Growing up Christmas Eve meant going to mass and then a big dinner. When I was a child, and the again when I was a young adult, I sang in the church choir so I would always sing for the Christmas Eve mass. I preferred to sing at the early mass, but when I was an adult I would typically sing at the Midnight Mass.
Our family would then come home and have our big Christmas dinner together. On Christmas day we would typically have to travel to see family, so Christmas eve was our time together.
There was a few years where we went to a friends house for Christmas Eve’s dinner. They were Italian and had the feast of 7 fish. This was a lot of fun and we enjoyed the company and good foods! I can also remember sitting on the couch with their grandmother and watching the Sound of Music each time.
When Richard and I got married we declared that Christmas eve was a time for just our family. Every year the four of us spend Christmas Eve together. Sometimes we make a big meal, but other years we have had pizza or soup and sandwiches. It isn’t about what we eat, it is about the 4 of us being just the four of us.
Even when we’ve had company in town for the holidays we have found a way to make Christmas Eve just for the 4 of us. I hope to continue this tradition as the boys get older, but I know that things will change as other people come into their lives.
I think it is important to spend the holidays with the extended family and friends, but it is just as important to carve out time for those who live in your house.
When I was growing up we always got a toothbrush, a few small toys, chocolate coins and other small items in our stockings. You knew if you found batteries in there that you were getting some kind of electronic item as a gift.
For my sons, we typically get them Lego kits, match box cars, Pokemon/Football cards, and some other small items. Richard and I do not exchange gifts so our stockings are the only items we buy for each other (other than the gift that the boys give each of us).
Stockings were always a fun way to start the process of gift opening. it was the time to dump everything out and see what fun little this and that could be found inside.
I try to continue this tradition and hunt down things that will make their stockings fun and special.
Christmas is about traditions. One tradition we have in our family is to get a new ornament each year. The first year a person joins the family (through marriage, birth or whatnot) they get a Santa ornament. My mother has a Santa ornament for each of our family members on her tree. I also have a Santa on my tree that represents Richard, Blake, Colby and myself. I will continue this tradition and keep this Santa ornament even when I give them their ornaments when they grow out.
Each year I pick out an ornament for the boys, and occasionally Richard. Some years I get the boys ornaments that represent things they have done that year. Some years I find ones that I just like. They have a good mix of matching/similar ornaments and ones that are nothing like each other.
We also have a collection of Disney ornaments. Most are Mickey face shaped ornaments that are decorated to look like anything but the Mouse. Richard even picked me up one this year when he traveled to Orlando, right after Thanksgiving.
The boys get to put their own ornaments onto the tree each year. They enjoy doing this. I enjoy looking back on all the ornaments and remembering. I love looking back on the ornaments that I have with photos inside. I love seeing the ornaments they made over the years to see how they wrote their name, used their creativity and so much more.
I hope that this is a tradition that my sons enjoy. This is a tradition that I took over from my own childhood and would love to see them take it own into their own families. I hope they know how much love had gone into picking out the ornament(s) each year. The love that goes into seeing the number or ornaments grow each year. The love of seeing my sons lives represented on the tree.
Do you have personalized ornaments on your trees? Do you get/give ornaments to your family members annually? Do you have the ornaments from your own childhood?
Typically I write my blog posts in the morning right after the boys leave for school. This is just a quite time in my day so I take it to blog. Well, this morning I didn’t know what in the world I would blog about. I did type up one of the two Tasty Tuesday recipes that I’m going to post tomorrow, but I didn’t want to post it today.
I decided to go on with my day and just figured that the post would come to me at some point later in the day.
So I went to the gym and then to the grocery store. While I was leaving I heard a little girl speaking to a grocery store employee. The little girl was sitting in the carriage and her mom had stopped just inside the door to put on hats and gloves. The employee, who was entering the store with a load of carriages, stopped and asked the little girl if she was ready for Santa. The little girl’s voice rang out with excitement. “Yes! I just got my Santa Key” You could just hear the joy in this little girls heart. She had the answer. She was now ready for Santa.
Our home in FL did not have a fireplace. So, we too had a Santa Key. What is a Santa Key you ask? Well it is a very magical key that you place on the outside of your door on Christmas Eve. This is how Santa can get inside your home if you do not have a chimney.
My sons grew up with a Santa key. Every Christmas eve we put the Santa Key out from on the door knob and Santa left it on the table where we left his milk and cookies. We still have our Santa key hung by our front door this year. We will see if the boys choose to put it outside since our fireplace is a gas log and there really isn’t a true chimney and there is glass in front of the log. I will leave that up to the boys.
But, if you do no have a fireplace in your home, or your child is worried about Santa fitting in the chimney or anything like that, you may want to get your own Santa Key, it’s a memory worth having.
Do you have a Santa Key? Do you have any other traditions similar to this that help your child understand the magic of Christmas?
Each of the links I posted on this blog post is linked to Amazon Associates. I put different Santa Key links on each one ranging from $5 to $23 depending on how fancy you want your key. If you choose to click on these links and purchase the keys, I will get a percentage of the purchase. Remember I’m just using these links to share with you what I would anyway. The pictures I post is my actual Santa Key hanging on our front door.
This is the time of December that I typically begin making Christmas cookies. I would make a huge tray for Richard to bring to work. I also gave them to the teachers on my team and a few other teacher friends at school. Some years we gave them to neighbors as well.
This year I’m not sure if I’m going to go all out. When I say I made Christmas cookies, I mean I’d make 5 or 6 different batches of Christmas cookies. I have a few recipes that I make every year, but I would also switch up the other cookies so it wasn’t the same thing year after year.
I am not working. I won’t send them into the boys school, since I don’t work there and they don’t know us well I’m not comfortable sending in homemade goods. (I never ate anything that my students sent in) Richard’s work provides lunch and desert every day, so there isn’t a need to bring in huge servings of treats.
This year I may wait and just bake a few batches for us to have in the house and ready for the big man in red to arrive.
So I know I will make chocolate mint cookies, peanut butter blossoms and some kind of sugar cookies. We shall see. Although I keep thinking I want snickerdoodle bars, hmmm maybe I’ll make these for Richard to bring to work next week?
Do you make Christmas cookies? What is your favorite kind? Who do you share your cookies with?
Today is the first day of December. Yes, I know I’ve had my holiday decorations up for weeks now, but this is the official start. Today is the day you start the advent calendar, the Christmas countdowns and the memories. My boys look forward to this day every year.
Over the years we have done a variety of different Christmas countdown activities. When my boys were younger we wrapped Christmas books and read a different Christmas story each day. As they have gotten older and the books they enjoy get much longer, we have since ended this tradition. The last few years we have purchased Lego Christmas countdowns. They started the Star Wars Lego Advent Calendar this morning.
One tradition we have had for years is our Countdown to Christmas magnets. Each year they decide if they are putting the cookie magnets on the cookie sheet or taking them off. This year Colby got to do the first magnet and he decided to take one off each day, so we see there are 24 days left.
Another tradition we have done the last few years is videos from the Portable North Pole. This is the coolest thing ever. Each year the PNP puts out both free and paid for videos. Santa talks directly to your child. My sons love these videos and are excited to see what part of the North Pole Santa will show each year. (I send Richard an adult video each year too. )
I love to see the excitement in my sons as we get closer to Christmas. Knowing they will have time off school. Knowing they want to spend time together doing holiday things. So today I smile, because it’s …