kids can sit on Santa’s lap and see the reindeer.
*The Wade Family Annual Nativity play on Christmas Eve…by far one of our favorites. My husband is always the donkey, I’m the narrator and cameraman, and the other parts are divvied out
*Making gingerbread houses
*Inviting friends over for a Christmas song sing-a-long
*Dressing up and going out for dinner on Christmas Eve
*Rick and I wrapping all the gifts together on Christmas Eve, while watching movies (Yes, we purposely save all of our wrapping until then!)
*Checking out the stockings first thing Christmas morning, then eating breakfast, followed by opening presents. We open them one-by-one, starting with the youngest and working our way up.
*Staying in our pajamas all day Christmas Day, then getting dressed and going to see a movie in the afternoon (There have been years we haven’t been able to see a movie, due to small babies, but we love it, and do it whenever we can!)
This week, sit down and make a list of your own traditions, and perhaps even decide on some new ones you’d like to start! I’d also love to know what some of your favorite traditions are…I might even add them to our list!