Since it’s finally December, I can really dive in to this with out too much judgement from the humbugs out there. Truth be told, I was ready to start ALL things Christmas on November 1st! My husband usually makes sure I dial it down a notch when it’s that early.
Christmas has always been so special to me and something I look forward too and plan for for months! Growing up, it was always a huge production in my parents house. By the time my mom was done decorating, the inside looked like something out of a classic Christmas magazine and my dad & brothers always made the front yard glisten with tons of lights. Some of my most cherished memories are from the holiday season and it’s something I’ve always longed to share with children of my own! We had Landon in January of 2017 and our Christmas that year was so special. Is it just me or is there extra magic when little ones are around?!
Our first Christmas was spent in Maine. It was quiet and filled with so much love, oh and TONS of snow! It was my first white Christmas, ever and it was just the icing on the cake. We traveled to Arizona right after Christmas for lots of sunshine and more Christmas fun with my side of the family. It truly made me so thankful for the people in our lives and made me long for them to be closer for all of the holidays!
*The way Landon is all bundled up here makes me giggle & think of A Christmas Story*
This year I’ve really been thinking about what Christmas traditions we can start with our boys? EEK! B O Y S! Next Christmas we will have two babies to celebrate with! What traditions can we continue from our childhood? Here are some fun things we plan to do!
Traditions to start this year
1. Decorate the Saturday after Thanksgiving:
In a perfect world, I would start decorating on Black Friday but I can typically get my husband on board once his food coma wears off on Saturday morning. I love to decorate early because then I can enjoy our decorations for longer. Keep in mind, you don’t have to have expensive decorations to create a warm and festive space. 90% of mine were handed down to me by my mom and they’re my favorite in my Christmas decor collection. I smile as I open up each tote and remember where each decoration came from! Growing up, I shared those moments with my mom and it was always so special.
2. Give a gift on December 1st:
We actually just started this one this year! We picked up some Christmas pajamas (doorbuster deal at Carters!) and gave a Christmas book that we can enjoy a few times this month. Grandma bought him Elf on a Shelf, and I’m learning what a big responsibility this Elf is. Thankfully, he’s still too young to grasp the concept but we are throughly enjoying the book together.
3. Pick out family friendly activities to do in December:
This is a fun one! There are SO many things to do this time of year. Let each person in your family pick something that they want to do to celebrate the holiday season. Our community has so many light parades, tree lightings, and light displays. Check out your Facebook Events near you or housing community and see what’s available to you! Many are free and such fun activities for kids! Each year we drove around with my parents and looked at lights in neighborhoods close to us. Even as an adult, it is still one of my favorite things to do. Grab some hot chocolate and enjoy the ride.
4. Volunteer in your community:
I love to give back and I’m always looking for an opportunity to help people who need it most. The holidays always open up an array of volunteer opportunities. If you live somewhere with harsh winters, gather up some blankets and gently used coats and donate them to a local shelter. Last winter, I kept fleece throw blankets from Walmart in my car and handed them out when I came across someone homeless and in need. This tradition will help your family shift back to the true meaning of Christmas; GIVING.
5. Family slumber party:
Pick a night and some of your favorite Christmas movies. Stay up late and build a fort in the living room (any excuse to build a fort, I’m there!) and pig out with your favorite snacks. This is probably one of my favorites. Put the distractions of the day aside and just be present and intentional with your family. Soak up all the laughs and snuggles, this is the good stuff!
6. Bake goodies together:
For as long as I can remember, we always did this with my mom. Hershey kiss cookies, peanut butter balls, fudge…. okay my mouth is watering. Nothing beat the sugar cookies that we decorated with sprinkles and icing. We are mediocre cookie decorators at best but wow. We had so much fun! A friend of mine recently shared a new cookie recipe that I am DYING to try. Check it out here: https://www.bigbearswife.com/hot-chocolate-cookies/
7. Ditch all the toy clutter and give something they want, can wear, need & can read:
I’ve seen this one a lot lately and I kind of love it. I’m typing this as I literally just admitted to going overboard the other day. But really, it makes the perfect sense to give this way! Pick 1-2 things off the Christmas list that they truly want. Grab a new pair of shoes or a coat they can wear. Pick up something they need; a new book bag, a bedroom make over (we did this for our little one this year, he’s in a big boy room now), and, something to read! Books are so powerful and a huge hit in our home. You can never have too many!
8. Make crafts with the kids:
My mom still has some of the things my brother and I made when we were kids. We’re now 31 and 27 and she still puts them out each year. She’s one of a kind, that lady. A favorite memory of mine was doing Christmas crafts with my aunt. Nothing is cuter than the milk jug snowmen and Pinterest has tons of adorable ways to make one!
9. A new ornament each year:
I absolutely love picking out a new ornament each year. Landon chooses one and Nathan & I pick one. Ok, I’ll admit, this year I chose ours. It was a Friends ornament and let’s be real, I couldn’t pass it up. It’s so fun to open up the ornament box each year and see how your family has grown over the years.
Seriously, this ornament! You guys! If you need one too, head to Target (Amazon has them also)
10. Open a gift on Christmas Eve:
We did this as kids and it’s definitely one I want to continue. On Christmas Eve, as we would wind down for the evening & get ready for bed, we were allowed to open one gift. It could be anything! A cozy pair of pajamas, a new pair of slippers or a book to enjoy before bed. Personally, I love a new pair of PJ’s to wear the next morning during the Christmas fun!
Having traditions is such a special way to be intentional as a parent and shift your focus and enjoy back to your family. As your children grow it’s something they will look forward to each year and it’s something everyone as a family gets to enjoy.
Last year when we went home to Phoenix, my mom had some photos done for us. Look how tiny our little guy was! I’m so glad we have a few pictures to hang on too from his first Christmas. ♥️
I hope you found some ideas here that inspired you to start traditions with your family! Don’t forget to share your favorite traditions and memories with me!