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I love holiday traditions. I have fallen in love with them even more now that we have children and a growing family. I feel like holiday traditions that are strong foundation to lifelong memories. It’s kind of like when you’re smelling an aroma and it takes you back to a memory. For me, that’s how the holidays are. It doesn’t matter which holiday it is, I always have at least one memory from my childhood that I come back to each and every year. I think that’s why I love the idea of having traditions within the holidays every single year for my children. I have so many memories of us going to our local Hallmark to see Santa, or the Easter Bunny, or to just get special holiday decor. I remember the years we came out to Colorado to see my grandparents and the years we headed up to Winter Park. Today I’m sharing with you all of the traditions we do during the Christmas season.
Every year we donate gifts to toy drives for Christmas and talk about how fortunate we are to our children so they grow up grateful and with a giving heart. We’ve done Operation Christmas Child several years and in the recent few, we started donating to a local toy drive that a co-worker of Ryan’s is a large part of. We talk to A about how we are going to go shopping for Christmas gifts for boys and girls that have to stay at the hospital because they aren’t able to be at home usually because they are too sick. Then, we head to the store and she picks out all kinds of toys and says “let’s get this for the kids mommy!” and “the kids will love this daddy!”. Then take them home, put a little note in them about how loved they are & we wish them a Merry Christmas and we donate them. I love seeing A be so forthcoming in this project of ours. She has such a giving heart; never do we have to argue with her about the fact the toys are going elsewhere.
PICK & DECORATE OUR TREE
We decorate pick out a live tree every year just like my husband did growing up. I never had a live tree until Ryan and I got our first one several years ago. Last year we celebrated our first Christmas in our new home and picked the tradition back up again! A loves going and picking out the tree, this year she picked it out all on her own within minutes of being there. We get it home, get it set up and the Christmas music comes on and we get to decorating! If you love Christmas music, you’ll love the Pandora Hallmark station it’s full of great, family friendly music. It’s been my favorite this year! We love getting the house filled with garland and lights and reminiscing about ornaments from years before. From this day forward you see us singing along to Christmas music, too.
GOGIDDY THE ELF
My mom got us the Elf on the Shelf for A’s first Christmas and last year A named her Gogiddy. We make this tradition just good fun. We don’t go into the whole “she reports to Santa if you are bad!” thing. We just have fun hide and seek games with her every day and sometimes she brings fun activities. This year, we watched The Polar Express and she was looking for Gogiddy in the crowd of the movie which was absolutely darling! A has a great time finding her and sometimes Gogiddy brings clues to what we might be doing that is fun that day!
We give plates & gift baskets of freshly baked goodies to our local workers and some neighbors. We want to raise our child to have humble and grateful hearts. Being able to get my children into the kitchen with me to create delicious baked goods to give away out of gratitude to our local workers, in hopes that we encourage her children to value those that are making our lives better every day. I started having A in the kitchen with me when she was a baby and I would wear her in the wrap while I cooked. Last year was the first year we a lot of baking together and this year she baked right alongside me and B was in the wrap. It’s such a thrill to have them in the kitchen with me. I have so many memories in the kitchen with my mom.
What You Will Need:
- A Basket (however many you plan to make)
- A Holiday Bow – you can get these for under $1!
- Curling Ribbon
- Labels (or the supplies to make your own such as cardstock!)
- Cellophane bags
- A hole punch
- Tissue Paper
- A Hallmark Card (one for each basket) Click here to save $1.00 off of a two Hallmark Greeting Card purchase at Walmart, minimum $1.00 purchase required. Take advantage of the savings and #SendHallmark this holiday season!
- Any additional items you want to add such as candles or coffee mugs!
What You’ll Need to Do:
- Create a list of recipients. This is going to help you create a better idea of how much you need to make, as well as, how many cards and baskets to buy. It’s a great idea to keep a list going a day or so before you head to the store in case someone pops into your head that you want to make a basic for.
- Bake or Buy your goodies. Each year we bake our goodies and what recipes vary from year to year. I love having both of our kids in the kitchen with me. I space our goodies out over a few days and make things like candy coated pretzels, or other long lasting goodies, a day or two before I bake the cookies. If you aren’t a baker you can buy them pre-made or get a bag mix. It’s the thought that counts, I promise!This year we made a variety of goodies that weren’t necessarily super sweet. We wanted to have a little something for everyone. We made:
- Bag up your goodies in basic cellophane bags. How many items you put per bag is going to depend on how many people you are gifting to and how many items you created. I also take into account how many people will likely be eating the goodies. I give more to the fire department than I do our two trash guys because I know more will be eating them at the station.
- Label Your Goodies. It’s a great idea to label your items with what they are so your recipients know what to expect! For our labels, I used our LabelWriter (I shared about that with you here) and a made custom labels but you could do the same or similar with basic card-stock and your printer! To finish them off, punch a hole in the label & wrap them with a curling ribbon and hold your finger to the back side of the scissor edge and pull the create a curl!
- Prepare your basket! Line it with some tissue paper to pad your goodies and it’ll look pretty too! I had white and red on hand so that is what I used. I liked the fun holiday contrast inside the basket. I then attached the bow that I got to the front of the basket.
- Add in your goodies!! We do two types of baskets – one with two goodies and a candle, and one with a variety of just homemade goodies that we have made (these are great for the fire station & post office). In each basket we included a Hallmark card with a nice little message in the card.
If you aren’t sure what to put in there you can use what we do: “Here’s a some homemade Christmas cheer to thank you for (insert: delivering our mail, picking up our trash, keeping us safe, being our neighbor, etc) all throughout the year!”
- Deliver! Take your goodies to your local fire department, out to your trash guys, over to your post office or next door to your neighbor to spread a little Christmas cheer!
Every year since Ryan and I got together, we have always gotten an ornament to represent the year. Once we had the kids, we kept that tradition going! We let A pick hers out every year and she loves putting them on the tree! This year she got a Minnie Mouse ornament and she just loves it. We got B a “son” snowman to celebrate his first year. We had so many to choose from thanks to the 16 Walmart exclusives that has something for everyone. This is one of my favorite traditions because not only will Ryan and I have years worth of ornaments but when the kids are grown and leave the house they’ll have some to ornaments to fill their own trees with!
CHRISTMAS EVE CHRISTMAS STORY READING!
We really want our children to know why we celebrate Christmas and that Jesus is the reason for the season. So every year we sit down and read the Christmas Story from the kids’ bible on Christmas Eve right before we set out the Milk and Cookies for Santa. I love this tradition and that our kids will grow up knowing the true meaning behind Christmas. My hope is that with all of our giving to others this time of year, they will grow up with hearts that know Christmas is all about having a heart for others because Jesus was born.
Want to take in one of these traditions like the holiday basket or yearly ornament picking? You can head to Walmart and get everything that you need all in one place. Head over here for more great card ideas, too! Now tell me – what are your favorite holiday traditions? I love hearing everyone’s traditions.