Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Traditions

I'm thankful to have a blog where I can actually say the word "Christmas."  It seems that everywhere you look these days, people are replacing "Christmas" with the word "holiday" and it's so very disappointing.  As the room mom for H's second grade class, I was forced to send out a "winter" party informative letter to the other parents.  Really?  Don't even get me started. 

Each year, I'm trying to do a better job about showing my boys the true meaning of Christmas.  We talk a lot about the birth of Jesus and they love their Little People nativity set that sits under our tree.  I know it's a process, one that will take a while for them to truly understand.  It's something that does take intentional effort since our society has turned it into such a commercialized holiday.

However, I certainly want to enjoy the other fun aspects of Christmas with them- especially since they both still BELIEVE (and who knows how much longer I have with H) so I try to do fun things with them throughout the month.  I'm a big believer in traditions!  Here are some that we do around here:

1.  We have a "cookies for Santa" plate that we use each year.  We make cookies and place them on the plate on Christmas Eve night.

2.  The boys get new Christmas jammies

3.  Read books by the tree.  I have a big stack of Christmas/winter books next to the tree and we gather around the tree and read together before bed.  This doesn't happen every single night (some are just crazy nights) but this is a favorite for them!

4.  Make crafts or ornaments together

5.  Drive around to see lights

6.  Make a gingerbread house with Grammy. 

7.  Watch Christmas movies- throughout the month we watch some favorites like The Grinch, Frosty the Snowman, Polar Express and a few others.

8.  The Advent Countdown calendar.  They love doing this each morning and it's a great visual for them to see how many days until Christmas.

9.  Elf on a Shelf- we've had "Cronko" (named by our then 3 yr old H) and he's been a highlight in our home for 4 years now.......when I can remember to move the darn thing. 

10.  Decorating the tree together.

11.  Listening to Christmas music

12.  Praying for families as we get their Christmas card

(I'm sure there are others but this is all that's coming to me right now)

What traditions do you have with your kids?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

For the Love of Cards

December is such a fun month with all the Christmas activities we have planned but one of my favorite things of all is going to the mailbox each day to check for Christmas cards.  I enjoy the pictures and seeing how each family has changed since the last year.  I have a card hanger that goes on the wall as you walk into my kitchen and each time we get a new card we place it on the hanger.  It's so much fun to fill that hanger up and it's a reminder of how blessed we are with so many friendships.  One tradition we started last year was to pray over each family as we got their card.  It's something I hope we continue to do from now on!

Over Thanksgiving break, I took the boys to the park in order to get a picture that was card-worthy.  I'm not so convinced that I took amazing pictures but I do think there are a few that would look cute.  It really helps when sites like Shutterfly have so many precious card templates to choose from.  I have ordered from Shutterfly in the past and not only were my cards beautiful, the turnaround time was really fast. 

While browsing their holiday card choices, I found a few that caught my eye:
I LOVE the stripes at the bottom of this card!  It's simple yet cute all at the same time. 

In the past, I've sent cards like this:

.....because I love having the option of including multiple pictures. Sometimes it's just too hard to pick one photo!

I love this one too.......
The font at the top is greatness!

See, it's hard to pick.  They just have so many to choose from.

Wonder if I'll end up with this one.......

And want to know something else that's awesome?  Shutterfly is offering 50 free cards to bloggers who blog about this giveaway. You can read all about it here. 

And don't forget that they also have other photo items that could be used for gifts or stocking stuffers.

Go check it out and get yourself some free cards!!