I love love love this time of year and I love traditions. The thought of giving my children memories they’ll hold on to forever and possibly continue with their own families is awesome! We had a few traditions growing up such as Christmas Eve service, riding in the car and looking at lights, drinking hot cocoa and apple cider, going to my aunt/uncle’s house Christmas evening, and opening presents on Christmas (stockings last). Nothing crazy, but it was a special time. I’d like to introduce more things to my kiddos.
This year, Beckham is 3. I feel like it’s the perfect year to start some traditions (Maddox is 5 months so he’s along for the ride). I’m sure I’ll add more next year and maybe even change them up. I thought I’d share some traditions that will become part of the Snyder Christmas.
1. VISIT SANTA
We’ve done this since Beckham was 1 year old. We go to the same mall in hopes that we’ll have a lot of pictures with the same Santa. We usually make a day of it at the mall – eating lunch, playing in the play area (which is right next to Santa), and getting our picture done. Can’t wait for Maddox to get his picture with Santa.
2. A MEANINGFUL CHRISTMAS:
You can click on the link above to read more about it, but basically it’s a child centered Christmas devotional. I participated in this when Beckham was 1 and this year will be our first year to implement it . We’ll do the devotional each night before we go to bed. We have a Christmas tree in his room where he’ll hang each ornament.
3. LOOK AT CHRISTMAS LIGHTS WITH FAMILY:
We’ll pack some snacks and drinks and pick a fun neighborhood to look at lights. My parents have actually talked about a new tradition they want to start this year with all of us kids and the grandkids who are old enough. They want to take us in a limo to look at lights. My family is really big (4 kids, 4 significant others, 5 grandkids, and 1 on the way), so a limo provides a way for all of us to ride together. Then we’ll of course end it with some kind of eating.
For the last couple of years, my parents’ neighborhood had a group of houses that put on an amazing light show and provided hot cocoa, popcorn, a movie, Santa, and a train ride. We were SO sad to find out this year that they are not doing it. We don’t know why, but I’m going to miss our walk down the street. Here are a few pictures from the 2012 visit.
4. ANGEL TREE:
I searched a lot of different organizations that provide for kids in need and we’re going to try this one this year. I love the concept of picking a child, purchasing the items, and giving back. I love that Beckham will be with me when we do this, so he’ll get to “give to others.”
5. BAKE JESUS A BIRTHDAY CAKE:
This will be new for us, but Beckham is all about baking cakes and he’s really into birthdays this year. I think he’ll understand the reason for the Christmas season is Jesus’ birth. I plan on doing this Christmas Eve (probably morning) and eating a slice for breakfast and taking the rest to our families’ houses to eat. I’d love to bake it earlier (since that day can be chaotic), but I think he’ll be confused if we don’t eat the cake on his birthday. Does anyone do this or have a suggestion for explaining it if earlier than the 25th?
6. LOCAL “HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS” ON TOWN SQUARE:
Our downtown has a neat event the weekend after Thanksgiving with tons of Christmas activities, food, music, etc. I had it written down on my calendar for over a month, but due to poor planning and no husband, we didn’t go. I still blame the baby for my disorganized self right now. One day. One day I’ll get it together.
7. A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY:
There is a local church that puts on this amazing live story of Jesus. You drive through the scenes in your car and listen to the story on a cd. I heard about this a few years ago when I was part of MOPS at this church, but we have yet to go. Hopefully there will be a night Ryan is home to partake in this with us this year.
8. SANTA BOX:
On the night before Christmas Eve, I’ll have a Santa box (possibly from Elf) with some goodies in it – reindeer food to sprinkle on the lawn, popcorn, movie, game, cocoa. We’ll watch a movie that night and sprinkle the food on the lawn the next night.
9. COOKIES FOR SANTA:
Beckham REALLY loves this “tradition.” We bake sugar cookies and decorate them for Santa. Beckham also wants to leave carrots for the reindeer too.
10. MAKE A GINGERBREAD HOUSE:
I remember making one of these in school. This year will be a simple kit from the store. As they get older, I’d love for this to become elaborate, competitive activity, even with more family involved. I’m sure most activities will become competitive in this house. #boyhouse
11. ICE EXHIBIT AT GAYLORD HOTEL:
One of the prettiest hotels in the area, has this amazing ICE exhibit with a different theme each year. Ryan and I stayed at the Gaylord one year for a staycation during Christmas (before kids). This was our first glimpse of this beautiful hotel. We haven’t taken Beckham to the exhibit yet, but I’m dying to! I’d love to stay the night there too, but it’s probably going to be a bit too pricey for our budget this year. I would love for this to be a family tradition each year!
12. SMORE’S AT PARENTS HOUSE:
We like to go to my parent’s house and roast marshmallows. I go to my parents a lot during this time of year, especially when Ryan’s gone and we always love to sit outside and talk around the fire.
13. READ POLAR EXPRESS:
And do an activity with it. We did this when I was teaching and I LOVE it! I might even read this book before we look at lights and give him a “ticket” to go look at lights in our “train.”
I can’t wait to continue some of these traditions and start some new ones. I’d love to hear any you have. We’ll be soaking up all the Christmas music, decorations (which I’ll share tomorrow), and the spirit of it all this month!
I’m linking up with Andrea for What’s On Your Calendars today. Can’t wait to read everyone’s plans for December.