Fun and Meaningful Christmas Traditions

15 Oct

Currently at my house I am hearing the violent sounds of thunder and lightning outside my window. It’s days like this that I want to cozy up in my pajamas next to the fireplace and eat a warm bowl of soup. Since we don’t have the luxury of a fireplace at my house, and pajamas isn’t an option today, I’ll write about Christmas instead. How in the world did I jump from thunderstorms to Christmas? Must have been the word fireplace! 🙂

Anyway, I’m in love with Christmas and although I haven’t checked to make sure, I think Christmas loves me back. Growing up in a low-income single-parent home didn’t offer lavish or expensive gifts but maybe that’s why I love it so much! I usually went into Christmas with low expectations as a kid but it always proved its magic. Christmas to me is about family, it’s about fun traditions, and its about celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Right now I want to talk about traditions because they are one of my favorite aspect of Christmas!

CHRISTMAS STALKER: In our family every year we draw names and whoever has our name is called our “Christmas Stalker” meaning you should “stalk” the family member you have to find out what gift would be most meaningful for them to receive. Another reason we were called “stalkers” is because our gift was to fit in a stocking….large or small…bought or made. We had themes every year; sometimes the gift had to be hand-made, sometimes it had to be from the classifieds or a yard sale, sometimes it had to be something we already had, and sometimes it was purchased but had a spending limit.

CHILDREN’S CHRISTMAS TREE: A few years back I babysat for someone who had a neat Christmas tradition and I have decided to carry it on in my own little family. They had a separate “mini” tree for the kids that they were welcome to decorate and re-decorate over and over. Underneath the tree were Christmas books all wrapped up. Each night the children got to pick a present to open and they read that book as a family that night. This tradition kept the kids from messing with the decorations on the larger tree because they had their own, and it also kept them from getting into the presents under the big tree because they got to open one everyday from their own tree anyway. I saw on Pinterest the other day a kid’s tree using felt. I prefer an actual tree but you might find this way fun as well.

CHRISTMAS PAJAMAS: I know of many families that do this one and have decided to do it myself. On Christmas eve, there is a knock at the door and Santa’s elves secretly leave new Christmas pajamas for everyone. This always makes for fun pictures.

SANTA’S FOOTPRINTS: Growing up I loved to go over to my best friend’s house on Christmas morning to see Santa’s “footprints”. A cookie sheet with flour was left at the fireplace so that in the morning the kids could run to the fireplace and see that Santa really did come because his “boot prints” were imprinted in the flour. Very cute tradition.

SLEEP OVER: Another fun tradition is to have all of the kids have a sleepover in one room and know that they can stay up as late as they want together watching Christmas movies and playing games, but they have to stay in the room (usually the furthest room from the Christmas tree so they don’t over hear “Santa”). This also keeps them up late and makes them tire, hopefully keeping them from waking up mom and dad at 4 AM.

CHINESE: I have a friend whose family goes out for Chinese in their Christmas pajamas every Christmas Eve. Traditions like this are fun because the kids look forward to it every year and the pictures are priceless. This wouldn’t have to be Chinese, you could adapt it to your own family’s preference.

SANTA vs. PARENTS: I really, really like the idea of marking most of your children’s gifts from mom and dad, and having one special gift be the gift that Santa brings. This way children don’t feel entitled to a bunch of toys from a magical being and they learn the principle of gratitude. The magic isn’t taken away because Santa still comes, but they know to ask for one special item they would like from Santa, and the rest comes from mom and dad if they are able to do so. This way you don’t have to always wrap presents in such secrecy either. It doesn’t ruin “Santa” if kids walk in on you wrapping presents because they know that they get gifts from you as well.

REINDEER NAMES: This is a fun way of tagging Christmas gifts. Rather than put the child’s name on each present, assign each child a reindeer name. This keeps the children from running to the tree and pulling out all the presents with their name on it because until present opening starts, no one knows who’s nickname is “Dasher” or who is “Prancer.”

SERVICE: Although it sometimes happened a few days before Christmas, my mom would usually try to arrange a service for us to accomplish on Christmas morning to help us understand the true meaning of Christmas. Sometimes this was volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting an old folks home, playing “secret santa” to another family, or singing to a group of kids with special needs. These were always tender and special moments that made my Christmas memorable.

GIFT FOR JESUS: We did this one several different years. We would write up a gift that we were going to give to the Savior over the next year and put it inside of an ornament. The next year we would read what we wrote and hopefully smile that we accomplished our goal.

NATIVITY: My mother always did some type of Christmas Eve “devotional”, and part of it usually consisted of us dressing up and acting out the story of Christ’s birth from the book of Luke. Now that a lot of us are older, the grandchildren now act out the story.

I enjoy falling in love with new traditions and making them my own because family traditions are extremely important for family unity. Traditions contribute to healthy family life because they give children a sense of belonging–that they are part of a group rather than a solitary individual.

What are some of your family’s favorite traditions?

Also…..if you have children, help other parent’s out this upcoming holiday season by sharing what toys have been the biggest hit over the years. Share your thoughts on my post here

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One Response to “Fun and Meaningful Christmas Traditions”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Letters To Santa « Mother's Niche - November 5, 2012

    […] recent post on Fun Christmas Traditions got me in the mood to make a Santa letter outline.  Growing up, my mom always had us make a […]

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