It’s the holiday season and it is my absolute favorite time of the year! I love everything about it - the hustle and bustle of preparing for weekend after weekend of family time. I love the decorating (even if my husband doesn’t really love doing the outdoor lighting!), the cooking, the shopping, the wrapping - all of it! For me though, the best thing about this time of year are the traditions.
I love traditions and, now that my husband and I are growing our young family, I’m loving starting traditions of our own as well. I love learning about what other people do with their families at this special time of year as well! I think it’s so cool to learn about things that other people do that we can incorporate into our lives as well. I’ve put together a quick list of my absolute favorite things to do during this busy time of year.
I love baking and I love this time of year, because there are even more reasons for me to bake. The best part about this is that my son, who idolizes my brother who is a professional chef, loves to help me in the kitchen so this is especially fun now that I’m a momma and I have someone to share the kitchen with me. The winter months are the best time of year to bake cookies, cakes or brownies, because it’s so cold outside where we live so, most days, outside play for an extended period of time is out of the question. Baking gives us a great way not only to pass the time together, but to work on our math and life skills, plus it gives us a yummy treat to eat.
My kids are big into arts and crafts and the holiday season is no exception. The best part about this is that there are so many cool little kits that you can get. Michael’s is a great store for affordable little craft kits! We’ve done ones where we’ve built a nativity scene or Santa’s workshop out of foam pieces or decorated snowflakes, gingerbread men, or Frosty. The best part about the foam scenes is that, after they build the scene, they play with it for hours like it’s a little dollhouse. Win win! My favorite, though, are the gingerbread houses. They also love to decorate gingerbread men and cookies with frosting and sprinkles. This year, we got a cool gingerbread train set and that was a big hit!
While I was raised Catholic, I’m not practicing at the moment, but we still incorporate certain things into our lives - like Advent calendars. We just started this with our older kids this year, because I felt like my oldest is finally old enough to grasp the concept and meaning behind it. I’m not sure if he understands all of it, but I know he loves opening his daily door on his calendar! Even if he finds out, to his surprise, that his little sister has already broken into that door and taken the chocolate out. Oops!
Every year since we’ve gotten married, I’ve purchased a yearly family ornament. Once we started having kids, I added an ornament for them as well, in addition to our yearly family ornament. They’re usually similar - something that they’re interested in that year or a simple family one with our names and the year on them - but I love them. They are my favorite ornaments to pull out of the ornament box every year. It’s so much fun to see how we’re growing from year to year. My mom also buys me a picture ornament every year and inserts a picture of me and the kids. It’s so fun to see how much they grown between Christmases.
I love cards. I love them so much. I love getting them. I love sending them. I just love them! I love to see how our loved ones are doing. If they have kids, I love to see how the kids grown from year to year. In fact, my favorite ones to receive are the ones with family letters attached! I’ve never sent those because my life is pretty much laid out in my blog, but I love to catch up with other people that we might not see as often as we would like to and, sometimes, those letters are so creative!
Visits to Santa
No year is complete without our annual “kids screaming with Santa” picture. Our first year was really good. My oldest was only 11 months and he loved Santa. His picture is the cutest thing ever. And then… it all went downhill. He was terrified the following year and the year following that my middle child was here. She’s afraid of her own shadow so she certainly doesn’t like Santa. Last year, we went to see Santa at least three times. Each time I was hoping that my kids would smile and look like normal people with Santa, but each time my middle daughter would scream. I still remain hopeful that one day all three kids will love Santa and take a perfect picture, but, in the meantime, I’ll sit here and laugh hysterically at the ridiculousness of these pictures.
This tradition stems back to when my dad was a little boy and it’s one of my favorites. Each year, Santa stuffs your stocking and leaves a present outside of your door. It’s always a fresh pair of Christmas pajamas. My parents’ rule was that you could wake up as early as you want to on Christmas morning, but you could only open your stocking and one present until everyone else was awake and ready. I think it was a good way for them to hold us off from waking them up at 2 am on Christmas morning, but either way it was so exciting for me as a kid and one of my favorite memories! We do it for our kids now too, even though they are too little to understand, waiting in their rooms until we come get them.
These are just some ideas of easy ways to make a hectic holiday season even more fun for you and your kiddos. What are some of the traditions you enjoy at this time of year? Let me know in the comments!
Hi, I'm Amanda. I am a work-from-home mom of three sweet babes under five. After spending years in the corporate world, I decided to switch gears (after having my third baby) and started working from home as the Operations Manager for a national consignment sale franchise and as the Content Creator for RussneyPartyofFive.com. My main goal in life is to raise kind children and I love finding other moms with a similar mindset. I look forward to sharing my learnings and sharing here on Mommy of Minis!