Christmas is my favorite season! I love to remember our wonderful traditions of Christmas as a kid. So when my husband and I started our little family almost fourteen years ago, we were excited to see what traditions we could make our own. I’d love to share some of ours, and hear yours as well. It’s never too late for us to add some new ones!
- Singing around the Christmas tree
Our family isn’t really a singing family, but we really enjoy Christmas carols. When my oldest two were toddlers they came up with the idea of singing around the Christmas tree (I think they just thought it sounded Christmas-sy at first). So on Christmas Eve Eve (Dec. 23) every year, all five of us sing the favorites while we sit , gazing at the tree. That corny night sitting in a circle on the floor is what makes it seem like Christmas in our house. At some point someone will argue over which carol to sing next, and what the lyrics are to the second verse of “Away in a Manger” (because who can remember all those verses?). However, when I asked my oldest what her favorite tradition was, she didn’t hesitate.
- Christmas Eve service
There is nothing we love more than Christmas Eve service at our church with our kids. Between the carols being sung, the candles being lit, the bells ringing, and hearing the message about the real reason for the season, it brings me the kind of peace that I long for all year. We have so much to be thankful for, and our service gives us time to reflect on that before the craziness of Christmas Eve celebrations.
- Swedish Smorgasbord
This one I inherited by marrying into a family with Swedish roots. On my first Christmas Eve with my in-laws I was confused and somewhat appalled at the array of dead fish, dry bread and pickled things. However, I have grown to appreciate that when the Bond Ost cheese and potato sausage arrive, it really feels like Christmas. And truth be told, ride pudding is pretty darned good.
- Christmas Eve Sleepover
When we moved into our new house and the kids were still little, all of our bedrooms were on different levels. This meant too many unsupervised sets of snooping eyes on Christmas Eve. Out of necessity, we made all the kids sleep in our bedroom (a rare treat) so we could keep an eye on who was sleeping, and who was awake, if you know what I mean. We read “The Night Before Christmas”, as they all snuggle up on the floor in their Christmas PJs. I take just a minute to stare at their not-so-little sleeping faces before I dash madly off to finish the Christmas Eve preparations, and am thankful for one more magical Christmas with everyone under the same roof. On Christmas morning , we all get to rush out and see the tree and all the surprises at the same time.
- Santa surveillance
When my middle was getting to be of cynical age, he decided to set up a “Santa trap” with his tablet on the balcony above the living room, capturing footage of any Santa action that might take place around the tree. Imagine his surprise on Christmas morning when he fast forwarded those hours of footage to see the big man himself filling stockings and leaving gifts. The kids must have watched that video 100 times. Now he shares with his little sister all about the magic of those videos, and then gets out that tablet on Christmas Eve, just to see what might be going on out by that tree this year.
- Christmas Morning Breakfast
One of the first things the kids dash out to see on Christmas morning is the breakfast table. Somehow late at night, it gets set with all the finest sparkling Christmas dishes, and Santa leaves a trail of clementines from the stockings to the table. (When our kids were little they were convinced these miniature oranges were straight from Santa’s sleigh). There are gooey sticky buns, and other delicacies , but mostly the kids are excited to see those clementines from the North Pole. They start asking about them in October.
We love making Christmas as magical and memory-filled for our kids as it was for us growing up. As our children grow older, it’s fun to see them continuing our traditions, and starting those of their own. Now that we have a teen and pre-teen, it’s extra heart warming to see them making Christmas magical for their 6 year old sister. What are some of your favorite family traditions?