Thursday, December 27, 2012

Our New Christmas Traditions

We've always been into traditions in our house, but this year it just so happened that we stumbled upon some new ones that we absolutely love and not one of them revolves around commercialism.  They focus on giving of ourselves and quality time with each other as a family.  Here are my three favorite.

#1.  I had my kids make presents for each other -  I asked them what they wanted to give each other, got the supplies, and they made them.  My oldest wanted to make a coloring book for her little brother and a handwriting practice book for her sister.  We just printed sheets off the internet, she decorated a cover, and we stapled them together.  My middle girl wanted to color pictures and glue them together into a booklet.  We found coloring pictures online, copy/pasted them into a 2 column word document, printed them out, then folded them into a booklet.  She glued the pages together and colored them.  Finally, my son wanted to make his sisters some "monsters", so we bought some cheap dollar gloves and I hot glued googly eyes wherever he wanted them and drew mouths in the color and shape that he said.  They turned out really, really cute.  What I love about this new tradition is that they were thinking about what they could give to each other instead of only about what they were going to get.  To see the excitement on their faces as their siblings opened the presents they so lovingly put together was priceless.  

#2. Christmas Eve Sleepover - my sister bought my 3 oldest each a sleeping bag for Christmas this year, and they opened them at my mother's house on Christmas Eve.  They were SO excited about them!  So, we let them line them up in my son's room and let them have a "sleepover" together.  I was afraid they wouldn't get any sleep at all, but it was a total success and a special time for them to spend together.  As long as they're willing, I want to keep this tradition alive.

#3. Date Night Tickets - I knew my children were going to bank with presents from the grandparents/aunts/uncles/cousins/etc., so I purposely didn't want to get them any big toys.  I've been wanting to start date nights with each child once a month for years, but just haven't been able to get my act together.  But then it dawned on me at about 1 am Christmas morning - I was looking at this pin for the Minivan Express, where you put tickets under the kids pillows and when they find them, they file out to the car and get hot chocolate and drive around looking at lights - TICKETS.  BRILLIANT!!!  I did a google search and found this website where you can design and print your own tickets.  The plan?  Print a ticket for each child to have a date with both mommy and daddy once a month.  My first thought was "this is such a cheesy gift idea - they're never going to go for this."  But you know what?  I was totally wrong.  They LOVED it!  They can't stop talking about it, actually.  My oldest went on a lunch date with daddy today and could not wait to get her ticket off the fridge and have daddy tear the stub off.  Such a fun idea.  I really, really hope that we can keep this up all year.  My goal is to sit down with all of them at the beginning of each month and schedule the dates/guys' nights out/girls' nights out so that we make sure to keep it up.  We'll see ;P  Maybe y'all can hold us accountable. 

More than anything else, I want my children to know the true meaning of Christmas - the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.  I knew I was doing something right when my oldest drew this picture during our church's Christmas Eve candlelight service.  

Merry Christmas, everyone, and may you be blessed in the New Year!

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