Friday, December 4, 2009

holiday tradition

I really dislike The Fresh Beat Band. They make me want to hit something a little bit. There, I just had to get that off my chest.

Guess what we're doing tonight after Jonah goes to bed? (Hopefully.) Putting up the tree! Hooray! I really love Christmas, and I'm especially excited this year since it's our first Christmas with Baby J. Christmas has a whole new excitement once you get to experience from a kid's perspective again. I mean, I know Jonah's probably too young to really get into it, but I know he'll like the tree and all the tissue paper. I made a Christmas list for him for family with lots of books and toys, but really I should have just written, "bows, tissue paper." Those will be the highlight of his Christmas, I know.

I would love to put up the tree when Jonah's awake, but it's just not that practical. He'll enjoy the final product more anyway. I would just wait and put it up tomorrow, but Matt's got a big sports-watching day planned (ECU in their conference championship game, the SEC championship, and Wake vs. Gonzaga in basketball) and will be, how should I put this... less than eager to be in the holiday spirit. Tomorrow I may try to decorate the outside, but I'm thinking the weather is supposed to be pretty crappy so that may have to wait.

Why am I telling you all of this? I have no idea. I have nothing else to talk about. I'm in a major blogging slump lately. Honestly, most days are the same for us and besides an occasional doctor's appointment or rare errand run, we just don't do a whole lot.

Jonah's lip is still bad. I thought it was looking better today, but then it all went to pot. Jonah and I were practicing our sitting up and throwing Deac's toy to him and watching him bring it back. Jonah was so happy and just laughing and laughing. One time when Deac brought it back (it was one of those Bobo toys like on the Petsmart commercials), we were playing tug of war, and Deac suddenly let go. Bobo smacked Jonah in the lip. Where else? Typically, this wouldn't have done anything other than startle him, but his lip is just really fragile. I couldn't believe it. He started screaming in pain, his lip was gushing blood (and yes, I really mean gushing... all down his outfit, on the floor, on my sock), I was crying. It was a mess. Then he pretty much fussed and cried for the rest of the day until about an hour after Matt got home. Needless to say, I haven't been in the best of moods. My mood is usually a direct reflection of Jonah's. Most of the time that's a good thing. Not so much today.

On to happier things: I'm wondering if you have any good holiday traditions you could share. I LOVE the idea of traditions and giving Jonah specific things to look forward to every year. The ornament exchange with Matt's side of the family is really the only one I can think of, but I really want some more. I'd like to get him a Hallmark or other special ornament every year, but other than that, I've got nothing.

I'm not brave enough to host a blog carnival (I don't handle rejection well), but I would really love it if you could leave your holiday traditions in the comments for me and others to read. And it doesn't just have to be Christmas - New Year's, Easter, Valentine's, Columbus Day... I'll take what ya got! Thanks :)

I'll try to take some pics this weekend. It's Jonah's bedtime.

114 comments:

Shanna said...

I have had a tradition of making homemade sugar cookies since I was a very little girl. My entire family would get into it, even my dad! We would make hundreds (my dad was military police so we took them to on duty soldiers).
Anyway, now I am passing the tradition on to my three boys and they love it, from mixing to rolling to cutting the shapes to icing them and eating them -- it is loads of fun!

I also string popcorn and cranberries for the tree but it takes loads of time and I swear every year I am not doing it the next!

Deen Family said...

We only open two gifts on Christmas eve. One is a family game to play that night and one is a pair of matching pjs for the kids (so they look adorable opening their presents in the morning.) So really the pjs is a gift for me so that my pictures turn out cute!!!

I don't comment (like EVER), but I want to let you know what a great mom you are and you inspire me to be a better mother. Jonah is a beauitful baby and he is SOOOOO lucky to have you as his mommy.

Mary Ann said...

We try to collect ornaments every year from a different city. We have also collected theme ornaments such as Disney figures, such as Goofy, Donald, etc. It makes for a cute kids tree after several years.

Angel said...

When the boys were very young, we would light the advent candles and tell bible stories. I didn't realize how much it meant to them until one year when I forgot. The last few years I have been overwhelmed by the holidays, so we have made a new tradition. I don't do anything for Christmas, but one day before we travel to our families, we have our own Christmas. It can be whatever MOM wants it to be, since the guys always vote to go to WV for Xmas. I usually choose making a traditional dinner, going out to see Xmas lights, and then unwrapping the presents to each other. This has made me a happier partaker of Christmas, and the families at home are happier that I am happier. I guess I was a bit of a Scrooge...blush.

Angela said...

LOL--I just Googled Fresh Beat Band, and I still have no clue who they are. I have two young boys, but we watch PBS and Disney. ;)

My oldest son is 3 1/2, and it was difficult even this year to put up the tree when he was awake. It is just sooooo much easier and more practical to wait until they're asleep. Then once they're like two or three, save a couple of ornaments for them to hang.

We started the tradition last year of the 12 Days of Christmas with Andrew. Each morning, the 12 days before Christmas, Santa's elves (aka Mom and Dad) leave a small (we aim for $1 each) present in a stocking that hangs on Andrew's door. He is so excited each morning to wake up and see what he has, whether it's a Slinky or a new pair of gloves or a Cars ornament (gotta love the dollar bins at Target). We didn't do it until he was 2 1/2 b/c he was just too young to understand at 1 1/2. We'll probably wait until Benjamin is even older to do it w/him since he is delayed. I hate to do it just to do it, you know?

We also started the tradition last year that every Saturday morning from Halloween until Christmas, we all drink hot chocolate together. (Andrew is a huge Polar Express fan, so we had to find some way to incorporate hot chocolate.) :)

If I could suggest a toy for Jonah, I would suggest the LeapFrog Learning Baby Tad. (Which is on sale at TRU tonight and tomorrow morning 50% off for only $9.99!) It is hands down Benjamin's favorite toy. Before he was mobile and had his heart surgery, he had to stay in the bed for a week and Tad entertained him greatly. He still today, at 19 months, lights UP whenever we press Tad's hand or foot and he sings. :)

Kathy Lang said...

We have a family tradition of opening one present on Christmas Eve, and reading "Twas the Night Before Christmas" right before bedtime. On Christmas morning we sing 'Happy Birthday" to Jesus laying in his manger. We also open our stockings from Santa first, and then the other presents. Christmas is a wonderful season of celebration!

Sandra said...

We have our stockings on new years. It was my husband’s idea. He seemed to think the kids needed a little after having so much at once. His family did not celebrate Christmas and he so enjoys it and really did when the kids were young and at home. Anyway we had stockings for each child one in the shape of a deer the other in the shape of a penguin. They, the stocking had names, would bring the kids a small surprise to start the New Year.

In Debt Dee said...

We have a couple of traditions every year - everyone gets to open one present on Xmas eve (new jammies for all, mom & dad included) and the kids each get their own ornament (usually something that signifies an event from that year & they get to take them when they move out!). This year, I'm adding two new traditions - Red Velvet Cake for Xmas desert, and wrapped books for the youngest (great idea from http://theidearoom.blogspot.com/2009/11/christmas-books.html).

Enjoy your holiday!!

Iluvdancn4jesus said...

We Bake a birthday cake for Jesus read the Christmas story in the bible, and sing happy birthday to him

In Debt Dee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janet said...

We have the normal -- everyone gets a new ornament each Christmas.

I've started something with the younger children -- the 12 days of Christmas. I buy small (chapstick, dollar items) and wrap them. They are labeled 1-12 and I put the date so there is no confusion. The least expensive gift would be #1 to be opened on Dec 14 and so on until #12, which is opened Christmas Day. Our youngsters love this!

When my children were little, we would go drive around looking at lights on Christmas Eve. That was always fun!

Whatever you decide to do, I'm sure it will be special for Jonah!

Lucky said...

First, please let me say I nearly fell out my chair laughing about the dreaded Fresh Beat Band. And of course, my daughter loves them. Gah.

Second. I have to watch White Christmas and Holiday Inn. I can't get in the Christmas mood without them. Also, our township fire department sends a Santa out on a firetruck and will deliver a present to your house. It's awesome to hear the siren come down your street! I hope they continue that for a long time...

Rachelle said...

So sad to hear about Jonah's lip. I hope it will heal soon. I don't know if you can do this with EB: Jonah's skin might be too delicate, but when my little ones have busted their lips I give them an ice cube to suck on, the kind from ice makers. I wrap one end in a paper towel and hold it to their lip. I think it helps the bleeding stop quickly. I realize that his blister is probably much more painful than a burst lip, just wondered if ice would help if it happened again.

He will love the tissue paper this year, buy him an entire package! Our special Christmas ornaments are the small picture frame ones. Each year I buy one for each child and put their Christmas pictures in it. This year is the first year they've been old enough to really enjoy the ornaments and their own pictures on the tree were, hands down, their favorite! As the collection grows I think it will be neat to have a small tree just for photo ornaments.

God bless you, Patrice. Enjoy the season with Jonah and Matt!

Meredith said...

I'm looking for new traditions to do with our baby too! Good idea Patricia :)

The only tradition we have thus far are going and cutting down our Christmas tree. We also read the Christmas story from Mark Christmas morning before we do anything (these are traditions my husband and I started when we got married and will carry these on now that we have a baby)

We're also trying to get back to the 'real' meaning of Christmas so Gabriel will only get 3 gifts: something he needs, something he wants and something from the heart/to give back.

Jorrylin said...

A friend told me that before her oldest child was born, someone made her a beautiful tree skirt and gave it to her with a bottle of paint. Each year her children add a hand print to the skirt with the paint. I wish she had told me this before my children were born. I would have loved to do this!

The Glenn Gang said...

We have several we started...

1. Our Jonah gets 3 gifts from Santa to represent the 3 gifts baby Jesus got. This allows the focus on Christmas morning to still be Jesus.

2. Each year Dan buys me an ornament that I open on Christmas eve then let Jonah help me decide where it goes on the tree.

3. I buy Dan a Children's Christmas Book that he opens on Christmas eve then reads to Jonah before bed. I make sure to buy a book that focus on the birth of Jesus.

Those two gifts are only exchanged between parents but the kids (or, kid in our case) can be involved because it is a "family" gift.

Michelle said...

I remember driving around town looking at all the lights every year. And my mom always makes a ton of cookies. Her nut rolls are REQUIRED holiday food. For my daughter, we've read the night before Christmas to her each year. I think that's a neat tradition to keep up.

Mindy said...

We let the kids open 2 gifts on Christmas eve new Pjs (so they look spiffy in the photos on christmas morning and a book). Getting Jonah a Christmas book each year would build a little fun library for you to bring out each year.

We have been doing an advent calendar but Jonah's probably too small for that now about 2 or 3 years old he'll like that. I try not to do gifts but activities to do everyday like decorate the tree, go look at lights, make a craft, write letters to SAnta, etc. They love it.

Have you heard of Elf on the Shelf. Google it. It's a book and little elf you move around every day for the kids. They love it. My just two year is really into right now as well as the five year olds. Jonah would probably like it next year.

I take a christmas card photo every year myself and make cards. It's hard but fun. Probably much easier with one kid.

We're getting a kid friendly nativity. We couldn't afford the little people one but I found a cheaper version at a christian bible store on-line. Reading a book that goes along with it and bringing it out every year will be fun.

Do you know about Ali Edwards' Dailly December album? It's a way of documenting days leading up to christmas and can be simple yet tell a story. Check out her blog for more info.

The Charles Crew said...

we do the whole elf on the self thing, and he always shows up the day after thanksgiving. we also open one present on christmas eve, and the kids get new matching pj's after bath time christmas eve. then we also get coffee/hot cocoa and go around listening to christmas music and looking at christmas lights.
praying for sweet jonah's lip. hope he is still doing a great job eating. i know how frustrating it can be when they refuse that bottle...i swear i sometimes don't know how my daughter survived to a year, she too HATED bottles. but once she started on sippy cups and whole milk everything changed. just wanted to let you know that i am still praying for you and jonah!

tigers2 said...

Hi Patrice,
We live in the Blue Mountains, about an hour or so away from Sydney, Australia and have 3 boys 4 and under. Every year we head into Sydney one evening and check out the stores' window displays. We have a picnic under the Harbour Bridge and then stroll around checking out the Christmas lights. It is so much fun!
Other than that, we decorate the house and tree together, and each boys chooses on ornament a year that it theirs. We also have mangoes for breakfast - 'cause it is so hot here for Christmas and there is LOTS of food during the day. Then we head off to Church. We also do 'Operation Christmas Child' where will fill a shoe boy with toys and trinkets for children for whom Christmas gifts don't happen and the boys 'help' me choose things for that.

And that's it!
Praying for Jonah's lip, and praising God that you and such a great Mum!

Carol said...

Hi. I'm not Christian anymore but we still put up a tree and all that. I celebrate Christmas as a time to be thankful with my family so anyway...I let the kids open a present on Christmas Eve and then we get up and usually bake some kind of rolls to eat for breakfast. Then we open presents. Youngest goes first and so on.

You are doing a great job with Jonah. I love to read your blog. But please remember that his mood is a reflection of yours too. I would be so upset and feeling guilty too about his lip splitting open but maybe he feeds off of your tears too. I know it must have hurt...poor little sugar. Just a thought...I am in awe by how strong you, Matt, and Jonah are to just keep going in the face of such obstacles. Good for you!

Jorrylin said...

I was so excited to tell you about the tree skirt tradition that I forgot to tell you OUR tradition! Every year we have taken our kids to see Santa and get their picture taken. We have 3 kids, age 17, 15 and 9. They all 3 STILL pose for the picture (though it takes a little coaxing for the teens!). I display all of the pictures from each year in 2 large frames (bought at Target).

Me, the boys and a Farm... said...

What an awesome idea to ask what everyones traditions are...we have a few, I guess...and I am trying to add more. We try to get an ornament for each person each year, we always make party mix, try to do a little baking, always watch the traditonal Christmas shows/movies (rudolph the red nose reindeer - we bought the holiday pack) the kids love them as much as my husband and I did as kids...when I was little my parents used to always take me to a Moravian love feast - plan on doing that when the boys are older and can participate. Those are just a few of the things we do. My husband is planning on taking our oldest out to one of the fields here on the farm to cut down a cedar tree for our christmas tree this year,(his families tradtion) We are doing that this weekend! We also try to do a shoe box or a Salvation Army stocking...so my kids understand not everyone has the same kind of life. I am looking forward to reading others traditions and seeing photos of Jonah experiencing Christmas. Praying for Jonah's lip.

Erin said...

As long as I can remember we would celebrate Christmas with my maternal Grandmother on Christmas Eve and it was always soooo awesome..even though my Grandmother died when I was nine...I vividly remember the Christmas Eve's at her house with my aunt, uncle, and my cousins! We have carried on with the tradition even though she has been gone for years...just what she would have wanted! i think sometimes traditions just happen...don't stress. it will be all gravy baby! prayers for jonut's little lip..much love and blessings from ga~erin

Molly said...

We get an ornament for our stocking every year. It's partially because ornaments are awesome, and also so that we have a collection going for when we're old and celebrate christmas with our own families. stocking gifts are wrapped with tissue paper, and under the tree presents with paper.

my parents leave one 'big' unwrapped gift at the bottom of the stairs. It's always exciting to see what it is, even now that we're older. It's one of our favorite traditions!

We also do cookies! The littler ones help decorate, or just eat cookies, but the older kids help choose the cookies and bake. We did snowball surprise cookies, sugar cookies with sprinkles, etc.

We have a special "cookies for santa" plate, and we leave carrots out for the reindeer.

Christmas is still fun, even if we're older. I can't wait to hear how you and the Jonut celebrate it!

Jane said...

So sorry to hear about Jonah's lip Patrice, I pray for healing very soon. I usually give personalized ornaments every year. I order them from personalcreations.com I give a family one to each of my girls and a special one to the grands. You can have the name and date put on them, a great keepsake. A good one for Jonah is Baby's First Christmas. Just depends on what the grands are into each year, have given a lot of different ones. Good luck on your tradition. I continue to pray for Jonah, you and Matt.

Jessica said...

We have always had eggs, sausage, and Christmas Rolls (they had a cream cheese glaze with red and green sprinkles) for breakfast on Christmas morning. My mom grouped the rolls into a tree shape when we were little, but as we have grown up the tree has grown to fill most of the pan.

We are all adults now and I still look forward to the Christmas Rolls!

Casie said...

This is only my son's 3rd Christmas, but every year I pick out a special ornament JUST for him. I think of it as his own personal collection that he can have one day. The first Christmas, I made him a plaster ornament (thanks to the art teacher at our school who had extra materials and offered) and this year I bought him a train ornament b/c he is really into trains this year. Every year, I will try to pick one that sort of "reflects" the year in some way OR just pick something special for him from his Mommy and Daddy. It's not a major tradition, like an outing, but I already enjoy the ornaments I've picked and could hardly wait this year to pick out his special ornament just for 2009.

Tricia said...

I posted today about our tradition of wrapping all Christmas themed books, movies, and music before putting the decoarations away in Jan and then opening them one a day throughtout the holiday season. My kids have always liked that one. I am planning on doing more posts about our traditions and don't want to ruin it, so I may stop back by this post and give more ideas as I post them. Whatever you do, make it your own and it will be special. God bless. :)

Kelli said...

Praying for healing of Jonah's little lip!! On Christmas Eve, our family visits a few shut-ins at our church and then we celebrate the rest of the evening with family!!!

Mandy said...

I know you already said it, but definitely a special ornament for every year! We do those, and I am now twenty and just LOVE them from growing up! I love the Advent Calendars--I don't honestly do anything but eat the chocolate every day, but it's one of those little things in life to look forward to...especially those little milk chocolate ones. Perfect for a little boy as he gets older. Have fun putting up your decorations. :) Christmas is amazing!

Jessica said...

I despise the Fresh Beat Band too! (and their little mini-me's!) :)

my mom always put an orange in the "toe" of our stockings... something I've continued even for my daughter's first Christmas (she was just a little bit older than Jonah that year). Even though she didn't really eat it, it was "tradition"!

Lindsay said...

I read the story of Jesus' birth to my kids every Christmas Eve and then they get to open one present which is always a new pair of Christmas P.J.'s. They love it!!!

The Redfields said...

What about the tradition of having a slice of pumpkin pie (warm from the oven, of course!) and Cool Whip for breakfast on Thanksgiving and Christmas mornings???? Yummy! (And at least as good for you as doughnuts.....)

Joe Murray said...

We have several, but my favorite is that every year on Christmas Eve my parents get all the kids new PJ's to sleep in so that we have something new for Christmas morning. The whole family goes to the Christmas Eve service at church, then goes out to eat at a nice restaurant, then drives around town and looks at Christmas lights, then we come home and open our pajamas. I have passed this on to Ella and even though she doesn't really get the whole concept, last year she was really excited about her Dora Christmas pajamas. I'm already looking forward to this year!

Katie (signed in as my husband)

The Stairs Family said...

We have two little boys (1 and 3) and a couple of our Christmas traditions are:

*On Christmas Eve, we bake baby Jesus a birthday cake, read the Christmas story and have a little birthday party for Jesus. I make sure my kids know the reason we celebrate Christmas is not Santa & Snowmen and I'm amazed at how much they understand at such a young age

* We keep a basket of Christmas books next to the Christmas tree and we all lay under the tree each night and read a story (we take turns choosing). I buy a few new books each year to add to the collection

*I take the kids to Target and let them pick out a toy they want to give to another little kid who doesn't have any toys...trying to teach them gratitude!

Kat and Crew said...

...we've had a great day....lalala to spend some time together....it goes a little something like this....
Now I can't get if off my mind!
My kids love Fresh Beat band and that's the only reason I love them too! :) I really just wish they would change their clothes! As much jumping around as they do surely they are stinky!!
Praying for a healed lip!

Sara said...

My parents did this when I was little and now I do this for my kids. We call it the 25 days of Christmas and starting December 1st, and ending the 25th everyday the kid gets a little toy to unwrap. I had a huge knit stocking my mom put it in when I was young, but I just bought my kids two extra large stockings. Jonah is very young, so this year may not be necessary to start but my kids love it. It keeps the whole month exciting, and it really doesn't cost that much since I buy things we already would be buying (new tooth brush, tooth paste, bubble bath, lip balm, pencils, paper, etc) but the unwrapping is exciting and my boys love those kind of things.

otherwise known as mom said...

This doesn't count as a tradition, but I used to teach. When I quit to raise kids, I had lots of neat holiday decorations and nothing to do with them. For each holiday month such as valentines, easter, christmas, thanksgiving, halloween, I started putting a few window clings on the kids' bedroom windows that they could enjoy. I also put a couple on the bathroom mirrors in their bathrooms. They've always enjoyed them.

Keep your chin up. I think you have more strength and courage in you little toe than I have entirely. You are doing a great job with Jonah. Rest in God. He will restore and refresh.

Debi said...

We always read The Gift of the Magi on Christmas Eve. On Christmas day we thank the Lord for His birth and wish Him a happy birthday with a cake and singing. Then everyone can open their stockings. After breakfast we all open other gifts.

Josh, Morgan, and Our Girls said...

Growing up, we always opened one gift on Christmas eve...and it was always a fun pair of Christmas pj's. My husband and I have now carried on this tradition with our girls and they love it! I love taking their pictures in the matching pj's on Christmas morning!

Laura A said...

Hi Patrice-

That sweet Jonah's boo-boo lip - poor guy! I'm so sorry about that!

I'm loving all the traditions people are posting (and am strongly thinking about adopting the matching PJs gift!) We do open one gift on Christmas Eve, and leave the rest for the next day.

During each Sunday of Advent, before bedtime we turn out the lights and gather around our lighted Christmas tree. We do a short devotional and then each child gets to pick a carol to sing. This should be the first year that all five are able to talk well enough to choose their own carol! I love hearing their little voices singing - melts my heart!

We also have the Elf on the Shelf - it was a gift a couple of years ago and my kids LOVE it. My youngest is 2 and he's not quite into it yet, but my 3 year old is all about "Elfie" this year!

I know Jonah will love anything you do with him - I bet his eyes will "light up" when he sees the tree!! Can't wait to hear about the traditions you and Matt decide on!

Please give sweet Jonah a hug from us in TX!!

Love,
Laura

Kendra said...

The Elf on the Shelf is a great book that you could start a tradition with. You read the book every night and the elf goes back to Santa every night and tells Santa if Jonah has been good or not. Then every night you move the elf and the kids have to find the elf. He is a little young to be finding the elf himself but you could help.
We also get our kids a personalized ornament every year with their name and the year on it. And of course we make cookies for Santa (except last year my then 2 yr old son said that Santa would prefer pizza, so we made cookies and homemade pizza for Santa)
I really hope that Jonah's lip gets better soon. You are such a wonderful mother and an inspiration to me. When I feel like I am having a bad day or my kids are being terrible I always think of you and what a fabulous mother you are. Good luck with your new Christmas traditions. Hope this helps!

Kendra said...

Oh, I totally forgot to mention that we also get the kids new pj's to wear on Christmas morning. Last year we got personalized pj's with their names embroidered on their tush. LOL. It is so cute and makes some great pictures.

Rachaellh said...

We have a great spin on the traditional Christmas PJ's. We always go out and look at Christmas lights on Christmas Eve. When we get home Santa's elves have left a gift bag with new Christmas pajamas and slippers. Our son is now 9 and he runs to the front door each year to see what the elves have left.

Jennifer said...

HI there! Missed you! We have some traditions I just love. One, they get to open "one present" on Christmas Eve and it is always pj's. They love this. Sometimes I make them, sometimes I buy. But then they sleep in them and they look so cute in the pics the next morning. The other thing we do is we just do "three presents". Jesus got three presents and something to sleep in after all...This can be a challenge. As parents you work hard to find "just three things' that will light up their day. And now that they are older it is great because they are challenged by what they want to put on their list. Now, don't go thinking they have a "slim" Christmas. Some things end up in stockings so they are really cool and relatives LOVE to get a peek at the lists. Makes everyone more appreciative of what they have/want/get. We do a lot of traditional foods and routines (we eat this when we set up the tree, we bake this for teachers, we eat this for Christmas dinner, etc) but that is not so exciting! Jennifer in Southeast, NC
PS Praying for the healing of his lip (and moods!)

Jessica said...

I have so many favorite traditions. Here are a few that we started with our little ones: they each get a new Christmas book and Christmas PJs to open Christmas Eve, Sugar cookie making with Daddy - I make the dough and decorate the finished product with them, but Dad rolls it out & actually makes the shapes {seriously don't like that whole cookie roller thing, annoying!}, going for rides at night to look at the Christmas lights, Jesse Tree {advent tree}, setting milk & cookies out for Santa {don't forget the carrots for the Reindeer}, Making Gingerbread Houses, and that's all I got.

Praying for Jonah's lip. Some Mommy weeks just stink. I've been in that neverending, groundhog day feeling mess of a week too. Not fun.

Our beautiful mess... said...

We got a childrens illustrated book of the true "Christmas story" and read it every Christmas eve. I really also like the idea of having a birthday cake and singing "happy birthday jesus" each year. I think that really helps kids understand. We also each open a christmas gift on christmas eve. We got matching christmas pajamas for the kids (and you can do the whole family www.childrensplace.com, but it was just too expensive) We don't live near family (8 hour drive) so for thanksgiving we stay home and cook leg of lamb (which would be a great idea for Easter too!). For christmas we try to stay at each place a whole day so we're not running so much with the kids. Oh, and it was always a "dads rule" of no christmas music or decorations until the day after thanksgiving!

Kirsten: said...

I'm with Shanna - we decorate homemade sugar cookies every year. I'm almost 30 and still enjoy this tradition. After decorating the cookies with friends and family, we save a few for Santa. I couldn't imagine a Christmas without our cookie decorating :)

Jennifer said...

My husband and I get an ornament each year. Not just any ornament, though - it has to be something representative of the year. So we've got a wedding one for the year we got married, one we bought in Germany the year we went to Germany, and one representative of moving to a different state.

Since there aren't any small children in my family right now, my grandparents give everyone cash. We are supposed to get ourselves something, wrap it, and put it under their tree. We are also to spend a portion of the cash helping someone else - by donating to a charity, a random act of kindness, etc - then at Christmas, we all share what we did to help others. I really enjoy deciding each year what I will do with the "helping others" portion of the money.

Every year for as long as I can remember, my dad and I have made German brown sugar spritz cookies together for Christmas. Even though we live 300 miles away from each other now, he waits for me to arrive for the holidays, and we still make the cookies together. I really treasure this tradition.

Kim and Asa said...

So many great ideas! If I could go back in time, I'd do the hand print tree skirt in a heartbeat!!! I wonder if the kids would participate at 12, 8, 6, and 2?!

~We give each kid a special ornament. My mom recently gave me my ornament from when I was a kid. I put them all on a lighted wreath and that is really special to me now!

~We also do the three gift idea. It cut down on costs (since there are 4 kids here!) but more importantly, it is one more way to get the focus back on Christ's birth!!

~And we do coordinating PJs for a Christmas eve gift! Great for Christmas morning pics!! :)

One tradition that I have dropped since kiddo #4 an his host of medical issues came along is making my own wrapping paper. I used to get a partial roll of blank newsprint from the local paper for free. Then I'd use cookie cutters dipped in paint to stamp the paper. I was fun and looked great but it was time consuming too. By the time we'd roll the paper out across the house, everyone stamping and then it drying to be rolled up....well it took too long! I miss it though!

Mostly just enjoy this season!! Don't try to do so much that you get frustrated and disappointed. Lesson learned the hard way here! :)


Kim
www.caringbridge.org/visit/asawilson

Katie said...

I'll come back and tell you about my traditions later. But..

THERE'S A LIST?! I CALL AND LEAVE A MESSAGE ABOUT GETTING HIM HIS CHRISTMAS PRESENT AND YOU CAN'T LET ME KNOW THERE'S A LIST?! OH THE TIME I COULD HAVE SAVED! THE CALORIES WASTED WALKING IN CIRCLES IN TOYS 'R US... What could you possibly have been doing that was more important than MY call?! *huffs* *hairflip* *stomps off*


I miss you. Are you moving closer to me yet?

Katherine @ Grass Stains said...

Well, you already know about our Christmas Eve PJ tradition (I STILL haven't found any for the big boys yet), and my other one is to buy each of them a Star Wars ornament each year for their little tree.

When I was little, my parents let us open ONE gift on Christmas Eve. It had to be small, and they had Veto Privileges. In other words, if I tried to open a Commodore 64 on Christmas Eve, they used a Big Fat Veto and chose something else for me. Usually it ended up being a silver dollar from my great aunt or something. As you can imagine, as a 9-year-old I was like, "SCORE!" Not.

Lauren said...

I always make an ornament every year. It is always the most fun to put up ornaments you made and see how old they are. When I was really little we made some out of cardboard (we drew pictures on cut out pieces because I guess there was no money for ornaments) and they are some of my favorites now. It's more about the memories than how pretty it is.

Toni :O) said...

Awww sweetie, I'm so sorry to hear about Jonut's lip getting all messed up again....big hugs and prayers on that front. I love your blog, I like being able to check in on the little guy and make sure all is okay and try to lift you up by letting you know I think and pray for you all daily. Some traditions to share...as for Christmas, we bake cookies a couple of days before Christmas Eve to leave for Santa. I've taken to make very yummy Oreo truffles(thanks Kraftfoods...they rock!) to pass out to my bosses and family as gifts. This year I'm attempting Cake Balls that Kelly's Korner and everyone else keeps raving about. I always let the kids get a Hallmark Ornament each year..yeah, so considering my oldest will be 11, I'm practically needing another tree I tell you! We also made our first Advent wreath this year and Advent chain so that's our new tradition going forward. Another tradition you might find unreal is that my hubby and I exchange an anniversary card on the 15th of EACH MONTH cause we got married on May 15th...yep, we sure do and I'm proud to say we've been married 16 years and almost seven months...so I guess you could say we keep Hallmark in business and I have every single solitary card/letter/poem whatever that my hubby has given me on those days and all the ones before we were married...sweet eh? They are all kept in my Hope Chest in big ole envelopes. Just a little something we share with each other each month. We used to go out on a date night on the 15th every month and my hubby also brought flowers but then we were watching pennies after kids came so we don't do as much of that like we used to. Okay, this is long enough...Oh, I just read that someone recommended Baby Tad...He is SO cute!!! We just got that for a little guy who is Autistic for our adopt-a-family at work...I highly recommend for Jonut!

xoxmaggieleexox said...

There are lots of comments already but here are some of our's my mom used to do with me and we now do with my nieces:

1) advent calendars--eating 1 chocolate each day in december til christmas

2) decorating the tree together--since age 2 the girls have put all the ornaments on!

3) nice family sit down (steak or the like) dinner on christmas eve

4) christmas crafts--making the paper chain or decorating ornaments

5) new ornament every year for each girl, to hang on the tree then to take when they have a house of their own

6) i WANT to start doing the jesus thing-making a card and singing, maybe even a cake--i always loved that idea!

:) I just looooove this time of year! :)

*megan from wi*

Lyndsay said...

Our Christmas traditions vary year to year some years we do them and then some time we just don't get to them. This year we are going to Zoolights at our zoo for the first time and I have a feeling that that will become a yearly tradition. The boys love lights! My husband and I try to get away for a date night in the middle of Dec to go downtown to Seattle. We like to eat at The Cheesecake Factory, see a movie, go look at the gingerbread house displays they have in a hotel downtown, do a little shopping, grab some hot cocoa and come home. It's great! This year the grandparents can't watch the kiddos though so we are just going to take them with us and make it a more kid friendly night by going on the carousel and probably not making the movie!

Jessica said...

The only tradition we have....and I'm really proud of thinking of it :)....is we all go out as a family every Christamas after the tree is up and each pick out one ornament to hang on it. I put our initials on them and the year it was chosen. Its been so fun to look back through the years to see what we chose in the past. I really enjoy doing it and hope it will continue long into the future when my kids have their own families! Praying Jonah's lip gets better soon!

lifelaughsandlove said...

Ugh, I am peeved off on your behalf about Jonah's lip! It is so not fair that you can't play with him the way you should be able to without having something fairly innocent turn into such a horrible experience for both Jonah and you. I am praying so hard for God to show up in a big way and to just heal that lip overnight so there is no more drama with it!

We too are trying to establish some holiday traditions. One that we are starting up this year is the Elf on the Shelf (I'm sure you've probably heard of it). We actually just put our elf out tonight, so I'm looking forward to seeing the kids reactions to it tomorrow!

~Amy

Penny said...

Well, we have several. Nothing really zingy but there are things we always do. Every year we get professional pix of the kids in November. We can mark the years in photos. We make a big production of the manger scene. That usually goes up before the tree.... our reason for the season lesson. Then we always make a trip for the little kids to see Santa. We spend one day making cookies, and another at my parents making yummy hardtac candy with our hands. Lots of butter, and burning fingers with fabulous smells. Then we bag and give away all the candy..... well most of it.
After the tree is up daily a green pickle is hidden in the tree. The person who finds it gets a favor for the day. Something small like you get a pass on a chore.
Of course we hang stockings and those may be checked out Christmas morning while cinnamon rolls bake in the oven. We spend Christmas Eve with both families, one early and one late. Christmas day is all home. Everyone is welcome but we don't leave the house. Yummy foods keep us in a coma like state all day.
Then for New Years Eve all the kids... and some years all their friends spend the evening at my parents. They bravely host all kids from 3 to adult but your only invited if you were a kid turned adult. The party is 29 years in the running this year and hosts anywhere from the 2 it was started for to over 20 sometimes. All fun no rules, well no alcohal, smoking, teen hanky panky you get the idea. As far as details nobody talks and I am over the age limit!! lol They must have fun because most of the kids are repeat year after year and for the last few years a daughter of one of the first kids has been joining the fun.
I LOVE the holidays...........

Melissa said...

Our favorite tradition involves food. (Shock, shock)

On Christmas Eve, I trek out to the most horrid place to be on earth on Christmas Eve -- the mall -- and go buy a box of Cinnabon cinnamon rolls. We DO NOT eat them until Christmas morning, but oh, how good they are warmed up in the micro with a cup of coffee! It also saves the trouble of having to prepare anything for breakfast on Christmas morning, when you're busy with family time. Bon appetit (or nomnomnom) whichever you prefer!

Jessica K. said...

Well I live in Germany and there are some traditions here that I love.

First is the adventscalender. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advent_calendar) We had a handmade one growing up and my mpm would put little presents in each bag for me and my brother. That way we got to open a little gift every morning. Mostly chocolate, candy, chapstick etc. Just small stuff.

On December 5th all kids clean one pair of their boots and put it in front of their door and over night nikolaus comes and fills it with candy, a little gift (book or socks) and when the kids wake up they have this boot full of goodies.

also we make advent wreaths with 4 candles and every sunday we light one more candle, eat cookies, cake and drink hot chocolate or tea as a family. on the 4th advent all 4 candles are light. my mom used to buy more than 4 candles bc the first one always burnt down b4 the 3rd advent.

also we celebreate christmas on christmas eve not on the 25th in the morning. i have heard of many ppl who have their kids unback a pair of new jammies and a book on christmas eve to sleep in for christmas morning! i thought that was kind of cute!

also when jpnah gets a little bit older you could do the elf on the shelf as a tradition! you probably heard of this but if not then just put it in amazon and youll find it!!

you can also make it a tradition to bake cookies with jonah once a year b4 christmas and hand those out to friends and neighbours!!

ok thats all i can think of right now!! :)

jenlar3 said...

I enjoyed the mental picture of you and Johan having fun with Deac, until you described the lip incident. So sorry for the little guy.

Our family has many traditions already mentioned in the comments, so I thought I would share a couple of different ones that we do.

1) We wrap the pictures we have hanging on our living room wall. This started when we didn't have a lot of money for decorations, and is one of our favorite traditions. I don't like to spend a lot of money on wrapping paper for gifts that just gets ripped off and thrown away, but I will spend a little more on fancier paper to go on the pics on the walls. I reuse the paper for a couple years, then recycle it for gifts, so I don't mind the higher price. Anyway, the house looks very festive when the pictures are wrapped. I like to get creative with the bows!

2) We do what we call a "Santa Sack." I bought a small silver bag, and every year we cut out different shapes (mitten, candy cane, gingerbread person, etc). Then sometime during Christmas day, we all write our favorite or most memorable event (or events) from the year. During the month between Thanksgiving and New Year's, we will invite visitors to write theirs down also. We sign and date them. It is precious to have some of my late-stepmother's memories written in her hand-writing.

Wishing your family a Merry Christmas!

jenlar3 said...

I obviously meant Jonah!! I think it is time for me to try and get some sleep!!

Cathy said...

One of my favorites is Elf of the Shelf. Jonah is too young for it but once he gets a little older it's really cool. Jingle is the elf that comes to our house. He arrives the morning after Thanksgiving and then each night he flies to Santa to tell him if the kids have been naughty or nice...then each morning he hides in a different place. My kids LOVE waking up to find him. It's so cute. I know Jonah will love it when he's older. It comes with a book to read also to explain it all. :)

Maythi said...

we make a gingerbread house each year. just make sure to keep it far away from the dog. 2 years ago, our boxer ate TWO of our houses. my youngest was crushed, and our dog was sick to her stomach. not a good way to start the holiday! you can find kits just about anywhere, or you can make tiny ones out of graham crackers. have fun! happy holidays!

Sarah said...

We did the ornament thing too when I was younger but my favorite Christmas tradition had to be the Christmas books. Every year my mom would buy a new Christmas book (or two, but who's really counting?) and then during the days and weeks leading up to Christmas we would read all of them over again.

Sandy P said...

We hang an ornament with one attribute of Christ every day in December. Each ornament has an attribute and a scripture verse to back it up. One of the kids picks and ornament from the bowl, then we read the verse and pray, then the other child hangs the ornament. It is only the second year we are doing it, but we hope it will remind us all to focus on the real meaning of Christmas. I made my ornaments from a list I had. If you are interested, I can probably find the list somewhere.

leanne said...

Praying for healing for Jonah's lip...you asked for a "holiday tradition" and this is something I'm going to be getting/doing for my boys (although this is my first year, so technically hasn't yet qualified for a tradition, but i plan on continuining it throughout the years :) It's called "Elf on the Shelf" and you can visit their website...www.elfontheshelf.com...a good friend of mine has done this for years and her kids LOVE it, Baby Jonah is probably too small for it this year, but in the years to come hopefully he'll enjoy it too!!! Again praying for you all!!

Love from Leo,
Leanne

Rochel said...

We just started a tradition this year thanks to my sister-in-law. We are doing an Advent calendar where every day there is something inside a little 'tin' that has the date on it. We open that up and get to do whatever is inside. We've LOVED it, and it really gets our mind re-focused every day during the holiday season on preparing for the birth of Jesus. This is our first year, but my sister-in-law has been doing it for a while. You can see a picture of it (it might make more sense) here:
http://rochelsblog.blogspot.com/2009/12/preparing.html
My sister-in-law made it for us, (and she might be convinced to make more...like how I volunteer her?!) but it certainly doesn't have to be that fancy...anything that helps me focus on Christ's birth is GREAT :)

Grape News said...

We have a tradition of buying the kids a together present--usually a movie--and letting them open it Christmas Eve and we all watch it together. We also have a "snacky meal" that night (nothing good for you or substantial) and munch all night while we watch it.

Diana said...

Some of our traditions include... baking cookies to give to neighbors, Elf on the Shelf - that just started last year. My kids LOVE trying to find him every morning. I know that J won't know or understand this year but think about it for next year.

We also have an advent calendar that the kids love to do every day.

alaplage_32 said...

Instead of cooking a big meal at Christmas, my husband's family has started the tradition of serving snacks on Christmas Day. Everyone brings their favorite snack/finger food and we graze all day long. we have things like sausage balls, peanut butter balls, home made cookies, chocolate covered pretzels, and ham biscuits, just to name a few. He has a large family, so there is always too much food.

I also strongly dislike the Fresh Beat Band. Something about them just rubs me the wrong way. I would rather watch the Imagination Movers.

Kristian & Tina said...

We started with our first child, reading the Christmas story (Luke 2) on Christmas Eve. We want them to remember the real reason we even have Christmas.

Praying his lip will heal. I am sure that it is way to raw for anything now, but a nurse told me that lanolin (the cream for breastfeeding mommies) is the best lip balm out there.

Robin said...

Hi, sweet Patrice. It has been a while since I commented on your amazing blog, but I caught up this morning and am just full of love and prayers for you and your family. Jonah is absolutely precious (duh!) and you and Matt seem to be doing very well with the challenges presented each and every day. I will be praying for a wonderful Christmas for you guys.

I love traditions, too! One of my faves is that the kids give each other books (that's all!) on Christmas Eve. It has been a joy to watch them learn how to think about someone else and what he/she would enjoy reading. I guess Jonah's a litle young for that, but maybe getting him a special book each year to read the night before Christmas would be something you would all have fun doing!

Blessings,
Robin (DC friend of Peyton/Amy!)

Debbie,mother of two said...

This is one that you can do each year. You mention this in your blog. I buy my kids a new ornament every year and when they get their own home I plan to give them all of their ornaments for their tree. Also, reading the Christmas story from the Bible and we sit by the tree on Christmas Eve. Still praying for Jonah's needs. Glad you had fun at target.

Jarrod, Jen, and Gavin said...

Don't forget to leave water for the reindeer when you leave cookies and milk for Santa! Since Rudolph is the last to drink some water, the water that's left in the bowl ends up red (food coloring)! :)

Jessica said...

Some other people might have commented on this, but I won't read all of the previous 77 comments ; )

I have 4 kids and in the past 6 years, we have really hit a groove as to our Christmas traditions. Beforehand, what with traveling across the Ocean to go to/come back from Seminary, moving every two years, etc. it was HARD to have ANY tradition. But now, my kids are SOOOO excited about Christmas in a totally NOT commercial way. We mainly do three things: we observe the 4 Sundays of Advent and light a candle, after my husband gives a short meditation/Bible reading. The kids ADORE the first Sunday, when we talk about how Christ came to be the LIGHT and dad turns all the lights off... until the match flickers and lights, and then there is the light of the first candle. It's really a small thing, but since age 1, they get SOOOO into it! They are so sad when we light the Christ candle on Christmas morn.... The second thing we have been doing is read The Advent Book by Jack and Kathy Stockman. We received it as a gift and the kids sooooo wait for it! It's got a door to open on each of the 25 days of Christmas and there is the Christmas story told, a bit at a time, under each door. The pictures are beautiful and kids all ages can find it fun. The little ones look for the little critter on each page, then the older ones get to read their own passage, and they negotiate on who opens the Lion door, etc. My then 4 y.o. had memorized HUGE portions of it, because she loved it, just from hearing it read over and over. I suggest you take a look at it. Once Jonah is a big older, he will just love it! The last thing we do, is listen to great seasonal hymns. The music is so beautiful, and with the candles, etc. the kids just KNOW it is a special time. They look so much forward to it that they eventually told me that Christmas day is a bit of a let down, since it means waiting a whole year for Advent again. But they do JUST that: anticipate it, wait for it, ask if we'll do this or that... The day the candle is lit says the book is soon to follow. Or maybe it's the music that comes first and heralds the candle... We listen to Christmas from King's College, or 9 lessons and Carols, that type of thing.
Anyway, it has really changed the ethos of our Christmas and we are all really enjoying it more, and it is meaningful and special for all of us. The kids, REALLY, don't care about the gifts anymore...
Have a blessed Advent season yourself!
P.S. We also keep an Advent calendar and since my children don't eat candy or chocolate on a regular basis, they do get a piece of chocolate each day and they are SOOOOO excited! It also helps those not in school to count down to Christmas ; )

Pogue Mahone said...

Our Christmas tradition? We have chocolate-filled Advent calenders for all the kids they open a little "window" daily and on Christmas Eve after Church we each open one present,saving the rest for Christmas morning.

Jodi said...

We have a few traditions that I have stolen from other people. One is that every year (starting with my son't first Christmas), we take a family photo in front of a Christmas tree and frame it (in a Christmas frame is really nice) and then on my bookshelf every Christmas season, I put up the family photos from each Christmas. By the time my son graduates from High School, we'll have 18 Christmas photos in frames on my bookshelf.
Another tradition that my friend does is to set up the manger seen without baby Jesus and then on Christmas Day, add Baby Jesus to the manger scene since it is His Birthday. We also make a Birthday cake (or let our son pick out a Birthday cupcake from Giant Eagle), put a candle in it, and sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus on Christmas.
Little Peoples has a manger scene that kids can play with. As I put each piece of the manger scene up, I tell the Christmas story to my son. Then, throughout the Christmas season, he often gets the manger scene down and asks me to tell him "the story" using the figures on the manger scene.
My husband and I also write a letter to my son every Christmas Eve. His first Christmas Eve, he was about a month old and at our Christmas Eve service, I played Mary while he was baby Jesus. We told our son about that in our letter to him and it just continued every year.
We also have our son make an ornament for everyone in the family each year and of course reading the Christmas story before opening presents every year. Since having our son, because Christmas morning is all about him, my husband and I exchange one gift on Christmas Eve after my son's gone to sleep. I also by an ornament for him every year. They are one's that he likes now (elmo, etc.) and I just know his wife some day is going to put all those ones on the back of the tree:)
We also make Christmas cookies together. He's three and he loves to decorate them.
My son also helped us pack a shoebox for the Operation Christmas Child project. We loved it and will definitely add this to our list of yearly Christmas traditions!
Can you tell I LOVE Christmas too!

jennifer said...

The Brakefield Crew like many of you get matching PJ's on Christmas Eve. We all go to my Grandmothers with both my husband and my family (weird but fun)We eat, eat and eat and have a dirty santa or draw names gift exchange. On Christmas day the three boys get 3 gifts ONLY from Santa. We have told them that because our family loves Jesus we want to honor him with ALL our Christmas celebrations and have asked Santa to bring three giftsonly per person in honor of the three gifts Jesus got from the wisemen. It is fun to watch them plan and calculate the three choices.

On Christmas day we host an all day PJ optional Brunch for any of our family to attend.

katrynka said...

Lets see...
baking cookies, and my mom made really thick sugar cookies for tree decorations. We each got to choose a shape, and then there was one shape for the animals. We each decorated one, and then we helped with the one for the animals, and for my Dad, cause he was always at work. We used egg yolk with food coloring for paint, and it made really nice shiny paint when it fried. And we used toothpicks to paint it on. Cut a hole in the cookies before you bake to put ribbon in to hang on tree. Then after Christmas, you can hang them outside for the birds.

We had our own small artificial tree that the kids decorated each year. Some ornaments lasted from year to year, others were made each year - strung popcorn and cranberries etc. My mom found some new craft ornament for us to make each year.

We also did the advent wreath every sunday night. We had a grapevine wreath with candle holders wired onto it. So it was very durable, and we decorated it each year.

And we had an advent calendar, and we took turns to open each day.

We also did an activity for the month of december. The concept is to have a small basket or box to represent baby Jesus' bed. Then you have a stash of straw. Each sunday night after the advent wreath, we drew names. for the next week you were supposed to do nice things for that person (trying to keep the deeds secret) and each time you did something, you put a piece of straw in the bed. The idea being that the more you are nice to others, the more cushy and good the bed will be for Jesus.

Jessi said...

I bet Jonah will love looking at the lights...I sure do!
Hope his lip heals *soon*! Praying for you three.

ps-I'm doing my first giveaway on my blog right now...a gift card to a place you love ;) Check it out.

Jessi said...

Oh yeah! I forgot to add our traditions. Growing up, we got new ornaments (that's all I can remember doing every year). We made them a lot and that made it more special and was lots of fun!

Being newly married, we're trying to find traditions that we want to follow too...we went to the town Christmas tree lighting and that was fun. I think we're making spiced tea, hot coco and puppy chow (that chocolate, powder sugar chex mix stuff) to give to friends. We did that growing up, made cookies, teas, cocos, etc. and gave them to friends. It was fun!

I'm sure whatever y'all do, it'll be awesome.

Lisa said...

I got a tradition for you!! I don't know how well it would work with Jonah's EB, but if you get a plain Christmas tree skirt you can dip the kids' hands in paint and put a handprint on the skirt every year. If paint and EB don't mix, maybe you could outline his hand with a fabric marker instead.

We also get the kids a new pair of jammies every year for Christmas and that's the only present they get to open Christmas Eve.

Bethany said...

Jonah is too young for this now, but driving around looking at Christmas lights is a favorite for us. It is so fun to see the wonder on our girls' faces!

It's not really a "tradition" I guess, but we have this little nativity set that we put out by the tree for the girls to play with. It is one of those "plush" nativities with little "stuffed" animals and baby Jesus. Sounds weird, but they love playing with it.

Of course, reading the story of the birth of Jesus is a tradition that we do every Christmas Eve, too.

P.S. I was laughing out loud when I read your opening sentence!! Hilarious! My 3 year old loves watching FBB. Talk about irritating!! I think together we could do some serious damage to that group of kids.

Beth said...

my neighbors collect nutcrackers for their boys and i think its so cool. i wish i had started this with my son when he was smaller. the kids love getting them out each year and the various figures are a reflection of their personalities each year. for instance, last year they loved firefighters so their nutcrackers had firefighter outfits. now they love military men so they each got nutcrackers in fatigues.

Cadyville Coupon Clipper said...

We started a "book tradition" when our little one was three months old and love it! It is a bit expensive the first year, but since the stories are seasonal I pack them away and add/subtract as the years go by. Every Year on 12/1 a wrapped basket of books appear wrapped by the front door in the morning. I top the basket with the "elf on a shelf" and we always read his story the first night. Every night after bath time our daughter picks out another book and we use it for one of our bedtime stories. The choice is random except for the first and last (Twas The Night Before Christmas) books. Sortfloorbooks.com has many books for $1-$2 and there are always coupon codes making this a neat activity. We mix in a lot of bible focused stories, but the options are endless. It also is a great way to teach a little one to open gifts- 24 days of practice before the big day. I pack up the books with the tree (1/1- here).

sharonw05 said...

I loved reading everyone's traditions, and I am going to wrap my pictures this year--what a great idea!
We have an advent calendar that my mom made for the kids (her mom made the same one for us when we were small), the kids can open one gift on Christmas eve--but the only gifts under the tree at that point are the ones from their grandparents and aunts/uncles. We go to Christmas eve service and then eat supper at our favorite Chinese restaurant.
When they wake up Christmas morning, they can open their stockings, then they come wake us up (they are usually up at 5am or so!). I make a big breakfast that we eat after opening all the presents under the tree.

.:Heather:. said...

We don't do this one but I love the tradition of giving kids 3 gifts because that's how many gifts Jesus was given.

We started a Jesse Tree last year & my four year old loves waking up & doing our devotion & it keeps Jesus in every day of the season.

Shaina said...

I know this is a little late, but I was just thinking about my family's Christmas traditions, and it turns out we're HUGE on tradition. Here's a small sampling:
-Day after Thanksgiving we get out the Santa Bears that each of us kids got the year we were born
-When I was younger we had to watch all the best Christmas movies when they went on TV. ie. Grinch that stole Christmas, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, etc.
-There are also certain things we HAVE to listen to the night we decorate the tree: GT and the Halo Express, another that I can't remember the name of right now... bummer!
-We have stockings that we open Christmas morning, even though we kids are almost all grown, and there's always a new pair of Christmas-themed socks that we immediately put on. Back in the beanie baby days we would also get a new beanie baby.
-Christmas cookies!! The sugar kind that you roll out and cut into shapes. Decorating these never involves frosting (that would be akin to sacrilege). It is an art that we take to the highest levels even going so far as to use tweezers to pick up the individual sprinkles and place them just so.
-At the gathering of my Dad's side of the family, my Grandpa always reads select passages from the Bible centered on the birth of Jesus. Love this one!!!
-My Dad always buys each of us kids a miniature ornament that we use to decorate a miniature tree. It has quite a collection these days.
-My Mom buys us a new K'nex set and we spend the days after Christmas assembling all the different sets which are mostly theme-park related.

I'm sure I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Some traditions have come and gone, and we've acquired new ones along the way, but I love the way traditions get everyone together and I think they're the best part about the holidays. :)

CastingCares said...

I also give our kids new pajamas on Christmas Eve (Christmas ones preferably), so their pictures are really cute for Christmas morning. We open one gift (toy) the night before, and the rest with their stockings on Christmas morning.

I give them three gifts (from mom and dad) each year to remind them of the amount of gifts that Jesus was given.

We open a box on an advent calendar each night to reveal something new about the Christmas story.

I can't think of anything else right now, but I know you will have so much fun with Jonah this year. Take lots of pictures!

Deb said...

We always watch "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" to kick off the season (the original cartoon).Our tradition when the boys were young was to get a new Christmas book (or 3 or 4!) every year to read. We read the books at night just before bed. We graduated from picture to chapter books. Over the years, we collected quite a few. We packed them up at the end of the holidays so every Christmas, it was like we had a whole basket of new books. My boys loved to be read to (still do at ages 17 and 20) and I love to read, so this made for a special tradition that I hope they carry on with their own children. I also buy a new ornament for each of my guys every year and a new one for my hubby and me (sometimes it's from a place we've visited). The boys will get their ornaments when they marry or move out on their own.

Abby said...

Our big one is the Hallmark ornaments. The Mary's angels series started the year I was born and so I get one of those every year. Lately we've started a pajama present. We each get a new pair of pajamas on Christmas Eve to wear that night.

We also go to my grandparents' house after we open our presents at home and have stockings and presents there too.

Also-the animated How the Grinch Stole Christmas. and of course all the Charlie Brown Christmas movies.

And for many years now, to no avail, I have tried to convince my parents that I need a new book on Christmas Eve. Because I wake up ridiculously early and need something to do.

Hope you get some good ideas! Merry Christmas!

zacktobe5 said...

We don't put names on the packages just numbers. Because my kids are a little older they were guessing the presents so now it has become a tradition to not put names on them any more. It makes Christmas morning a little more fun too.

Christmas Eve we have the Missionaries over and have appetizers and Prime Rib weird but it is special to us since we don't live by any family.

zacktobe5 said...

Oh one more thing we do is go to the .99 cent store. We started this when my kids were very very young cuz they could go into the store and pick any gift they wanted for grandparents and siblings and parents. Nothing was never to expensive and it didn't matter what they picked it was a gift from them. ( my parents loved seeing what the little ones would come up with)They had a blast every year and still as young adult and older teens they still go and buy 1 thing per person there. I love how it taught them it wasn't always about the price it was about thinking of that person and finding the perfect gift for them. Ok I am done this time...

amber said...

One of our favorites is to get a pizza to eat in the car and drive around looking at Christmas lights. Also, Starbucks goes really nice after the pizza!

Tina said...

Dear Patrice,

I can only catch a glimpse of the frustration you must feel sometimes. Thank you again so much for letting me do a little spotlight on my blog Little Tots/Big Ideas. I have never met you, but I can tell you are a sweet girl. Keep the faith mommy!

Sabrina said...

I forgot to post on this post:

Traditions- pjs on Christmas eve, 4 gifts from parents on Christmas day (something you want, something you need, something to wear, & something to read), we always make cookies and candies for family, I want to add more in so I will be scouring the comments.

On another note, I am happy for you that things are the same daily, that means Jonah is eating, sleeping and do okay! That is what your blog readers WANT to read! You are funny, your son is adorable, and you love Target! What else could we want!!!

Amber said...

We do Sugar Cookies and decorate them to share with family, friends, and of course - Santa Clause!

My kids are still little (2 and 4), but we already have started the tradition of a Christmas morning "birthday party for Jesus". We put candles in cinnamon rolls instead of cake. We also read the Christmas story in the Bible on Christmas Eve.

I don't think it's so much about set activities that makes Christmas a tradition. I think it's more the feeling that you share with your kids. They sense your excitement and they get excited. I'm trying to let me kids come up with our traditions as I see which parts of Christmas they like the most. :)

The 'Ssippi Scoup said...

Wow! I got in on this post late so maybe you really do read this far down. I have an 11 month old and I know what you mean about starting traditions. You have to go Baby J. something called "The Elf on the Shelf". You can go to my blog to read about ours. Bailey isn't old enough to understand it this year, but she will be and my brother's kids are older and have the same thing and LOVE it. Basically it's this (fake) elf that comes to your house the on Dec. 1 and stays until Christmas Eve. There is a story that comes with the elf, you name your elf and every year the same elf comes back and stays for that length of time. But the story goes that at night while they kids are asleep the elf goes back to visit Santa and tells Santa if they were good or bad. Mom and Dad have the privlege of making sure that the elf does indeed go see Santa and by the next morning, the elf has returned and in a "new" spot and the kids get up to go find the elf. Sometimes the elf can bring notes from Santa or a small prize. Just really however you want to do it. But it's a cute idea. I let my husband name ours and we ended up with an elf named Jesse. Anyway, cute idea. Maybe no one else has mentioned it and I did a post about it on my blog with a pic.

Libby said...

I'm sorry about Jonah's lip! What a rotten accident.

We are still working out our holiday traditions, since N. is just 1, and we still go "home" (to Maryland) for many holidays. However, traditions from my childhood that I hope to keep going: baking Christmas cookies together (N. already helped sprinkle this year), decorating the tree together (once he's big enough to hang ornaments--my sister and I always had special ornaments that we got to hang up), and, from Mark's family, having a caroling party the weekend before Christmas. Who knows what else will develop--sometimes traditions become traditions because you do them once and then the kids require that you keep doing them (my sister and I are guilty of that one!). Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

Joanna said...

I started with a Christmas book for my daughter and son every year. I look all year for a special book for each of them. I write a little message in the front about why I picked the book and what's been special for us that year. My daughter is almost 10 and loves going back and reading them over and over. A favorite is "you are my I love you" by Maryann Cusimano. You would love it, I think...

Joanna

Cristin said...

This isn't a holiday tradition, but every time we travel to a different state or country we get an ornament. Every state has a brass ornament in the is shaped like the state. So now at Christmas we have a smaller tree up with all of our ornaments. I know it's hard for you all to get our, but it might be neat to collect ornaments from the states of your blog readers and have a Prayer Tree for Jonah.

Also, we have a tradition of giving savings bonds to all the children for Christmas. It's a way to give them something they can use in the future. I am 22 and still have all but 2 of mine that were given to me since I was born in 1986.

We also have the tradition of every baby in the family a silver bell that has the chid's name engraved and the date of his/her first Christmas on it. I still to this day enjoy hanging my bell on the tree.

Merry Christmas to you all!

Ani said...

We collect ornaments. I get the kids an ornament (or 2!) each year that reflects something important for them that year. Since we welcomed our baby girl in September, our son got a Big Brother ornament, and our little princess got a Baby's First Christmas ornament. Also, I try to get an ornament every time we travel. Makes for a lot of fun when we put up our tree :)
I also get the kids special Christmas pj's each year (this year they are matching - too cute!) I make sure they wear them to bed on Christmas Eve... it makes for such cute Christmas morning pics!

The Alger Family said...

Every Thanksgiving my family (parents, brothers, sister, and spouses) watch "Home for the Holidays." It's a completely wacky film with Holly Hunter about a woman going home for Thanksgiving and all the quirkiness of her family that she encounters. Even though we've seen it at least a dozen times, it never gets old!

Dani said...

My family has always had a birthday party for Jesus. On Christmas morning we all get together and read the Christmas story out of Luke. We have a birthday cake decorated for Jesus and we sing happy birthday to Jesus. Then we have cake--yes for breakfast. After our party for Jesus, we open our gifts. I'm 24 and my youngest sibling is 16 and we still do this every year.

I lead a small group of 8th grade girls and we talked about traditions last night...one of the girls said that every year their parents give them only 3 gifts because that's what Jesus got. I thought that was a neat idea, and when I have a family its something I'm considering...

Monica said...

i hightly recommemd doing a jesse tree -- http://www.amazon.com/Advent-Jesse-Tree-Devotions-Christmas/dp/0687009081/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1260238902&sr=8-1

The Darling Dukes said...

We have the "Elf of the Shelf". You bring him out after Thanksgiving and he hangs around till Christmas Eve. We also bought "What God wants for Christmas" from Lifeway last year. My boys LOVE both these things and look forward to them each year!

Libby said...

I've just come back and read everyone's traditions--what wonderful ideas! I especially love the "3 gifts" one and wonder if some of you who do that could elaborate--are they just 3 gifts period, or 3 gifts from Mom and Dad, with Santa chipping in a couple more? And I saw one person mentioned "something they need, something they want, something to give back"--what are some ideas for the third category?

I liked hearing about people who do the twelve days of Christmas, but I was surprised that everyone seems to do them before Christmas. I think some cultures still celebrate the 12 days from Christmas Day to Epiphany--does anyone do that?

EHW said...

I scanned through the suggestions for traditions and didn't see this idea...

I sew a new jingle bell onto each of our stockings every year. When I started, I had to backtrack and sew quite a few onto my husband's and my stockings... So, mine has 38 bells, husband's has 37, son's has 12, girls' have 8 and 2... One year it might be purple jingle bells, the next gold glittery bells, the next green shiney bells, etc... If someone is born that year, everybody gets a red bell and that's the only time I use red on the stockings...

Continuing to pray for your sweet family from Lubbock, TX!!!

Mike and Mindy Aumann said...

We have a cheesecake for Jesus' birthday cake (cause it's breakfast and at least it has some protein...) and we sing happy birthday and read a book of the Christmas story that we've had since my 12 yr old was a toddler. Then we can open gifts.

With both parents forking FT, we don't have as much time as I'd like for traditions leading up to Christmas. Thanks for asking for the ideas. I'll read through them and hopefully add more to our celebration!

Iva said...

Our favorite Christmas Eve traditions include attending our church's service and then the last thing before lights out is John reading to the girls (now ages 27 and 19!) C Clement Moore's "Twas the Night Before Christmas." I read Eloise Wilkins "The Christmas Story" or Scripture. Reading aloud is something we always did at bedtime and still do on Christmas Eve.

We also have special holiday baking we like to do including fudge and peppermint bark.

Our big Easter tradition is an egg hunt in our back yard. John and I stuff the eggs the night before with cash and candy and on Easter morning the girls each grab a basket and see who can find the most eggs. Lots of fun!

biblemm said...

Our Holiday tradition began when we started our family. Having grown up with the commercialism of Christmas/Santa and knowing that the true meaning of Christmas was to celebrate Jesus birth, we decided on giving three gifts (three wiseman) and a stocking! Our kids are now 13 and 9 and they love it! My son is now wanting more high tech $$ presents so he bargains, this year he wants an ipod nano and he wants that to be his three gifts! WOW Last year the bargain was a Wii. For my husband and I, well we set aside a certain amount of money (usually $25) and see who can fill eachothers stocking!! It's really fun! Some years we do up the $$ but it seems we like the challenge!! One year he got a pack of socks and wrapped each sock individually! good one! LOL