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Sunday, December 28, 2014


Jules here-

We know we've been slacking- the holidays got the best of us both.  I had all these idyllic plans for the Christmas season and I barely wrapped my presents and I'm still getting Christmas cards out.  Enough lame excuses and on to my reflections of Christmas.
Santa visit!
As my eldest is six years old, she clearly remembers the last few Christmases, and so family traditions have now officially been established.  The younger ones need to be reminded of special holiday events, but Grace reveled in every joyous moment.  Here are a few never-miss-Christmas-traditions:
  • Gingerbread/Graham Cracker Houses- For 4 years, my friend Tanya & I have rounded our children up for some delicious decorating of candy houses.  The children LOVE it; this year we had to delay our tradition until after Christmas because of my move, but we still did a "kit" gingerbread house before Christmas. 

  • Holiday TV Specials- Rudolph, Frosty, and Charlie Brown's Christmas-- who could miss these? The key is finding the time to DVR them all (or borrow the DVD's from the library).  I personally love surprising my kids with an unexpected stay-up-late movie night! 
  • Dollar-Store Shopping Spree-  As you know, I am a big spender.  So the dollar store is a perfect location for the kids to do some shopping on their own.  They love to buy gifts for each other, their parents, and grandparents.  I ended up with a Dora hairbrush this year and a new hot-pink make-up case.  Score.  Ems also does the "wrap-with-mommy" afternoon in which she takes one child up at a time to wrap his/her presents.  The kids love the special one-on-one time and to share the secret gifts!
  • Homemade Ornaments- I used to make Ems' kids ornaments every year, but I thought they might be out-growing the tradition.  However, Ems indicated that the kids LOVED getting their special ornaments every year with their name on them.  So, I re-instated this tradition with some child-assistance.  We created these foamtastic ornaments for all of our cousins.
    We made extra for us too :)
  • Christmas Eve Pajamas- My kids LOVE pajamas and as 99% of their clothing is hand-me-downs, this is the one time of year they get something NEW.  I scour stores for discounts and purchase comfy pajamas to unwrap before bedtime on Christmas eve.  I attempt to get Christmas-theme pajamas, but the last two years I could not find any cute ones!! They don't seem to mind what they look like- they just love the fleeciness!
    2013- Penguin Pajamas

  • Wrapped Items in the Stocking-  Honestly, I thought everyone did this.  Unrolling the two yards of wrapping paper to reveal a tube of chapstick is one of my favorite childhood memories.  Only in later years did I realize that so many people suffered from the boring concept of simply emptying out your stocking loot into a pile and looking at it. UGH.  Wrapped stockings are SO much better. Side note tradition: Silly-putty is a must-have item in the stocking, as well as a new toothbrush.  Grace remembered....
    Ready to open!
  • Church before Presents- Though some people think this tradition is harsh, my children don't even bat an eye at waiting to unwrap the mounds of presents!  When they first wake up, they get to unwrap the items in each stocking and then eat breakfast.  We scrub up, dress in our finest, and then go to Mass. After Church, the children's excitement builds and we are able to tear into the fantastic pile of presents.  Not only does this keep the "Christ" in "Christmas" it also slows down the mayhem and paces the present-chaos a bit better.  Plus- the pictures in their Church clothes are a bonus :)
    James gets his golf set!
    Play-doh is always welcome :)
    Grace expects these traditions now, and it makes me excited about the holidays when we have a mini-bucket list of things to do.  Besides the events listed above, we of course look at Christmas lights, make cookies/candies, write cards, and more.  I have avoided the Elf on the Shelf (Thank the LORD!) and expensive trips to see Santa at the mall (Though he was free at the Bass Pro Shops!) What traditions have you started?  Anything we should add to our Christmas repertoire?

Merry Christmas!!

Easy Rule #58790- You do have a few years until your kids start to remember Christmas. So try to think about which events you  would like to do every year.  Don't make it too difficult.

Easy Rule #8797- Even when you don't get everything done on your Christmas To-Do List, the holiday is still a blessed event.

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