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Our Favorite Family Christmas Traditions

*this is a repost from the archives.  Enjoy!


The number of traditions our family does seems to be growing.  I guess I’m a sucker for traditions! 

Christmas Lights In P. J.’s

We have to be sneaky for this one.  We change the clocks and make sure we get our girls into bed by “8:00” (really 7:00).  After prayers and kisses, we wait a few minutes, then kidnap them from their beds, slip on their robes and slippers, wrap them in a blanket and carry them to the heated car.  They just love it, we fool them every time!!:)  They know there will be bags of treats and merry Christmas music waiting for them in the car.  We hit our favorite, “most lit” neighborhoods.  After an hour and a half of Christmas light bliss, we head home.   It never fails, on the ride home they are full of sugar, tired, grumpy, and have had enough of each other and of Christmas lights!

New Christmas Music
Every year we get a new CD.  This year I downloaded the Surfjan Steven’s Christmas album from itunes.  I love me a banjo!

Christmas Story Book
It’s fun to see our collection growing, we get a new one every year.  “The Nativity” is by far the most unique, but their favorite is “If This Were A Fairy Tale”

Popcorn Tin & Sparkling Grape Juice
We eat popcorn from the tin and drink the juice in fancy glasses while we put up the Christmas tree.  My girls fight for the cheese popcorn, Todd and I are usually stuck with the butter and caramel popcorn.  I love using the tins to store Christmas lights and decorations, we have about 10 of them and they stack nicely.

My cousin, Keeli, has a cookie exchange every year.  At least 8 yrs ago, she had us bring over 15 dozen cookies!  That was the first time I made Andes Mint Cookies, and have been making them every year, ever since!  Click here for the recipe.

This tradition is one Todd started when we were dating.  He suggested we buy an ornament every year to remind us of that particular year.  At the time, he lived in Chicago and I lived in Nebraska, so when we found an ornament with a little mouse sitting on a compass with the words “Across The Miles,” we knew it was the one.  It was so much fun shopping together, we found a tiny little tree for my apartment and it had one little ornament on it.  Looking at our memory tree today, it is amazing how many ornaments we now have!  The girls love choosing their own ornament and I love being reminded of what each girl was “into” that year.  *Hint..if you go 2 days after Christmas, they are all 50% off!

Santa Pic

We eat at the mall food court and then go visit Santa for a picture.  My girls have never believed in Santa, but they (at least the younger two) like pretending that he exists.  I love comparing the pictures from year to year.  This year, Santa was in some CRAZY pajama’s.  I’m not sure where his suit was, maybe he couldn’t afford it due to the economy..

Stockings and Santa gifts
My girls wake up on Christmas morning to 3 piles of presents with a full stocking in front of each pile.  They find their pile, plop down by it, and pretty much don’t move until we are done opening all the presents. (well, maybe to get a cinnamon roll and juice.)  The presents all say “from Santa,” but as they get older they make sure to let me know I’m not fooling them.  My parents always did it this way with us so I guess that is why I do it, too!

Sugar Cookies
We make them every year– it used to be gingerbread houses, but I like simple, so now we are sticking to sugar cookies.  This year it was so easy!  They rolled, cut, frosted, and sprinkled all by themselves.  I just organized it all and had oven duty.  They are getting so big!

The Nativity Movie
This is a new tradition.  We started it last year.  My girls REALLY got into it this year and loved every minute of it.  It was so great!  We had to keep pausing the movie to talk about what was going on, answer their questions, and explain details to them. (there are some intense scenes that were important to talk through)  I really feel like they learned a lot of details that can get missed in our story books.  When it ended, my middle girl said “Mom, I just loved that.  It is my favorite movie.

We have a bunch of extended family traditions, but I thought I’d stick to what my own little family does together.  Christmas is such a wonderful time to spend time together and teach our girls what all this celebrating is REALLY about…the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

  • Jenn December 5, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    I grew up with my Christmas morning being just like yours, including the cinnamon rolls. This year my family is coming to my home, and I can’t wait to recreate it just like my parents did so my husband can experience it too.

  • Jessica @ This Blessed Life December 4, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    What a great list! I love the idea of switching the clocks on them one night….I shared it with my husband and he laughed, too.

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