Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fun Christmas Traditions

Christmas is LITERALLY right around the corner, and since before Amelia was born, I have been thinking long and hard about traditions to start with our little family. I love Christmas. It is my favorite time of year, and I am so excited to have a baby to share it with this year! 

Although I cannot do most of these this year, I look forward to them in the future, and I hope Amelia (and all other children we have) really appreciate them and love them as much as I know I will! 

I am sure most of these people already know about, but in thinking up ones for us to start, I really wanted to:
A. Focus on the true meaning of Christmas as much as I could, without taking away too much of the child-friendly (or the stuff that is "just for fun") out of it. 
B. Think of unique, new ideas that not EVERY family does. I really want to do different things with our kids. I think that makes it more special! 

Here is what I have come up with. Maybe you will want to use some for your family! 



1. CHRISTMAS EVE BOX. 
So many families these days do pajamas on Christmas eve. I like this idea, however I wanted something a bit more. This year, and from now on, we are going to do Christmas eve boxes. We are doing pajamas and a book for Amelia this year, but this will change a little as she gets older. Some ideas (depending on the age of your child, and their interests) pajamas, movie, book, a special Christmas treat to have with the movie, hot chocolate, a Christmas craft to make together, cookie mix, stuff to decorate gingerbread houses, and a kit to make reindeer food. 

The possibilities are endless, and I am excited to do some fun new things with it each year as Millie gets older! 

2. HOMEMADE ORNAMENTS.
This one is pretty broad as well. There are a lot of crafts you make into ornaments, and with salt dough. I like that about this one. I think it will be so amazing to look back at each one that your kids make each year. 
Plus, I just think art time with kids is so important. It is a great time for them to express creatively, learn, and spend time with you! 

Even with small babies, like I have, you can do hand/foot prints. You can leave it at that, or make them into reindeer or a Santa!


3. GINGERBREAD.
Make homemade gingerbread houses, people, villages, whatever! You can even just buy the kits and make those. Either way, I love doing this. I did this each year with children at my preschool, and the kids I have nannied. Everyone always had a great time with this yummy activity.

To make it even easier, you can use graham crackers and a milk carton to make a "gingerbread" house! There are a ton of fun, cute ideas on Pinterest as well!


4. FESTIVAL OF TREES.
I have been involved in this great Utah tradition for a few years, and I love it so much. I cannot wait for Amelia to participate with me each year. Last year, while I was pregnant with her, we did a small tree for our angel baby. It was so amazing.

Next year, we intend to do a gingerbread house. I will be letting Amelia choose the theme!



5. RIDE THE NORTH POLE EXPRESS. 
Another awesome thing in Utah at Christmas time! I have personally never been (yet!) but I know a ton of people who take their kids every year. They love it. The only thing is tickets sell out really fast, so you will have to get them early! 
I am excited for this in years to come, but with a baby it is not ideal. She will appreciate it in the next few years! 
The Polar Express is my favorite Christmas movie of all time!

6. DELIVER CHRISTMAS TREATS. 
To family, friends, neighbors, or your local church! In past years I have baked banana and zucchini bread, but this year we are thinking homemade salted caramel with apples! 
If you have a favorite recipe, it is a great time to share your special treats. It is also the perfect gift! Who doesn't love homemade goodies at Christmas? Seriously. 
Sometimes it's hard not to eat it all before delivering it! 



7. KINDNESS ELVES.
Many of you do "Elf on a Shelf" but I liked this idea I read about so much more! Basically you have little elves that suggest acts of service for you and your child(ren) to do that day or week. You can do it how often you want, and there are a TON of great ideas to do!
Your kindness elves can suggest:

  • donate some old toys
  • visit an elderly friend or neighbor
  • bring someone an anonymous treat
  • make holiday cards for soldiers 
  • donate old coats/hats/gloves to those less fortunate

Any act of service/volunteering is great! I really fell in love with this idea, and cant wait to start it in our house!

8. DIY SNOW GLOBES.
I made these last year, and thought they would be a great craft for older kids, and teenagers! I know that it can be difficult sometimes to get your older children or teenagers to do something like this with the family, but they will love this craft! I love my homemade snow globes!! Find out how to make theme in this post here!

9. SALT DOUGH ORNAMENTS.
Easy to make, and endless possibilities! Who doesn't love these DIY ornaments?! I even will share the super easy recipe with you here!!!

10. JESUS' BIRTHDAY CAKE.
Bringing the true meaning of Christmas to life! I love this idea so much! You can bake a cake beforehand, or make one on Christmas day. Decorate, and enjoy it with your family! You could even sing Jesus happy birthday!

11. CANDY CANE HUNT.
A treasure hunt for candy canes! I would even do the mini ones, or mix it up will all kinds! You can make this as hard, easy, long, or short as you want.

12. NEW YEARS TIME CAPSULE.
Get a box, fill it with a few things from the year,  and write down your child's favorite things, a special memory, etc. place in the box, wrap, and store. On Christmas the following year, you can have you child open the time capsule! This is especially fun for older children who can really understand the concept.

13. PLAY A NEW BOARD GAME.
I think that a board game is a great item to place in a Christmas Eve box! To tie two traditions together, you could spend some time Christmas Eve connecting as a family over a fun new game everyone will enjoy!

What's a unique and fun tradition that your family does?
Share with me!

Thanks for reading!

Happy Holidays,
Chelsea

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