Saturday, January 18

Christmas Traditions {and all the pictures}

I think this is my last January Christmas post. I think. I have a small ocean of draft posts to wade through, though, so I can't make any promises. But I think I can finish off by mixing all these Christmas pictures in with my thoughts about Christmas traditions. So here we go!  I love starting all these fun little things with the boys, so here are few things we've started doing so far. And I'd love to hear about what you guys do, too!

Stockings - we opened the stockings first, and put in toothbrushes. Toothbrushes always go in stockings! We did a couple other small things too like sunglasses, a small toy, and crayons. Baby Brother got a robot onesies and these sweet teething rings in his stocking. I always got an orange when I was little, so I may add that next year.

M&M car in his stocking.

Christmas Eve Box - we filled a box with jammies, a new movie, and snack for them to open Christmas Eve. You can check it out here.

Helping brother open his presents.

Yummy Breakfast -  We did cinnamon rolls this year and they were great! I made them ahead of time and froze them. Just set them out the night before and pop them in the oven in the morning! I had our lunch and dinner made up ahead of time too.

Rainbow stacker for Baby Brother.

Advent Calendar - I posted about making our calendar here, and what I filled it with here. We'll definitely be keeping that tradition up every year!

He takes his work very seriously.

Four Gifts - We tried to keep the gifting simple this year with just four gifts each (plus the small things in their stockings): something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. Baby Brother only got a couple things anyway, but it was SO hard to keep it narrowed down for Big Brother. In the end we really liked that they weren't overwhelmed with stuff. They were able to really enjoy the things they got, plus it helped keep our budget in check! We may go bigger with gifts on birthdays instead, but it felt nice to keep Christmas a little more grounded. Another idea I've heard is doing three gifts since Jesus got three gifts from the wisemen. I don't know if we'll keep this up every year since we'll probably play it by ear, but here's what our boys got this year:

Big Brother:
  • wooden animal tree house (DIY - plans coming soon!)
  • bike helmet
  • a hockey shirt (and Despicable Me undies, we cheated and picked two things to wear)
  • High Five subscription

Baby Brother:
  • rainbow stacker (from here but they don't seem to have them now)
  • blanket
Checking out his new animal tree house.

Giving - We took Big Brother shopping to pick something out for Baby Brother and it ended up being really hard for him to choose something for someone else instead of himself. But what a great opportunity to learn and grow! In the end he finally decided on a set of cars (like the fire truck in the pic below) for his brother and actually loved wrapping it up... and then helping brother unwrap it on Christmas. We were so proud of him. We also made sure to wrap an extra gift "from Baby Brother" for him. It was a nerf "shooter gun" and he still tells us his favorite part of Christmas was "my shooter gun baby brother give to me." We'll definitely be letting them shop for each other again next year. We also had Big Brother pick out special wrapping paper (he picked Mater paper) and wrap up little presents for some of his friends.

New toys, new blanket, but he just wants brother's hockey shirt.

The Christmas Story -  We hope to always keep the focus on Christ and what he's done for us. We use a scripture based Advent Calendar, read the Christmas Story together, attend Christmas Eve service, play with the nativity sets (we had a Joseph casualty but glued him back together), and did nativity based activities and crafts.

Opening the "shooter gun!" from Baby Brother.

Helping Grammy open presents.

My Mom's Group ladies had tons of great ideas that we might try at other times. Here were a few of my favorites:
  • A Christmas Scrapbook - add Christmas photos & mementos each year and pull it out at Christmas time to reminisce.
  • Go caroling at a nursing home.
  • Giving Chain - make 24 slips of paper with things they can do for their family or community (cookies for neighbors, letter to grandma, hot drinks for bell ringers, clean brother's room, etc. brainstorm ideas together). Draw a slip each day and after you complete it add a link to the chain.
  • Advent Stories - wrap 24 Christmas books. Unwrap one and read it each night. 
  • Memory Book - Before taking down the tree, have everyone write a paragraph in the book about the things they experienced, what they recieved, etc. Store it with the Christmas stuff and have fun revisiting it each year.
  • Nativity - have only the animals in the nativity until the week of Christmas. Then start Mary & Joseph and move them closer each day until Christmas Eve. Baby Jesus joins the scene Christmas Day. 
  • Cards - as Christmas cards come collect them in a basket. Each day at supper pull one card, read it, and pray for the sender. Hang it up after you have prayed for them. Continue until you run out of cards. 
  • Drive Around to Look at Christmas Lights.
  • Ornaments - get a small photo frame ornament for each child each year. Purchase a special ornament for each child showing their interests or hobbies (maybe for a tree in their room). When they move out they'll have a collection started. 
  • Baking - make Christmas cookies or a birthday cake for Jesus.

One for great grandpa.

Do you guys do any of these traditions? Something different? What's your favorite?


  1. Our living room tree has all our sentimental ornaments. Each year, our parents give each of us an ornament that is significant to that year (my sister got an engagement ring ornament the year she got engaged, my brother received a black lab the year he got his dog Buster, I got a bookworm the year I learned to read well...). When my two older siblings got married they took their ornaments with them to put on their own tree. They still get ornaments to add to their collection (and also their spouses and children get ornaments, too.)

    We also make Christ the main part of our celebrating since He is why we celebrate in the first place.

    1. I love this! Thanks so much for sharing. I hope our kids will have a great start to their own trees someday. :)