One of the best parts about Christmas are the traditions! You can have traditions for other holidays and for birthdays, but I think Christmas really has the most tradition associated with it. The Mister and I have been married for three-and-a-half years, so we have had Christmas with both of our families, and I have noticed that a few of our family traditions are the same. Now that we have a baby, I think it is important to start establishing the traditions that we are going to do each year. So here are some traditions that we currently have, and some that I want to start!
Christmas Eve Pajamas: Every Christmas Eve growing up my parents would get us new Christmas pajamas to wear that night and on Christmas morning. It was a really fun thing that I looked forward to and something that the Mister’s family did when he was growing up, too. I am always excited to wear new pajamas on Christmas Eve and when I am opening presents in the morning. I can’t wait to see what pajamas Little J will get this year!
Reading The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve: My family did this every year growing up, and the year after we got married my sister actually got the Mister and I our own copy of the book. Now we will get to read it to Little J on Christmas Eve!
Cookie Day: My family would always take one day before Christmas to bake and decorate a bunch of different kinds of cookies, and then we would put them all on different plates and deliver them to friends, neighbors, and church members. You could go caroling while you deliver them if you want, but I am not someone who enjoys caroling, so it really depends on you. This is one of my favorite traditions.
Keepsake Ornaments: Every year my parents would let us go to Hallmark and pick out a new ornament. Growing up in the 90s, I now have quite the collection of Disney ornaments, including a Little Mermaid one, a 101 Dalmations one, a Lion King one, and a Pocahontas one. I have them all here in Iowa and love getting to take them out and reminisce each year.
Kid Christmas Trees: My sister and I both had our own small Christmas trees that we got to decorate however we wanted when we were growing up. They were about three feet tall, and while we did have regular ornaments, we also had our keepsake ornaments, handmade and handpainted ornaments, and whatever we wanted could go on them, too. I want to keep this tradition going in the future because I think it’s fun for kids to get to decorate their own tree and have something Christmasy in their room.
Reading the Christmas Story in the Scriptures: Sometimes the true meaning of Christmas gets lost in the craziness, and I think it is important that we keep our Christmas centered on Christ.
Drive Around and Look at Christmas Lights: The Mister thinks this is a lame idea, but for kids, it’s so much fun to see the houses in your neighborhood decorated with lights and all lit up! I loved getting into pajamas and driving around before Christmas to look at everyone’s lights. There was even a house that would synchronize their Christmas lights to blink with different Christmas songs. I mean really, how can that not be a fun tradition! Plus it gets dark so early now that if your kids go to bed at 7 (like our baby) you can still get this done no problem.
Advent Candle: I learned about these in a Religion in the Home class at BYU, and I thought they were such a fun idea! Every night you read a scripture about Christ (the prophesies, his birth, the miracles he performed in his life), and each night, you light a candle while you read them. You burn a little bit of the candle each night and by Christmas, it is all gone! I think it’s such a fun way to bring the true spirit of Christmas into your home, and also a great way to get family scripture study in!
Advent Calendar: No, I am not talking about the little ones with chocolate in them that you buy at the store. I mean a real, fancy, no-nonsense advent calendar. I have seen some gorgeous homemade ones on Pinterest, and I have seen a few at Target and Jo-Ann that I like. I made a super cute one and my kids look forward to it every year!
Elf on the Shelf: How can you not want to do Elf on the Shelf?? One day I will buy one and I will probably have more fun than my kids setting it up each night. It’s another fun way to make the Christmas season special, and I love that you can get so creative with it! (Check out my 32 easy Elf on the Shelf ideas for toddlers list here!)
Act out the Nativity: There was a family in my home ward who does this every year (with costumes and everything) and I thought it was such a sweet activity to do as a family! Even if it’s just Mom, Dad, and one child, you can get the basic nativity scene in. I’m sure you can find a cute script or even just use a scripture to act it out. Just another great way to put the true meaning back into Christmas.
Write a Letter to Jesus: I know lots of kids write letters to Santa telling him what they want for Christmas, but what if we had kids write letters to Jesus thanking him for what he has given us? That is a much more important (and hopefully longer) letter! And you could bring them to church or put them in balloons and let them float off to heaven. Cute!
Aren’t these all so fun? I can’t wait until I start implementing more of them, and for Little J to get bigger and watch him be excited for these traditions!