Christmas Traditions Part 2

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Well this is post # 2 of 2 all about Christmas Traditions. It was fun reading through all your family traditions and deciding which ones we wanted to make a part of our family Christmas time. Enjoy browsing.

Operation Christmas Child
Operation Christmas Child is really cool. You fill a shoe box with small toys or hygiene items for children overseas and donate $7 to ship it. I took my two year old with me to the dollar store section at Target and Dollar Tree and we had fun picking out items to put in the box for another little girl or boy

We've started making a point to make sure each kid buys for an needy child (through our church
or an angel tree). I think it's so important now that they can understand not everyone is as blessed
as they are and it's important to bless others.

Paper Chains
We also make a paper love/prayer chains out of contraction paper. We write the names of people
we know that mean a lot to us or people we want to pray for. Then we take it and decorate our
house with it! Also, we try to limit the kids to only a few gifts. Baby Jesus got three... We try to do 
three as well!

Swedish Traditions
Since I was raised with Swedish traditions, we open all of the gifts, except the ones from Santa, on
Christmas Eve. Before we open gifts, however, we read the Christmas story from the Bible (Luke 2:1-20).
After opening gifts, we go for a ride to see Christmas lights (One of the adults always forgets something
in the house after everyone is in the car so has to run back inside. When we return from the ride sometimes
Santa has already left our gifts.) Such great memories!!!!

Cookies for Friends
 We make cookie plates for all our friends, family, and neighbors. The trick is to start early and make

several different types of cookies, and freeze them until you're ready to assemble the cookie platters for

When we were kids we had many people in our church that were shut ins- unable to go out or alone
with no family. We would spend the week before Christmas baking dozens and dozens of cookies.
Christmas Eve we would deliver plates and plates of homemade treats to folks who were alone. Our little family of
 four would spend several hours going home to home bring good cheer to people who brought us cheer! 

Christmas Stories
I buy a new Christmas Story every year, I gift wrap the book so it's a surprise and a box of Turtles candy,
and new pj's for everyone. We open our jammies, get in them, then one child opens the candy and another
the Christmas story. Over the years we have collected over eighteen books. Even though my children are all
graduated from school, they still ask if we're getting a new story.

I read them a Christmas book every night from Dec 1 thru Dec 24, and on Dec 24 I read the real "Christmas Story"
of Jesus' birth--that is the only one we still read is on Christmas Eve.

We read scripture in Luke about the birth of Jesus before opening our presents. We have each of the kids read
some, too. We have done this for nineteen years.

Christmas Lights
Every year, the week before Christmas we get in the car and go look at Christmas lights for the evening.

We get hot chocolate and drive around looking at Christmas lights ;)

Advent Calendar
I have an advent calendar and my kids still take turns putting the ornament on the wall tree--they are still telling
each other "it is my turn today"--even as old as they are.

New Ornaments Every Year
I started doing a Christmas ornament a year for each child or grandchild when the first grandchild was little.
I really wish I had started it when the children were little. But, even now - the kids and grandkids enjoy looking
at all the ornaments now each year and the memories they bring. Football, cheerleading, baby pictures,
graduation, motorcycle, hunting, etc. Makes special memories to keep for all their and your life.

We get our real tree, set it up and then go to Cracker Barrel and pick up two new ornaments . . . we have the
coolest tree and not one identical ornament.

Every year since my husband and I got married in 1990, I have gotten us an "Our Christmas Together"
Ornament from Hallmark. The two of us will have twenty-two ornaments this year. Also every year we get the kids
their own ornaments from Hallmark. My parents do the same. So, for example, our oldest son will have his
twentieth Christmas this year, so he should have a total of forty Hallmark ornaments. One day when he
gets married, he will take his ornaments with him. I hope the kids will carry on the tradition. My most prized
ornaments are the six hallmark ornaments from my childhood.

My husband and I started buying ornaments everywhere we went. If we went to a winery or ball game,
for example, we purchased an ornament. When we put up the tree, we can remember all the fun adventures!

Christmas Movies
Our family watches a Christmas movie or cartoon every night from Thanksgiving night thru December 24---Starting
with Christmas Vacation and ending on Christmas Eve with Polar Express
(Another family) We have to watch Miracle on 34th Street on Thanksgiving night and a Charlie Brown Christmas on

Grandpa's Walnut Ornaments
Every year my Grandpa would hollow out walnut shells and put different amounts of money in each and glue them
back together with a ribbon attached. He would hang one in the tree for each grandchild. It was fun cracking them
open to see who had the biggest amount. It's bitter sweet because the one with the highest dollar amount also had
clean up duty after Christmas dinner! Loved it. (He knew we would have done it for free.)

A Christmas Pickle
We have a pickle tradition (which I think is a German tradition). Many years ago we bought a pickle
ornament from Dillards, which comes with a tradition story. Basically we hide the pickle on the tree
among all the other ornaments. The first child that finds it wins a prize. We usually buy a family
movie that either gender would like, for the prize. We don't put the pickle on right away, we might
wait a day or a week, you never know. I love to watch the kids try to find it. Because they are quite a
bit older now, we have to be sneaky, but they still love it.

Gingerbread Houses
Now that I'm a Nana...we make gingerbread houses on Christmas Eve. Lots of memories and little
fingers licking the icing!

Elf on the Shelf

Stocking Fun 
We each got five Lottery tickets in the stocking and an orange in the toe of the stocking.

“Something to eat,
Something to read,
Something to play with,
and Something they need.”

Santa 132 of a year of writing.....

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