I love the holidays and I love December. It’s such a wonderful time of year. We always have the tradition of going over to my Dad’s house on Christmas Eve to spend time with him, my brother and sisters (half siblings) and my nephews. We also go over and spend time with my in-laws on Christmas Eve too. And we have more nieces and nephews. Then on Christmas Day after our kids see what Santa brought them and after having some time to check everything out, we head over to my Mom’s and spend time with her, my other brother and sister and nephews over there. Sometimes, the night before Christmas Eve, we have a huge extended family dinner. So most years, we end up having Christmas dinner three nights in a row!
The kids and I bake Christmas cookies and decorate them the day before Christmas Eve. That way we have them done and ready for Santa. I also make a lot of candy the last few days before Christmas Eve too. My kids love to help. I make all kinds of candy. It was one thing that my grandma used to do when she was still able. I would go to her house and we would make candy together. She had so many great recipes. I kept up the candy making tradition when she was no longer able to do it and my kids look forward to it every year.
We have other traditions that we do all December long too!
Every year our kids get a new Christmas ornament to put on the tree. We go to the store and they pick one out themselves. I love this idea because over the years we can look back to see what our kids were into each year. They normally pick out some kind of character they like, or ornaments like Tonka or John Deere. They also have personalized ornaments too. We don’t get personalized ones every year but they have a few each over the years.
Sometimes I will find ornaments that tells a story about something they are into. I get those kind of ornaments separate from their own picks. One of them is an ornament that is band related and I got that for our daughter when she joined band that year. Other ones represent soccer when our boys started playing. And of course I still put their Baby’s First ornaments on the tree.
We started the ornament tradition the first year our daughter (first) was born. We wanted her and our future kids to have their very own box of ornaments to carry with them when they grow up and start their own family.
We love crafting and like making ornaments too. One of the reasons why we never have a themed Christmas tree is because we like our having all the kids’ ornaments including the ones they make all over our tree. Some of the ornaments we have on ours are ones they made or make at school. Others are ones we make at home. We only have one in elementary school now so he’s the only one that makes them at school now. These handmade ornaments also go in their own ornament boxes.
Our kids put on most of the ornaments because the majority of them are theirs. My husband and I put the lights on and hang the family ornaments and some of the more heavier ones that need to go up at the top. After that, our kids are given their own ornament boxes and they finish the job. We have hot chocolate and donuts while listening to Christmas music. Usually after we are done with the tree, we have a Christmas movie family evening.
Elf on The Shelf
Yes, we do Elf on The Shelf. We have done it for years. Honestly, sometimes I wish it was never started only because I am constantly thinking about where to move our elf. The boys love it though. Our daughter is going on 17 and she stopped believing in Santa and the Elf long ago. I think she was about 11 when she stopped which is the same age as our middle son. He still believes though. So we have two believers in our house and our daughter is good about pretending she believes for them. These kids grow up way too fast.
Anyway, our elf’s name is Frank. He always shows up in our tree on December 1st. So that’s where he is right now. The boys will be excited in the morning. They were already talking about him yesterday. Last year Frank arrived with a reindeer pet who was named Jimmy Jingle. If you want to know more about Frank and J.J., check out my Elf on The Shelf post. There’s quite a few elf ideas in that post as well.
We volunteer in our community this time of year. We help with food drives and toy donations. We also grab an “ornament” off those trees that you see in stores like Walmart and buy gifts for other kids and families. Our kids love doing this. Some of the toy donations we do request gifts to be wrapped and our kids love wrapping them.
There are some other things that we do throughout the month. Other craft things, taking a drive to look at Christmas lights, etc. Every other year or so we go to the zoo during their Wildlights event. The whole zoo is lit up with Christmas lights and it’s really pretty! So there are some things that my family likes to do this time of year. Do you have any family traditions? Let us know in the comments!