Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Holiday Traditions

I can remember being on some parenting listserv (maybe misc.kids; maybe Parent-L) when C. was little and people were discussing holiday traditions. I picked up a few from that discussion and thought I'd share them.

First of all, being the children's book lover that I am, we do an Advent Calendar with Holiday books. The eventual goal (we may be there this year...) is to have 24 Holiday-themed books. When you get out your holiday decorations after Thanksgiving, wrap each book in wrapping paper and set it out under the tree. Starting with December 1st (or later if you don't have 24 books yet), each night one child gets to pick a "present" to unwrap and we read the book as a family. Some of the books are wonderful classics that we look forward to every year and that are always the first opened. Some are really silly, goofy stories that get read once a year and that's it. And some are even Christmas board books from C's first Christmas!

The other tradition we have is to give new pajamas for Christmas Eve! It doesn't matter where we are on Christmas eve, the kids each get to open a present that contains new (but already-washed) pajamas. They get to wear them that night and then they have new jammies for Christmas morning pictures! My Sister-In-Law does this, but adds one element--the pajamas always arrive from Rudolph (the kids find them on the porch).

Oh, wait! I guess you'd call it a tradition... when I was growing up, my brother and I always got to exchange each other's presents on Christmas Eve. It took an edge off of the overwhelming excitement of waiting until Christmas morning, and we really appreciated the gifts to/from each other. Now that we often spend Christmas Eve at my in-law's, we allow our kids to open their gifts to each other the day BEFORE Christmas Eve.

I'd love to hear anyone else's holiday traditions!

Found this link at Kiddley with another neat advent idea...


Anonymous said...

hmm, off the top of my head: we don't decorate for christmas until dec 6 (st. nick), and they stay up until jan 6 (epiphany), or after our annual epiphany party. we have an advent wreath which we light every night during supper. the kids also get to open a present on christmas eve. when i was a kid, we got to open a few presents on christmas eve, but we had to wait until after midnight candlelight church service. :)

we usually do a cheap cardboard advent calendar (1 kid gets to open even days, 1 odd. i'll have to come up with something when connor is able to participate). i want to get a permanent wooden one with drawers, but haven't found one i like yet.

New Mama said...

The traditions you mentioned are two that I'd like to observe as well. I already have the book collection started! I'm also on the hunt for an advent calendar wall hanging (the kind where you take the ornament out of the pocket and put it on the tree). And a longstanding "tradition" with my husband has been to go out for Thai or African food on Christmas Eve -- last year we included Henry!

amy said...

Love the book idea! I think we'll do that. We did the jammie idea but this year none of them need pajamas at all! We already have way too many, so the deal is on xmas eve they'll get "something cozy," which will be an pillow with speakers for Jamie's iPod and a big SpongeBob body pillow, lol. For Ryan, probably a beanie baby, but hopefully he falls asleep on the way home from Cincinnati anyway.

Abby said...

Love the book idea. We have an advent tree with different ornaments for each day (it's just a little wooden tabletop tree). We've done the cardboard one in the past, too. I was always allowed to pick one present from under the tree to open on Christmas Eve, so the kids do that now, too. Also, I give them a new ornament each year, so that by the time they're grown, they'll have a nice collection for their own trees.

bfmomma said...

Oooh! I'd forgotten that I buy them each an ornament every year so they have a collection. Cool! :)

Cindy Minear said...

The book idea sounds like fun! We also buy them an ornament each year. Other traditions include: Advent candles that are lighted each night during advent at dinner (one gets added each week), Advent calendar, decorating ornaments, making cookies, doing a gingerbread house and ( Kayli informed me last year that this was a tradition) having coffee cake for breakfast on Christmas morning.

Anonymous said...

me again -- you might like this too:

we did it one year. day 2 when we had to count lightbulbs was amazing. i had no idea we had so many!

day 22 might be expensive for you. :)