Tuesday, December 11, 2012

True Traditions Tuesday

Last year, I did this type of post during December instead of Truthful Tuesday.  I really enjoyed it.  Now I have some new followers, I'm going to do the same thing this year.  I'm just going to share some of the traditions we have in our house for Christmas.

Since the the last week of November, we've watched a Christmas movie almost every night.  This is a new tradition that has been started by Jelly.  Already this year, we've watched The Grinch (twice), Polar Express (twice), Elf (twice), Arthur Christmas (twice), A Christmas Story (twice), A Christmas Carol, Santa Paws, and The Santa Claus 1 & 2.

Our Christmas tree is put up the night of Thanksgiving, and is decorated with homemade ornaments that the kids have been making since they were in preschool.  You might see a couple of store bought ornaments and balls that I've accumulated over the years as gifts or picked up along the way, but the majority of the ornaments are all handmade.  I have hand prints, foam cut-outs, cotton ball stockings, beaded candy canes, and reindeer.  All have been carefully preserved each year.  And the tradition continues this year as Jelly brings home ornaments from school and church to continue decorating with.

There are no gifts under the tree until Santa brings them on Christmas Eve, with the exception of the gifts that have been bought for family members.  I don't do the empty box thing, or the thing where I buy gifts and then Santa brings some to add.  Nope, the Big Guy brings all the presents on Christmas Eve so that the kids have absolutely no idea how much stuff is waiting for them on Christmas morning.  And this year, because of the addition of our cats to our family, there will be no gifts going under the tree AT ALL until Christmas Eve.  And, I'll probably have to stand guard Christmas Eve night on the couch - so that the gifts remained unopened for the kids come Christmas morning.

We have three Christmas celebrations each year.  Christmas Eve at P-Momma's, Christmas morning at our house, and Christmas day at my parent's.  Three times the celebration, three times the presents, three times the fun.  

Christmas Eve used to be the longest day of the year for me, but now that Christmas Eve is spent taking a trip to Steve's parents and ending up at P-Momma's, it's a fast day...and I LOVE IT!  We eat, exchange gifts, laugh, and have a great time while the kids burn some serious energy so that they'll go right to sleep that night.  When we do finally make it home, it's a mad dash to make cookies for Santa.  Apart from the gift opening, this is by far one of my most favorite traditions. 

Santa always gets handmade cookies and store bought eggnog left for him.  Also, Jelly has insisted the past couple of years that we leave some form of oatmeal mix for the reindeer.  Christmas Eve ends with watching Elf or A Christmas Story, putting out the cookies, hanging up stockings, and me tucking each child in to bed.  Last year, I also read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas to Jelly - and I'm hoping she'll want me to do that again this year.  

The kids are not allowed out of their rooms on Christmas morning until they have been summoned by me.  A strict rule/tradition that's adhered to very seriously in our house.  The kids can have at whatever they want from their stocking while they are waiting - but there will be no sneaking a peek at the tree until I've come out and called for them.  Thankfully for them, I'm usually the first one up each year - so they never have to wait very long.

Breakfast on Christmas morning consists of chocolate and cookies.  A tradition that has been in my family for as long as I've been alive - and I couldn't wait to pass on to my own children.  It's the one and only day of the year that the kids can wake up as early as they want and start eating the treats that Santa has left them in their stocking.  Then, once the gift opening has started, a platter of cookies is set out for everyone to enjoy while gifts are being opened.  Yes, it may explain why my rear continues to get bigger each year - but it's a tradition I'll never give up.

Christmas gifts are opened up one at a time, one person at a time.  I didn't spend weeks, months even, preparing for that special morning for it to be over in the blink of an eye.  I make the process last as long as possible.  Each person gets a gift - in turn - and then everyone sits and watches as that person opens the gift.  Pictures are then taken.  Rinse, repeat.  Rather than gift opening taking all of 20 minutes, I make it last out to at least an hour...usually longer.  The kids hate love it.

And there you have it.  Some of the traditions that are held strong in my house this time of year.  I can't believe that in exactly two weeks, at this very minute, I'll be making preparations for the big event to start.  No doubt, I'll already be up - at 6am - with a cup of coffee in hand waiting for the kids to start waking up.

I can't wait!


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