I remember loving Christmas as a child and wondering how it could get any better than unwrapping presents, playing with new toys and eating yummy food. And then I became a parent and I was able to see the world from my parents' eyes as I watched my own kids experience the anticipation on Christmas Eve, their excitement on Christmas morning and just the overall feeling of happiness that seems to radiate from their being. I loved Christmas as a kid, but I love it even more as a parent.
|My daughter's first Christmas (2012)|
|My son's first Christmas (2014)|
We have a couple of family traditions already in place for Christmas, but I wanted to add a couple more now that my kids are getting a little older. I'm sure that as the years pass, we'll add or discontinue certain traditions to fit our family, so I think the practice of adding new ones each year will help ensure that there is something for everyone and all ages.
My husband and I want to make sure that our kids understand the true meaning of Christmas and not think that it revolves around Santa, elves and presents. By starting now, we can instill in them at least a basic understanding of how Christmas came to be and why we celebrate it in the first place. The traditions we are starting this year are simple, but hopefully ones our kids will cherish as they get older.
25 Days of Christ: The 25 Days of Christ is a tradition that was started by a woman who wanted her children to grow up having a more Christ-centered Christmas. She was worried that they were becoming too engrossed in the materialistic part of Christmas and began thinking about a way she could create a Christ-centered family tradition. She made ornaments and compiled stories, videos and quotes to go along with them. Each night her family would read about the meaning of each ornament and take turns hanging it on the tree. And that is how The 25 Days of Christ tradition came to be.
I absolutely love this idea for families of all ages because it helps us take time away from our busy lives and stop and think about the reason for the season. I ordered my ornament kit last year (2014) and got part way done painting it but wasn't able to finish in time to do it with my family. So we are starting this year instead, which actually works better for us since my daughter is a little older and has a better understanding of who Christ is. I have a smaller Christmas tree, about 2-3 feet tall, that we can put the ornaments on each night. Another thing I really like about the kit is that it includes stories and scriptures from both the New Testament and the Book of Mormon. You can also order it with just the New Testament stories and scriptures if that is your preference.
Unwrap Christmas Books: I've been trying to collect a variety of Christmas books over the last few years so that we could read one to the kids each night in December leading up to Christmas. I've got all sorts, ranging from The Polar Express (affiliate link) to Curious George (affiliate link) that I've picked up right at the beginning of the Christmas season or right after when they are on sale. (I think the most I've spent on a book is $7.) While I don't have quite enough yet--about 15 books--I still wanted to start this tradition because I know how much my kids love unwrapping presents. What kid doesn't, right? (My husband thinks it's a waste of wrapping paper, but I just call him "Scrooge" and keep wrapping. *wink*) They also love to read books and since we don't read Christmas books at any other time of the year, I figure this is a good way to do it. Plus, it goes right along with our daily tradition/routine of reading a book to the kids before bedtime. It's a total win-win!
If you want to start this tradition, but don't have enough Christmas books for the days leading up to Christmas, you can do a 12 Days of Christmas, or however many days you have books! And I don't think they necessarily need to be Christmas books. You could easily wrap your existing kids books and let them unwrap those. This tradition is totally adaptable to your own family!
I am so excited to start these new traditions with my family this year! Christmas is such a wonderful time and year and I love spending it creating memories and enjoying sweet moments together.
What are your favorite Christmas traditions? Are you starting any new traditions this year?