Dec 15, 2016

Favorite Things Friday: 10 Christmas Traditions

Today I wanted to share my favorite Christmas traditions that either I have grown up doing with my family, or that me and my husband have started with our own little family.

1.  Christmas Candy for Friends

I make this Christmas candy every year for our friends and it is easy to make and delicious.  My grandma used to make this and I loved it- plus it reminds me of her so it's also sentimental. The kids and I do it- usually without Trey but he gets to deliver some with us- which is half the fun!  They love driving around the neighborhood with Christmas music and running up to knock on doors- sometimes they run to not get caught haha!

2. Christmas Cards for Loved Ones

I like to send my friends and family Christmas cards- especially the ones that I don't get to see or that don't have any social media accounts to stay in touch.  I don't do a brag letter, but will write little notes to the ones that aren't in touch to let them know we are doing well and that we think of them often. This year my Tiny Prints Christmas Cards turned out pretty cute and I was able to put a bunch of outtakes from family pictures on the back- even the funny mess-ups :)

3. Christmas music and decorations

I turn on my Christmas music as early as beginning of November and never get sick of it- mostly because I just don't listen to music very often- my kids make enough noise haha!  I also start putting decorations up right after Halloween but not the tree until right after Thanksgiving- usually on my birthday because it is just my favorite :)

4. Nativity read aloud or act out

On Christmas Eve night we always read the nativity or act it out.  This year we will be with lots of people so acting it out will be fun.  The kids love it.

5. Drive around to see Christmas Lights

We try to drive around and look at the lights on some of the neighborhoods a few times during the month of December- just whenever we are in the car already going or coming somewhere and of course we turn on the music.

6. Keeping it Simple

Christmas presents are pretty simple and nothing too expensive.  We have counted family vacations as the big present some years and gotten the kids a bike on other years, but usually I don't like the tree to be overwhelmed by presents and keep it to about 3-4 gifts per kid.  I just don't like when presents and things become more important than people and Christ.  My kids have always been very excited and satisfied without a ton of gifts and they still feel spoiled and loved.  I usually try to keep a budget of about $60 per child and for my husband (but we always gift ourselves with "houses" and "cars" or "phones" because we hate spending extra money haha!)

7. Being Secret Santa for One Family

We like to find a family that we know is in need of love and secretly drop off a box of presents to let them know they are being thought about often and are not alone.  I think that not knowing who did it would make them look around and see just how many people DO love and care about them.  Plus, my kids get a kick out of watching me or Trey run as fast as we can to the car and try to make a getaway without being caught! :)

8. Counting Our Blessings

Throughout the months of November and December we try to point out to the kids all of the things we are blessed with that many are not fortunate enough to have.  Health, food, safety, freedom, warm clothing and a place to live, are some examples.  I try to let the kids know how blessed I feel to have them too and how much I love them.  Just the little words and actions make this happen.

9. Thank you's

I try to write a nice card to people that deserve a thank you and gift them with something too.  Apartment managers, mailmen, teachers, etc.  People that work behind the scenes and that don't always get recognition for all they do.

10. One gift for Jesus

We just started this 1 year ago, but we decided to give a gift to Jesus by writing something on a piece of paper and putting it in "his stocking"- mainly just something we are going to work harder at.  I have to confess that this year my kids have not been too concerned with this gift they chose of being peacemakers and being nicer to each other, but I am hoping that in the bigger picture and in the years to come they will get more out of it.

One thing I always try to tell myself is that I need to make sure I'm not overwhelming myself with STUFF that isn't important at Christmas and make sure I'm making time for my kids and not stressing so much that I am less patient and loving towards my family.  I think the main idea is to focus on Christ and having him even closer to us at this time of year.  It really is the most wonderful time of the year!  Hope its a good one for you all!

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