Carol | December 4, 2008
Here are most of our Christmas traditions. Some of the pictures are new, but many are from years gone past.
Advent Candles and Wreath:
On each Sunday in Advent, we light the candles and add some extra comments to our Jesse Tree devotions.
Complete details and pictures of our Jesse Tree are found here:
We have a little cluster of mistletoe that we hang from a small hook in the ceiling above one of the two entrances to our living room. C7, in particular, is always thrilled to see the mistletoe, and I hold her up to hang it. It is in a spot with some traffic, but not too much, so it does get used. L4 said, “I am going to run under the mistletoe, and when Daddy gets home, I’m going to tiss him!”
Ceramic Christmas Tree:
When we were first married, my grandmother gave us a small green ceramic Christmas tree with lots of little lights. When I store it each year, most of the lights stay on, but enough fall off to give the children the fun of decorating without getting sick of the job. The tree has a special place on the entry shelf.
Hummel Christmas Ornaments:
My mother-in-law added to my Hummel collection by giving me quite a few Hummel Christmas ornaments. They are very cute little children celebrating Christmas and winter. My children are very careful when unwrapping the little figurines and pass them to me after I have the evergreen boughs situated on the mantle and organ. I also decorate a couple wall wreaths with the Hummels. They look very cute nestled among the white lights and greenery.
Fisher-Price Little People Nativity Set:
Even though the children are getting older, there are still cheers when they spot this nativity set among the decorations. It has its own place on a cabinet, but gets brought down to the floor for play.
We also own the Playmobil Nativity Set, but we really don’t like it. It has a paper stable and the pieces all fall apart.
Baby Jesus in a Manger:
This is one of my favorite Christmas decorations. My mother-in-law bought me a lovely realistic boy doll, and my father-in-law made a manger filled with straw. The children, especially my daughter, just love playing with the Baby Jesus doll. Last year, they dressed up as Mary and Joseph and acted out the story. This year, I laughed when C7 said to B10, “You have to be Joseph. L4 is too young to be Joseph.” He wasn’t impressed, but she, of course, is looking forward to being Mary.
Box of Christmas Books:
We have a box of quite a few Christmas books that we store all year and bring them out only for the month of December. The books feel new and exciting to the children, and they spend hours looking at them. I try to read most of them aloud some time during December. I also get some at the library. Here are some of the Christmas books in our box.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever:
We read this chapter book every December. It is always a hit.
Lego Advent Calendar:
Instead of chocolate advent calendars, we bought the Lego Advent Calendar this year. Next year, I would like to get one of those wooden advent calendars that I could fill with my own ideas. I could reuse the Lego toys, or fill them with candies or chocolates, maybe even love notes. There are lots of options.
Early in December, the children usually make paper chains and decorate them with stickers. They rip the links off to count down until Christmas.
Nativity Story Movie:
The Nativity Story is a beautiful account of the Biblical story in the historical setting. The movie makes it “more real” rather than just reading the story (which we will do anyway, of course). It is easy to focus on what IS TRUE in the movie, rather than look for imperfections. My favorite part was how God provided Mary with the comfort of Elizabeth for the six months. I also appreciated the portrayal of the kind and gentle character of Joseph. To raise boys to such standards would be a blessing indeed.
The Grinch (old traditional cartoon), etc.
Mr. Bean Merry Christmas
My mother prepares little Christmas treats, including homemade fudge, and the children and I and my mother visit some of the old people in our family. We usually sing a few Christmas carols (typically Away in a Manger, Silent Night, and We Wish You a Merry Christmas). We visit for a short while at about seven or more homes.
Old Folk’s Home:
We make sure we visit the Senior’s Home before Christmas and sing Christmas carols with a group of people. This year, B10 played two Christmas songs on the keyboard and read from Luke 2. C7 froze and couldn’t sing the song she practiced, “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth”.
We always make sugar cookies before Christmas. The children roll the dough and cut them out with Christmas cookie cutters. Then they add bright icing and sprinkles.
The Christmas Tree:
Since we always get a real evergreen spruce tree, we don’t put it up until a week before Christmas. When we decorate, we turn on Christmas music and put on a fire in the living room. We bring down the large storage container of teddy bears for the children to play with while I walk from chair to chair around the tree attaching several strands of white lights. Then, we all put the teddy bears on the tree. Lastly, I wrap a wide ribbon around and around the tree. We wait until it is all done before turning on the lights. Lah di dah!
Here is a one-of-a-kind photo of the time Derek let us put a tree on top of the van.
This year, I am thrilled that we have a family ticket for all of us to go to Handel’s Messiah.
Each year, the children (never a child younger than three years) stay at Grandma’s for the day while Derek and I travel to a nearby city to go Christmas shopping.
Every year, we buy a prefab gingerbread house and the children have fun decorating with icing and candy.
On the 23rd, we get together with the rest of the family to celebrate my mother’s birthday. It is usually at Grammie’s. Last year, we did a group rendition of the Addams Family Theme Song which Derek had written. Snap, snap.
Opening Presents at Our House:
One unusual tradition we have is that we have NEVER had the children open their Christmas presents from us on Christmas morning. Depending on various factors, we always open them one, two, or three days before Christmas. We go to Derek’s parents’ house early Christmas morning, and then to my parents’ house later in the morning and for dinner.
I usually host one large party and one or two family get-togethers.
Christmas Church Services:
We never know where we will end up.
Edited to add more traditions as I think of them:
We also drive around the community to look at the houses with lots of Christmas lights.
Old Home Movies
Some years, we watch old family Christmas videos or old home movies.
Christmas Story Night Before We Open Presents
We love to visit at Grammie’s when she has just made homemade doughnuts and cinnamon buns.
Edited December 2009:
Small Trees for Children’s Rooms
We painted and decorated the children’s room this fall, so when it came time to decorate for Christmas, I bought two 4′ trees. We decorated the one in the girl’s room with pink decorations and the one in the boys’ room has blue decorations. They were thrilled.
I forgot to mention that I usually have two Christmas parties. One is for homeschoolers (and friends) and the other is for family. My mother and grandmother usually contribute some food to the homeschooler’s party, but I never let anyone else bring anything. I want them to have a night out with nothing to do.