Tuesday, December 13, 2011

True Traditions Tuesday...The Traditions of Christmas Present

Ahhhhh!  There's nothing I love more than getting to talk about Christmas Traditions.  The traditions are what make the holiday a holiday.  And, in my opinion, hearing about Christmas traditions is WAY more fun than listening to me drone on about my confessions.  I've been sick for 5 days - how much fun would that be?  Nope.  Instead, I decided to fill the last few Tuesdays before Christmas with the traditions of my Christmases past (last week), the Christmases of today (today), and the Christmases of the future (next week).  You know.  Just like the Christmas Carol.  Great book and movie(s)!!

So, today, you take a step into my house around this time of year for a full explanation of the traditions that take place each year in my house at Christmas time...

The Advent Calendars:  Every year for as long as I can remember, I've bought Advent calendars for my kids the last weekend of November.  They love having something to use to help them countdown the days until Santa arrives, and get a piece of chocolate every day.  It's become Jelly's tradition that she open her calendar at 5am every morning.  She asks me to count how many days have been opened.  She then opens the next one, and we both count how many days are left.  It was a struggle, at first, to get Jelly to understand that she can only open one each day - but once she realized that it's the amount of days until Santa arrives, she enjoys the whole thing a lot more.

Buying gifts for family members:  This has become one of the most favorite things for the kids to do before Christmas.  About a week before Christmas, I load the kids up and we go shopping for gifts for family members.  They have to buy the gifts for their Grandmas, Grandpa, Grandad, their aunt, uncle, and a couple of nieces and nephews.  They pick out the gifts.  They decide what to get.  I just stand there with money in hand waiting to find out what treasures they have for me to buy.  Once the gifts are bought, it's up to Peanut and Butter - with some supervision from Jelly - for the kids to wrap the gifts.  Those gifts are then placed under the tree and are the only gifts placed under the tree until Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve Day:  Christmas Eve has become a day where I do what I can to wear the socks off the kids.  We start out by having Christmas at my pseudo Mother-in-laws house.  We go over there, have lunch, unwrap gifts, and then the kids all play while Hubby and I catch up with PMIL.   Then, once we leave there, it's off to my in-laws for a quick visit so the kids can give their gifts to Hubby's parents. 

Christmas Eve Cookie Making:  Once we make our way home from all the Christmas festivities at our in-laws, there's still a lot of fun to be had in my house.  The first thing on the agenda is baking cookies for Santa.  All three kids and I gather around the cookie dough and make different types of cookies for them to leave for Santa.  They get to use cookie cutters, or they can choose to make their own creation....totally up to them.  They decorate their cookies with icing and/or sprinkles.  The extra fun comes from getting to try the cookies once they're cooked - cause you just can't leave bad tasting cookies for Santa!

Christmas Eve Movie & Hot Chocolate:  Once all of the cookies are out of the oven and on to the cooling rack, it's time to start getting the kids to relax ready for bed.  We do that by curling up on the couch with some hot chocolate and a Christmas movie.  The kids pick which movie they want to watch, and then we watch it - together.  No computers allowed.  No cell phones.  Just the kids and I (and sometimes Hubby) enjoying each others company while watching one of our favorite Christmas movies.

Christmas Eve Bedtime:  Getting the kids to bed on Christmas Eve is quite the ordeal.  It has become quite the well-oiled ritual.  The kids get a plate of cookies and a glass of egg nog ready for Santa and then leave it on the entertainment center.  Then, the kids decide where they're going to put their stockings.  The stockings are hung in their bedrooms.  The reason for that is because the kids are not allowed to leave their rooms in the morning until I come and get them, so they are allowed to open up their stockings in their rooms when they wake up.  It keeps them occupied.  I then sit and wait for them to fall in to slumberland...which takes a while.  I guarantee I'll have to escort Jelly back to bed at least a couple of times before she finally goes to sleep.

Santa Arrives:  Once the kids are finally asleep, "Santa" unloads the loot into the kids' stockings, and then gets all of the gifts under the tree.  It requires the stealth of a mouse.  My kids can sleep through a tornado - literally - but try to get them not to wake up on Christmas Eve night while trying to fill stockings that are feet away from them?  Hardest. Task. Ever!  The whole time it's being done, my heart is racing.  I seriously feel like I'm robbing a bank or something, and one drip of sweat will trip the alarm that will get the whole house waking up.  Even though I've never actually had to deal with the kids waking up (knock on wood) - unless you count Peanut's sighting of Santa last year - I'm still a bundle of nerves the whole time....and so glad once it's all over with.  I, then, take my tired behind to bed....and let visions of Sugar Plums dance in my head.

Christmas Morning:  For the past few years, I've been the first one awake on Christmas morning.  I don't think that's going to be the case this year.  Jelly has been waking up at 5am to open her advent calendar...can you imagine what it's going to be like Christmas morning?  Anywho, regardless of who wakes up first - the kids can't come out of their rooms until I say so.  I get up, make a pot of coffee, and Hubby gets the camera ready while I go visit the kids to see what Santa left them in their stocking.  Once the coffee is made, and I have a cup....it's time to get the fun started.

Opening Presents:  Once I give the OK for the kids to come out of their room, Hubby is ready to catch the expression on their faces once they get the first glimpse of the amount of gifts under the tree.  The kids then find a spot on the floor, and the gift giving starts.  Someone gets the job of handing out gifts - usually me - and each kid gets a gift one at a time.  The gift is opened, every one oohhs and ahhhs over it, and then it's on the next person.  All of the kids get the same number of gifts each year, so this one at a time thing works out perfectly.  Mommy and Daddy also get to open a gift here and there.  I try to do everything in my power to make the whole event drag on - because, well, it's their most favorite time of Christmas...and I want them to treasure it.

Christmas Morning Breakfast:  Breakfast on Christmas morning takes place after the gift unwrapping has finished.  The kids are allowed to eat whatever they want: Cookies, chocolate, candy...whatever.  I always buy a few packages of cookies and I eat some with my coffee.  Cookies, not entire packages.  The kids usually have a piece of candy or two but then get preoccupied with getting their toys opened up...and they find trying out their toys to be way more important than getting to eat candy for breakfast. 

Off To Grandmother's House We Go:  Around noon on Christmas day, we load up the car and head to my mom's.  Once there, we open up more gifts.  Around 3pm, we have a huge Christmas dinner - just like my parents always made (see last week's traditions for that one).  The rest of the day is spent visiting, playing, and having a great time.  That evening, we play some games, have a few drinks, and just continue having a great time.

Boxing Day:  We spend the night at my mom's Christmas night and then enjoy Boxing Day festivities with my parents the next day.  The whole day is doing nothing but eating, drinking, and playing with new toys.  Again, you can see last week's traditions for a full run down on Boxing Day.

So, that's how Christmas is celebrated in my house.  If you read last week's installment, you'll probably notice the similarities.  I've tried to do what I can to keep the Christmases of my past in full swing now that I have kids of my own.  It's my hope that my kids will do the same when they are older.  But you'll hear more about that next week, when I give a full description of my ideal traditions of Christmases yet to come.  This is so exciting!! I love sharing this stuff with you all.  Despite still feeling a little under the weather, writing stuff like this gets me all fuzzy inside and makes me feel so much better.  

Today is the first day of the Twelve Days of Christmas countdown!  Are you excited as I am?  Are ya?  Are ya?  

Well, everyone have a WONDERFUL Tuesday.  

Till next time. ;)
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  1. I AM excited about Christmas this year. We don't have many traditions as the family continues to change..but Christmas eve will once again be spent at my sister's house and THAT is always fun..

    And we get our baby granddaughter for Christmas morning..can't ask for better than that..

    Your holiday sounds PERFECT!!

  2. I freaking love the traditions...I need to start making more in my family.


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