Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Decor and Traditions

I love Christmas. I love the lights, the music, the shopping, the baking, the present wrapping, the ornaments, the decorations, the traditions - I love it all. I especially love the real reason for Christmas.

We put up our tree last night. It was...an interesting kind of fun. Try decorating a tree with the "help" of a 3 year old and an almost 11 month old pulling on everything.

Unfortunately, the angel on top no longer lights up. Bummer. She's a bit heavy for our tree, though. I think it's time to get something that fits better. My vote is for a star. I'm a traditionalist when it comes to tree toppers.

But it's up and it looks awesome:

Christmas tree

We've already had one ornament casualty.

Now the trick is keeping it down to the one.

My current "How to Keep the Baby Out of the Christmas Tree" setup:

How to Keep Your Baby Out of the Christmas Tree

Unfortunately, it has the side effect of "The 3 Year Old Can Now Reach the Top of the Tree." Which I think is how that ornament got broken in the first place...

What I really need is one of these:

play yard gate thing

I just added it to my Amazon wish list. I'm not really willing to shell out that kind of money for it right now. Maybe if we had more money. I should check out Craigslist, freecycle, and the like.

Or some wealthy benefactor could always buy it for me ;) *coughcoughparentscoughcough*

Just kidding.

Sort of...

Aaaanyway. I digress. We got some other decorations up now. I need to track down my pretty JOY letters I made 2 years ago. They're around somewhere...

Other decor:


I really want a Christmas village. I have such fond memories of putting one up every year. I've always loved that. I'm probably getting the Dollar Tree one for our anniversary :D

And the Nativity:


Emma keeps getting into it and running off with Baby Jesus.

Playing with the Nativity

Aaah, the fun of kids + Christmas decor. We're getting excited! I just love this time of year! It'll be SO fun to see the kids open their presents and get all excited.

I just wish it wasn't so insanely cold. I want to move back home, where it doesn't snow very often. And when it does, everyone freaks out and stays home. Now that's what I'm talking about. None of this 5-month winter garbage.

I'm looking forward to all the Christmas traditions. Some are from our families of origin, others we've adopted on our own.

Our traditions include a super yummy breakfast Christmas morning: cream cheese and chocolate chips rolled up into crescent rolls. Yum. And don't forget the holiday baking. Mmmm. Cookies, fudge, peppermint bark...

We also do the opening of one present - Christmas PJs - on Christmas Eve. My family always opened all the presents on Christmas Eve. I don't really know why. But we did. I don't want to do it that way, though. It kinda makes Christmas Day anti-climatic. John's family does the more traditional opening of gifts on Christmas. So, to sort of combine those, we adopted the one present PJ thing. At least for the kids. John and I don't really get enough to make opening one gift in advance worth it. But our gifts tend to be more pricey, like the 1 TB external hard drive I got last year.

We plan to take the kids to see Santa for the first time. Officially, that is. My dad looks a lot like him...;) I'm so signing my death warrant for that one. Uh...I've been good this year? :D Love you, Dad!

On the Santa note, both of us grew up in families where we always knew Santa wasn't real. We plan to teach our kids that Santa is just a fun thing for Christmas, but that gifts really come from people who love us, like parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. They'll know he's not "real," but they'll still get to enjoy the magic of Santa Claus. If that makes sense. That's how John's family did it, and we both really like that. In my family, we just knew it was fake and that's it. I feel we kind of missed out on the fun part of it in some ways. But I want my children to know it isn't real so that they don't ever feel like we lied to them about it. Because if we lied to them about Santa, how would they know we're telling the truth about more important things like the Savior?

On Christmas morning, we like to read the scriptural account of His birth. We usually do this while the chocolaty goodness bakes. Then we eat and open presents. We talk a lot about the real reason for Christmas all throughout the Christmas season. I don't want our family to get too caught up in the commercial - albeit fun - aspects that we forget about the true meaning of Christmas.

I also like to read George MacDonald's The Gifts of the Child Christ on Christmas Day, but I think that's one I'll have to read on my own or just with John. I doubt the kids have the attention span for that length of non-movie story.

Oh, and Christmas movies. Can't forget the watching of cute Christmas movies.

And of course, we do stockings. We put candy and a few small toys in them.

I grew up doing the chocolate advent calendars. You know, the ones you buy at the store. John's family had a homemade one. We haven't done anything like that with our own little family yet, but I'd like to. I'm not sure what we'll do yet. I saw some at the dollar store; maybe I'll pick some up next time I'm there (which should be this week, since I ran out of birthday wrapping paper and John's birthday is on Sunday).

We also like to decorate gingerbread houses. So fun. Sometimes we use a kit, sometimes we do the home-baked approach, and sometimes we build them out of graham crackers. However we do it, it's always lots of fun!

Another tradition is looking at Christmas lights. I always LOVED doing this as a child! We went several times each year because Lisa and I loved it so much. We even had a favorite neighborhood (one particular house where they went all out, really) and everything. We didn't end up going last year. Probably because I was too preoccupied with trying to go into labor.

Someday I'd love to have a family tradition of going Christmas caroling, but it isn't very practical at this time for us. The kids are still so small and it's SOOO cold outside. But Emma already knows some Christmas songs and sings them all day long. She'd love it, but I think this is one tradition that will have to wait until our family grows, our kids get older, and we move out of the arctic.

Which reminds me. One of the songs Emma sings is, "We Wish You A Merry Christmas." She's got the chorus pretty much perfect - except for the end. Instead of "and a Happy New Year" she always sings, "and a Happy New You." SOOO cute! And in a way, it's very applicable, since most people make some sort of self-changing resolution at that time of year. I love it. I know I'll miss her singing it this way as she gets older.

I think I've covered all of our traditions, including the ones we want to add. I may have missed something. I probably did; I always do.

I'm always looking for more fun things for our family to do together. What are YOUR Christmas traditions?

Oh, and I made a new holiday themed desktop, using geniaBeana's Merry and Bright:

Merry and Bright desktop

Yeah, so I pretty much stole my blog header for it. But I love it! I get to see it all month long :D

1 comment:

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