Thursday, December 19, 2013

12 Days of Christmas - Day 12

For my last Christmas post, I'm including some traditions.

Our Traditions:

  • Christmas brunch. This was a big one whenever we did Christmas with my dad. Unfortunately, we haven't celebrated Christmas with my dad for a few years. Though, I keep this up on whichever day we do our Christmas, just us & the kids. It usually involves crepes or blintzes, bacon & sausage, hashbrowns, cornmeal mush, etc. My dad would always bring quiche & often made really great omelets.
  • Reusable Gift boxes. During my dad's 2nd marriage, my step-mom started the tradition of reusing gift boxes. She went out & bought these really nice boxes. If you got a gift in one, the next year you had to use that box to give a gift to someone else. They got circulated through the family for years.
  • Clues on the gifts. This was another tradition my step-mom started. On the wrapping paper, she would write clues to what the gift was, and you had to try to guess what it was before you opened it.
  • Christmas read-alouds. Throughout the month of December, we read aloud several Christmas books. We do one or two chapter books, reading a chapter a day. We do lots of picture books, though. We aim for one a day.
  • Pick out a tree. I've never actually done this. My step-mom goes out to a tree farm each year to pick out a tree & cut it down. My kids have both gone with & had a great time. It's generally an all day event.
  • Advent party. My husband's parents have the family come over on the first Sunday of Advent every year. They decorate the tree, have a big meal, and do a MadLib version of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.
  • Christmas movies. We have a few movies we watch every December. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is my husband's favorite. How the Grinch Stole Christmas and our favorite version of A Christmas Carol are also staples of our December. When we're alone, my husband & I watch Love Actually.
  • Our favorite Christmas tradition is our Activity Tree. We come up a list of things to do from December 1st - 25th, 20 - 25 things that we want to do. The list includes things like buying a toy to donate to Toys for Tots, some of the books we read & movies we watch, donate food to the local food pantry, and go see the light display our city does each year.
  • Play games. Each year we play games at my step-mom's house while we're there for Christmas. We often play some games during our Christmas, too.  
  • Gingerbread House. My aunt used to make a beautiful gingerbread house every year for the Christmas at my grandparents' house. 
  • A family gift. Each year, I buy us a family gift. It is one thing that's for all of us. It's usually a board game. Though occasionally it's a movie we've all been wanting.
Other Traditions:

  • Open one gift each on Christmas Eve. 
  • Bake cookies for Santa.
  • Go caroling.
  • Attend Midnight Mass. My mother decided we should do this one year. We went to a Polish church on Christmas Eve. 
  • Christmas pajamas. Buy each person a new pair of pajamas for Christmas. Have them open them on Christmas Eve, so they can wear them to bed that night & on Christmas morning.
  • Annual ornaments. Get special ornaments for each person, every year. An alternative is to get a personalized family ornament each year.
  • Adopt a family. This is one we haven't had the extra cash to do, but are planning on doing next year. Many cities have places where you can "adopt" a family. They give you ages & genders of the family members, and you buy them gifts for Christmas. It's a nice way to give to those who have less.
Some ideas:

  • One of the things I'm planning to do next year is to buy 10 $10 gift cards & give them out to random people through the month of December.
  • This year, I'm thinking of doing a Christmas scavenger hunt. I'll hide the family gift & leave clues for the kids to follow to find it.
  • Do a themed Christmas. Choose another era or culture & celebrate the way people there or then would.

This year:
These are our plans for this year.
Our Christmas will be Christmas Eve. We are going to spend the day playing games & watching a marathon of TableTop. We will do a special brunch. Our family gifts this year are 2 games - Pandemic & Zombie Dice. They will be among the games we play on Christmas Eve. I will spend part of the day baking breads for Christmas. It will actually be rather quiet & relaxing. On Christmas Day, we will be at my step-mom's house.

Well, that's it for my 12 Days of Christmas posts. I hope you enjoyed them & found some new resources or got some ideas. Merry Christmas!