Family traditions. I love them because they give the boys something to look forward to, provide them with the security and certainty that all kids crave, and are memories in the making. I’m all about making memories for the boys, y’all.
But family memories don’t have to be yearly ocean-side vacations or anything expensive…they can be whatever you want them to be. A friend of mine gives her kids a special book the night before their birthday; it started when her oldest was about to turn 1 and she couldn’t wait to share the book with him. Now Birthday Eve Books are something her kids anticipate as much as the cake and ice cream.
I love that tradition because it’s meaningful and inexpensive, two musts in my book. I’ve build a lot of Christmas traditions for my family around those two simple rules…and lucky for you I’m in a chatty mood!
Ornaments for each boy. When my boys are grown and on their own, I want their first Christmas trees to remind them of home and how loved they are. So every Christmas my boys get a special ornament just especially for them. My trick is that I try to find box sets that are unique and memorable; this year I found one with five character ornaments so PERFECT. I write each boy’s name on the back, thus they know it is theirs, and boom! Tradition accomplished.
While I’m shopping for these ornaments, I scout around to see if I can find any inexpensive ones for my own collection. But honestly? My favorite place to find retro ornaments is thrift stores; other people call them cast-offs. I call them vintage.
Christmas Village. I also add to my collection of snowy ceramic houses and buildings whenever I find them at the thrift store…seriously, you can find these things there for pennies on the dollar. My kids call it “Christmas Village” and love to play with it. (Oh, the cute!) Best part? If one of my boys breaks one, Mama can be understanding without inwardly wincing at the cost.
Fine art from the “Early Preschool’ period. To know me is to know I dabble in fine art collecting. Like one-of-a-kind clay sculptures crafted from wee hands and the high demand macaroni photo frames. During the holidays I like to check my climate-controlled vault and haul out items like hand-print wreaths and construction paper garland. I do my best to add at least five pieces to my collection every year. I take pictures after Christmas and toss them 90% of the paper ones. Yep, thrown away, but the pictures last forever.
Ugly Cookies. We love them. I know, big surprise. I make them even more delish by baking them with my boys. “Baking.” I get the premade cookies, cut them up, then let the boys decorate to their hearts content. They may not look fancy…but guess what? Who cares! They were fun to make and taste great. No stress, happy memories! And yes, we also make ugly gingerbread houses, but it may scare you to show a picture!
Stocking with care. Speaking of fine art, my kids label their own stockings each year. They claim which will be theirs, then grab a scrap of paper, write their name on it, and attach it to this year’s stocking. The photos each year watching their handwriting progress? Well, that’s a tradition that tugs at a Mom’s heartstrings.
Who needs presents? Some people pile those Christmas presents under the tree as soon as they are wrapped. Not me. I like to decorate underneath the tree with toys and holiday decorations. It helps emphasize the meaning of the season while de-emphasizing the “getting presents” bit.
Untalented and proud of it. We always like to do an “Un-talent” show as well. While my boys are all FULL of talent (and I’ll tell you all about each and every one of them if you like, hee) we like to do these no-pressure shows. The boys take the stage and then do whatever strikes them in the moment. Maybe sing, maybe do a comedy routine, maybe mug for the camera. Whatever you want, son. It’s all awesome.
Movies and snuggle time. Thanks to movies streaming from Xbox 360 with Netflix, finding something we all want to watch is never an issue. Grab some popcorn, dim the lights, and experience the magic of whatever world we find ourselves in. Few things are better than everyone hanging out together like this, feet fighting for the ottoman non-withstanding. Parenting tip- It is so worth it to stream movies in like this and bypass all the commercials aimed at your kids on regular TV. I can’t recommend streaming TV and movies through the Xbox 360 high enough!
But the best tradition of all? Everyone should do this with your family. I promise. And it doesn’t matter if your kids are older; that friend I mentioned above? She started to incorporate it with her kids when her oldest was in junior high. They all love it. Just pick a book special to your family or to the holiday, and read it out loud to your kids on Christmas Eve. The same book, every year. Take a photo or two, but mostly just settle into the moment and enjoy it. These moments only come along once a year, you know.