Today’s blog was inspired by a recent trip to Hobby Lobby. Christa and I were shopping in the Christmas Section when we saw our friend Carrie. The three of us started looking at all of the holiday decorations when Carrie said, “Oh, they have nutcrackers”. She then told us that a few years ago her daughter asked if she could start collecting nutcrackers. Since then Santa has brought her a new nutcracker every Christmas. I love this because when she is older and on her own, she will have a meaningful collection of nutcrackers. She won’t have to put them all up, but she will have a wide variety to decorate with and pass down to her children. I love this tradition and am going to start this with my girls this year! I decided to blog about other fun traditions that are common in our households and in the households of our friends!Every year you can do different types. Some will be big, others will be small. Some may even be ornaments. Sophia is REALLY into turtles so I want to give her this nutcracker this year!Tradition #2: Exchanging OrnamentsDave and I have been doing this for years. Every year we buy a meaningful ornament for each other. The ornament relates to something that has happened in the past year. When we bought our first house I bought a cute HOME ornament. I also collect ornaments when I travel. My friend who gives Nutcrackers to her daughter also gives her kids a meaningful ornament every year. I love this because when they are starting their own homes they will have special ornaments.
Tradition #3: Nativity SetsWhile we were in Hobby Lobby, Christa bought a new nativity set. She has a few already but was inspired by her family friend Joanne who sets up different nativities all around her house. I’m excited because I have a few but received a really neat one from my mother-in-law last year!
Tradition #4: Cookies and Milk for SantaThis tradition is very important! There are two rules you must follow! First, someone must eat a few cookies or at least take bites and drink the milk. Second, don’t let the kids see you eating or drinking Santa’s snacks. Leaving out carrots or celery for the reindeer is always an added plus.
Tradition #5: Midnight MassGrowing up I remember going to midnight mass every year. It was special. I can say that we haven’t been as good at going in the last few years, but I want to rekindle the tradition because it was so special. Going to church at anytime on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day is a special tradition for millions of people around the world.
Tradition #6: Receiving PJs on Christmas EveI love this tradition. Every Christmas Eve we would receive a pair of new pajamas. It was fun to have a nice, new pair of pjs on Christmas day. Many people add a fun box with books, hot chocolate, and movies to the tradition.
Tradition #7: Open 1 Present on Christmas EveI love this tradition because the kids are itching to open presents and they all have a million to open. It makes sense to let them open one to really enjoy and focus their attention on. You could even “manipulate” the gift so that they pick a new game to play on Christmas Eve. Christmas day is hectic with opening all those presents. One the night before is perfect.
Tradition #8: Stringing Popcorn and Cranberries on your Christmas TreeI love this Skelly tradition. Every year we would choose a date to put up our tree. It wasn’t just about lights and ornaments, but also about popcorn, cranberries, needles, and string. All 6 of us (well, maybe not my dad) would spend hours and hours stringing popcorn and cranberries to adorn the tree. I loved it because we would talk, joke, and watch movies. I definitely want to start this tradition with my girls when they get a little older.
Tradition #9: Drawing names for large/extended family membersWe started this tradition a few years ago when we realized we had a ton of sisters/brother-in-laws and nieces and nephews. We tried to get everyone something, but it just gets too expensive and you end up just buying stuff that is not meaningful. The 4 Skelly girls decided that we would draw for sisters and brother-in-laws and spend $50.00 per gift. We would then draw for nieces and nephews and spend $25.00 per gift. This works out fine because everyone already gets way too much for Christmas.
Tradition #10: White Elephant/ Gag GiftThis tradition is fun because it can break the ice with families. The last few years we have been invited to a fun white elephant at my sister-in-law’s house. Christa and Brad did a funny white elephant with Brad’s family last year. This year we are spending Christmas in Breaux Bridge and I am organizing a funny white elephant exchange for Christmas eve. This is a fun activity.
Tradition # 11: Make Treats for your NeighborsMy mom has been doing this for years. She loves to bake and will bake a ton of goodies for her neighbors. She will place the baked goods in cut packages and deliver them in her wagon. I love this and want to do this with my girls!
Tradition #12: Blessing Bags
We learned about blessing bags from our Copperfield MOPS group. Blessing bags are bags you put together to give to people on the street who need a help up. We bought the supplies at SAMS and then had our kids assemble the bags. They were touched. I have read recently that you should not put the soap in the bags because it overwhelms the bags.
Tradition #13: Footprints from SantaMy parents always did this living in Louisiana with zero snow. You dip men’s shoes in flour and make a trail to the fireplace or door. We do this in Houston (also no snow). It is fun and the kids get so excited!
Tradition #14: Looking at LightsThis is a fun tradition that we inevitably end up doing near Christmas. We are all tired when we do it, but so grateful after it happens. We pile the kids (in their pjs) in the car and drive to see the neighborhood lights. Sometimes we bring hot chocolate and blankets. Many times we put it off because we are tired, but afterwards we are grateful we spent the time as a family looking at lights. I know adults who rent limos to look at lights with friends. We will do that one day!
Tradition #16: Elf Your Neighbors This is similar to “booing your neighbor”. You choose two or three of your neighbors and surprise them with fun “Holiday Gifts”. You can purchase fun items at the dollar store. Suggested items include wine, candy, Christmas hand towels, and other fun items.
Tradition #17: Christmas Caroling With Friends and FamilyThis is another fun Skelly tradition. There are a bunch of us and we often will just gather and go to our neighbors to start singing Christmas Carols.
Tradition #19: Ornament Making PartyWe have done this several times with our friends and family. Hosting an ornament making party is very fun. You have to remember to make the ornaments age appropriate.
There is a lot of down time during the holidays. It is always fun to turn off electronics and just have fun playing games. We love scrabble, monopoly, dominos, apples to apples, and pictionary.
I know I said 20, but my husband proof read this blog and asked me to include a Wilcox family tradition. On Christmas Eve, one person goes out and buys everyone’s food request. That means that person will be stopping at Dominos, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Chick Filet, Taco Bell, and much more. It’s the one day of the year when you can get anything and everything!!! Our question for you, what is YOUR FAMILY TRADITION?