Our Countdown to Christmas continues—9 days until Christmas.
The dictionary says it is “the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, from generation to generation” but in our family, a “tradition” is anything we’ve done once that our kids liked enough to assume we would repeat it. I like to take the simplest parts of Christmas, and turn them into something special, creating simple traditions and memories that last a lifetime. We don’t just put up a tree at our house. Oh, no, we have a Tree Trimming Celebration—it’s a huge deal around here. Tree Trimming Day was on Saturday, and now the kids are excited about the rest of our traditions—beginning with the wrapped book countdown we’re starting tonight!
It doesn’t have to be a spectacular event to be memorable or become a tradition. It’s all about making everyday things a little more special. Elaine Stephen told me about a Christmas Eve tradition in her family. They turn off the lights, listen to Christmas music and dance in a circle holding hands around the tree. It’s such a simple thing and doesn’t cost a penny, but I bet her son looks forward to the event every year! We don’t dance around the tree on Christmas Eve in our house, but we do make a big deal about hanging the stockings. I can’t remember if that comes before or after they unwrap their new pajamas (yet another tradition), but don’t worry—one of the girls will let me know!
Even our Christmas morning breakfast is considered a sacred tradition. We have a simple breakfast casserole (so I can make it ahead) and orange juice in between discovering Santa’s gifts and opening presents from the family. Not only does it provide a hearty breakfast for a long morning (someone thinks we have to get up at dawn on Christmas!), but it helps separate the magical, Santa portion of the morning from the presents we want them to know came from Mom & Dad. It also allows them to play with their new, exciting gifts for a bit while I set the table for breakfast.
If you’ve been caught up in the hustle & bustle of the holiday season, take some time to think about what tasks you can slow down to create lasting memories for your family. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture to become something special. What simple traditions does your family enjoy in December?
This is SO important, Heather! Our very favorite preschool teacher always stressed this: it’s not WHAT you do that’s important…it’s that you have something that your kids remember and enjoy from year to year. My mom always made fondue on Christmas Eve and I have such great memories of sitting with my sibs….those loooong forks in hand, giggling and eating and just being…happy.
Oh, and her other point for Christmas morning was exactly what you do…hearty breakfast! The combo of sweets, no sleep, etc. can bring on a major meltdown come Christmas morning. Having “real” food is a great antidote.
Dawn? That’s way late on Dec 25th. We’re up before 7, and that’s without any kids to come and jump on our bed!
Granted, we can go back to bed after the presents are opened for as long as we like as well 🙂
Heather Sokol says
Ha ha! I guess dawn isn’t entirely accurate for the middle of winter. It’s still dark outside. We’re usually up by 6, and we are *not* morning people!