As a parent, Christmas is even more special than when it was just my husband and I. We both always had these wonderful ideas we couldn't wait to do with our kids. I will say that I think we are fortunate to go through this recession while my children are very young. It taught my husband and I to not go overboard or spend to excess. Our kids have what they need and more than what they want on any average day. So I would first off say that the tradition we started first was to determine that Santa has a "limit" whether price or size. My husband didn't want Santa to get the credit for the large item that he and I saved up for. So Santa does the stocking, and one normal size gift. We do 3 gifts to represent the 3 gifts the Magi brought to Christ, after all He is the reason we celebrate the season and give gifts at all. We think it is both meaningful, and controls the excess and spendiness of the holiday. Then we have guidelines within that lol.
- 1 gift is usually something that they Really want- last year was the Rapunzel tower
- 1 is something handmade or homemade
- and 1 is usually something practical- like a craft project, or book, or clothes
We hope by starting this early with our kids, they will remember the importance of what the holiday stands for and not just about getting gifts.
Other things we enjoy doing are things that are exciting and fun traditions for us, typically experiences and crafts.
Every year we decorate as a Family, usually Thanksgiving weekend. We put the tree up, add the ornaments, hang the stockings, put out the Christmas village and nativity. We also use the time setting out the nativity to discuss who is in the nativity and what they did- a starting point as to what the holiday is about. The Christmas village is a reminder of our neighbors and friends and the beauty of the season with its lights twinkling.
We always go to the Christmas show- The Southern Christmas show, to be exact. I get an ornament for my kids, a family one- if our family has changed that year, and one for my niece. We get the dough ornaments, and now my daughter gets to pick hers out- usually something fluffy, frilly and pink, and their name and the year is added to it. I was fortunate that we had so many ornaments that my parents kept and passed on to me when I got married. I hope to do the same with my kids, give them ornaments to start out with. My daughter loves looking at ornaments from when I was a little girl, and ones hubby and I made and picked out when we were dating and since getting married. We are sentimentalists. Before we had kids, we had a "pretty" decorative tree, and a sentimental tree. Now it’s just the sentimental one.
We also make an ornament or decoration for the house to use later. This year I convinced our Uncle Troy at the beach to save us a large trash bag full of massive sized pinecones. I remember these crafts when I was growing up. We are going to spray paint them and put starlight mints between the "branches" and set them out for decoration. A few we will put peanut butter and birdseed on for the animals that come through our yard. In past years, we have made canvas art using handprints, footprints, or finger prints. I have had my daughter make her own gifts for her grandparents, some art work or craft. Pinterest is a great site for ideas if you need some fresh ones.
We have a couple events we don't miss- McAdenville, NC- Christmastown USA has an amazing light show. We drive through there and let them look and sing. We also make sure to go to Rock Springs Campground for A Night in Bethlehem. Campground is set up like old shacks, they convert it to look like an old marketplace and homes from the night Christ was born, then we see the angel appear to the shepherds and then go into the arbor- which is set up like the stable where you see Christ and Mary, Joseph, the Angels, Magi, and of course animals- real animals. It makes it real to my daughter to see it. It’s more than just a story.
We do the normal cookie baking, and yes I do some that I like to be pretty, but I do make sure my daughter gets to make and decorate her own. I love that she is old enough now to ask about when we will be doing something. It means those traditions and memories are staying with her. We of course Have to have some Peppermint Mocha creamer for my coffee, and It is a MUST to have hot chocolate and mulled cider going. An easy recipe for mulled cider is to get the mulling spices at walmart, target, or Williams Sonoma, and I put it in a tea ball to steep in a large pot of apple juice. It smells so yummy. You can taste or smell when its done and just ladle it out into a cup. OR another recipe we use is the apple juice and toss in a handful of cinnamon candies. As it dissolves you have a slightly spicy cinnamon cider. Also very yummy and it makes the house smell great.
In the last several years I have tried making at least something handmade or homemade for all of our family. If nothing else, a personal ornament from the kids. My most recent fun projects were to make personalized aprons for my MIL and Grand MIL. They turned out really cute, and they both wear aprons all the time when they cook. I also made a hot/cold pack- a pretty big one, for the GMIL since she has a lot of problems with her feet. I wanted her to be able to heat it up and lay it over top of both of her feet and it keep them warm, and the weight of it seems to help massage it as well. Hubby even asked for one after I finished hers. So that was a definite hit. Plans for this year include an i-spy bag for my daughter, and a dress. A pot rack for MIL, and a few other things I can’t mention openly yet for fear of someone reading this, or of me not getting it completed in time.
Well I hope you have enjoyed this little glimpse in our Holiday traditions. I hope it helps you find ways to either curb your spending, or find ways to enjoy the Holidays without spending a lot of money. We just love doing things together. Feel free to follow my blog The Beginning of Crafting as I go through blogging about what I make for the holidays.Pin It