Wednesday, December 24, 2014

christmas traditions...

I can't believe it is Christmas Eve already.  The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas has just flown by.  I really wanted to do an Advent celebration with the kids, reminiscent of when I was a child.  But I didn't find one that I liked and so I missed my opportunity this year.  I'd like to add this to our Christmas traditions for next year, so hopefully I will remember in June that I want to do this so I can find one well before the time I need it.

My goal for this Christmas season was to spend more purposeful family time together and focus less on the presents aspect of the holiday.  I like to think we achieved the perfect balance but it is difficult to combat all the commercialism.

One tradition we have is to put our Christmas tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving.  We have an artificial tree which we bought when we moved into this house and I love it.  I was raised going to a tree farm and finding the perfect Christmas tree, and I would love to do that with my kids one year.  But it's hard to beat the ease of an artificial tree.  Due to a variety of reasons, we put our tree up but weren't able to decorate it for about a week.  I really liked the plain tree with just white lights but the kids overruled me.  Because, traditions are traditions.

When we were able to finally decorate the tree, Mark was at work.  So our tree has no ornaments on the top 2 feet, but the kids deemed it perfect!  Every year I have them pose putting up the first ornament.  Since Mark was at work, John had to help Grace with her ornament.  It's fun to see how they both are laughing and he was so pleased I was able to get a good picture of her.  One day, I'm going to do a collage of all of these hanging the first ornament pictures, I think it will be fun to see how they've grown over the years.

Another tradition is taking a picture in front of the Christmas tree.  These are all from my phone, but they seemed to turn out okay.  For some reason, Grace wouldn't stop laughing.  So even though she wasn't looking at me, she looks happy.

We also bake cookies and decorate them together.  This is one of my favorite memories from my childhood and is easily one of our family favorites.  It's become so much more enjoyable since the boys do pretty much everything themselves with some light supervision from me.  I love how they can bake cookies on their own.  They still over decorate the cookies but at least now I've convinced them to leave some undecorated.

I bought them a ninja-bread cookie decorating set this year.  So most of our cookies were either ninjas or superheros.  They also used a random elephant cookie cutter, because nothing says the birth of our Savior like an elephant covered in frosting and too many sprinkles.  Thanks to cookie mix in a bag, we made and decorated cookies four times this year.  It was so fun.

Another annual tradition is a gingerbread house decorating contest.  This year we had some additional helpers and there were 3 houses to judge.  We voted like they do in survivor, except you put down the number of the house you liked best.  The winning house was house number 3 and all the competitors then ate the house while drinking hot chocolate.  It was WAY too much sugar but it was fun.

Today the kids deemed it lazy, pj day and we are staying home all day.  Which, I'm pretty sure, is in response to the five hours of errands we did yesterday.  So we are listening to Christmas music, wrapping presents, making more cookies, addressing the last of our Christmas cards (I can't believe I waited this long to send them out this year) and getting ready to have my family over for dinner.  I can't think of a better way to spend Christmas Eve.

Hope you are enjoying Christmas Eve and preparing your hearts to celebrate the birth of our Savior...

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