Our Favorite Christmas Traditions
It’s December 1st, and that means it’s time to start some of our favorite Christmas traditions in our family! We’ve got a list of things we love to do to celebrate the season – check them out and get some new ideas for your family!
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Why Are Christmas Traditions Important to Me?
I love to have Christmas traditions with my family, because I love the memories they create. Sure, we’d create memories without any specific traditions, but I remember a few favorite Christmas traditions from my own childhood and I loved them. I hope my son will treasure and remember some of the traditions we have and are starting as he gets older.
Here are my favorite Christmas traditions to share with my son this year:
Acts of Kindness
To me, Christmas should be celebrated with an air of thankfulness and a desire to share joy with other people as well. And when we are celebrating our blessings, I want to bless others as well. Camden is really old enough to grasp the whole concept, but it’s never too young to start. Every year, we are doing something with him that helps him discover the joy and meaning behind Christmas. Some of my favorites are Operation Christmas Child or donating toys locally. I also like the idea of a 12 Days of Kindness Christmas Countdown as Camden gets a little older and can understand. Whatever we choose to do each year, kindness and giving is central.
Decorating the Christmas Tree Tradition
This has always been a family affair for me. I’m happy to put up the indoor decorations myself and to let my husband put up the outdoor ones. But decorating the Christmas tree has always been something that we do together. We just put ornaments on our tree today – I bought a set of shatterproof ones from Hobby Lobby – and Camden had a good time putting a number of colored balls on the tree. I think it’s important for the whole family to decorate the tree together, because there are such great memories that surface when you pull out each ornament.
P.S. Our gorgeous pre-lit tree is from King of Christmas and you can get 10% off with code BISUITSANDGRADING !
Advent Calendar/12 Days of Booksmas Christmas Traditions
I think Advent calendars are such fun Christmas traditions. When I was a kid, I sold German chocolate Christmas Advent calendars for my German class, and I loved those things. You can still buy them at Aldi (made with real German chocolate), but there are so many different types of Advent calendars now. I had a hard time choosing what Advent calendar I wanted to use with Camden this year (I even wrote a roundup of toddler Advent calendars for you all!), and I eventually bought the Disney book advent calendar. We decided the books are a little more than Camden is willing to sit through this year, so we’re saving it for next year and doing a 12 Days of Booksmas countdown. We’re wrapping up 12 new books, and each day we’ll open a new one to read together.
Need ideas for Christmas board books to wrap up for a Christmas book countdown tradition?
Baking and Decorating Cookies
I used to bake and decorate cookies with my mom every year, and now my son and I are going to do it. Last year I made them on my own because my 10 month old son was not interested. This year, though, he loves to help me cook, so he’s going to help make the dough, cut out shapes and put on the sprinkles and decorations. I’m so excited to share this tradition with him; I even got him some Melissa and Doug baking utensils for him! It’s going to be so much (very messy) fun.
A Visit With Santa
We added this to our Christmas traditions last year. Camden was just over 10 months, so we figured it was worth a try. It was a disaster; he hated Santa and didn’t want to be anywhere near him. It made for a photo with a memory though! This year, when we went to see Santa, we approached it differently. Andrew stood with Camden while I took photos. He asked Camden to give Santa a high-five and a fist bump, and then Camden shook Santa’s hand. And we asked him if he wanted to sit on Santa’s lap. He said no, and we said that was totally fine. Because, really, it doesn’t make sense to force a child to sit on some stranger’s lap. So, I’m happy with how the whole encounter went. And Camden thinks Santa is the coolest guy ever right now! Ha.
Visiting the Christmas Lights
My husband knows that I am obsessed with Christmas lights. I love to see them everywhere we drive, and I cannot get enough of them. We have a few places we love to go to see the lights locally: a neighborhood that goes all out and makes for a great walk, a whole park set-up in the middle of town, and a fabulous Griswald house. And this year, we’re also headed to the St. Louis Botanical Garden to see the Christmas lights there as well. Camden loves lights as much as I do! And when we pair a light walk with some hot cocoa, it’s one of my favorite Christmas traditions!
Elf on the Shelf
Yep, we’re jumping on this ship. My mom bought us the Elf on the Shelf a couple of years ago – when I was pregnant, actually – and Andrew and I decided this would be a good year to do an easy introduction of the whole Elf-thing to Camden. As in, if the Elf doesn’t move every day and never does anything elaborate or silly, that’s okay. Camden won’t care;he’ll just be interested in looking at the Elf.
Now, rest assured, we are not getting crazy with the whole Elf taking over our whole Christmas. There will be no special outfits, no pets and no coming early (pretty sure our Elf doesn’t show up until the 2 weeks before Christmas!). And the focus will not be on good vs. bad. I don’t like the idea of my child feeling like good behavior gets rewarded with toys and bad behavior gets rewarded with nothing. I think our Elf is here more to watch for acts of kindness to share with Santa. We’ll see – we’ve got time to work out the kinks!
What are your favorite Christmas traditions? What should I add to my list for next year?
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