Monday, November 27, 2017

'Tis the Season: Our Holiday Traditions as a Family

The holiday season seriously seems to fly by. Halloween, Matt's Birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas--BAM!

I'm trying to slow down and savor it as much as possible. I've worked to reduce the stress by staying ahead of everything I want to do: we start Halloween costumes in August or September, then we move on to getting our Christmas shopping started and holiday cards done. 

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone (we had a fantastic week at the beach visiting my family in Florida), we are rolling out the Christmas traditions. Here's what we do as a family:

  1. We travel out to Elgin Christmas Tree Farm (with our dog) to take a hay ride out to the fields. We jump off, grab a saw, and run around (not the person holding the saw) until we can reach consensus about which tree we want to cut down and bring home. 
  2. Next we decorate the tree with ornaments that we've collected over the years, including from every vacation. We label them with the year, so we can keep everything straight in our memories. 
  3. Then we hang up our version of an advent calendar and use it all month, which includes different ways to celebrate the season together as a family, with things like going ice-skating, writing notes of gratitude, making gingerbread houses, baking treats for the neighbors, making and delivering meals for homeless people, dancing to Christmas music, spray painting branches for decoration, etc. I simple order all the supplies we need at one time and then we are good to go all month! 
  4. We also break out our Christmas books to read each evening. 
These experiences are getting more and more fun as our children get older! I'm imagining there's a sweet spot from about 6-10 years-old where our children will optimally enjoy these things before they turn into angsty adolescents. I'm trying to enjoy it while we have it! 


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