Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Some of the things I love most about the Christmas season are the traditions we have started as a family.
While some of them are simple and fun- like the new pajamas we open on Christmas eve to wear on Christmas morning, others are so much more than that.... like the Cookie Countdown we started a couple of years ago.
Last week Evan asked me if we could please deliver our cookies to the homeless again. Oh how my heart swelled at not only the fact that he remembered but also that he was hoping that we could do it again. When I told him of course we would his face lit up. "Awesome! That was so much fun!"

Could his response have touched his mama's heart any deeper?

This year we are going to add in a couple of new traditions...
The first one is super simple and easy. I saw this idea on Pinterest.

I wrapped 24 Christmas books and tomorrow we'll put them under the tree. Each evening after dinner the kids will unwrap on book to read together before bed. Fun, right?
And since I only had a handful of Christmas books laying around, I borrowed the rest of them from the library :)

The next new tradition is one I am super excited about. This year we are going to do a family advent activity calendar. (I got this cute little house last year on clearance boxing week!)

Each day the kids will open one of the doors and inside will be a little piece of paper with a fun activity to do together.

Some of them are things we have done together in the past and others are brand new. I think that in a season that is busy and crazy and seems to fly right by, this will give us a way to be intentional about spending time together. And also a way in we can teach our kids what Christmas is about... family, giving to others...JESUS!

I plan to just stuff in the activity we will do together the night before. That way I can kind of control what we do on what days... I don't really want the kids to pick out a slip like "Go skating at the lake" on a day when it is -30C outside! Brrr! :) 

Here's our list in case you may want to do some of these activities with your families too :)

* Make paper (or coffee filter) snowflake decorations
* Make snowman donuts
* Go for a drive to look at Christmas lights (and bring along hot chocolate in sippy cups!)
* Make and paint salt dough ornaments
* Build a fort and lay in it while we watch "The Grinch"
* Go skating at the lake
* Make Christmas tree crafts using popsicle sticks
* Host a gingerbread house making party
* Make peppermint chocolate popcorn and watch "The polar express"
* Make ice castles using sugar cubes
* Build a snowman
* Have a sleepover under our tree
* Make reindeer food to put out on Christmas eve for Santa's reindeer
* Make popcorn garland and paper chains to decorate our home
* Write letters to Santa
* Visit Santa at the mall
* Make and than give a secret gift to someone
* Play a board game in front of the tree
* Go to the dollar store and buy presents for your siblings
* Deliver gifts/baking to our neighbors
* Make teacher gifts
* Pick out food to donate
* Pick a family member's name and serve them secretly this week

What are your Christmas traditions?
Are you starting any new ones this year?


  1. How fun!!! Thanks for sharing:) I'm always looking for some new ideas:)

  2. Love these ideas, Sara! Especially the books :)

  3. So....I totally stole the book idea from you after I saw your pic on instagram. I'm super excited about it b/c I've really been trying to get my daughter excited about reading. Hoping this helps!

    And love all your fun activities!! We are going to do the Elf on the Shelf thing this year. My daughter asked when our Elf was coming after a friend told her about theirs. So....there ya go.

    We always make cookies for Santa Christmas Eve Eve. We also drive around and look at Christmas lights with popcorn and hot chocolate/Starbucks the week of Christmas. We always read the Christmas story before opening up gifts. And this year, once a week, we are doing something "thoughtful" for someone....trying to instill that whole "it's better to give than receive" into my kids too!! :-)

  4. i really like the wrapped book ideas! especially since you didn't buy them. who can afford 25 books?!? not me.

    we have an advent box and have done the same thing you are doing for years. kristen started adding activities to her advent too (i also know she has scripture reading for each day). your list looks great! let me know if you ever need ideas. it's good to borrow from each other- mix it up each year.

  5. Oh I LOVE this post!! Wow, we have so many traditions....everyone gets a homemade advent gift from me the first Sunday of advent. (it various what it is each year; one year I sewed a Nativity scene duvet cover, this year I knit a sock monkey & hat & scarf...); we also do advent gifts each day during Christmas. The boys take turns opening them; many are craft things as an extra activity. We have the same idea as you with events - however I really like them in that little advent house (where did you buy it?! please email me!)

    Some of our traditions of events are:
    -the heritage park nativity pageant
    -the heritage park 12 days of christmas
    -spruce meadows light trip
    -light trip with hot chocolate
    -cookies/baking for friends. This year we are making Christmas popcorn for our neighbours.
    -christmas concerts
    -birthday party for Jesus (Midpark has a great one on the 24th the girls would love!)
    -a new one we're starting this year is doing a ding-dong-ditch hamper. I am so excited about this one!

    Would you share your recepie for the peppermint chocolate popcorn?


  6. I had almost the exact same post planned, Sara!! Instead, I came down with a cold today, and the Christmas stuff didn't make it out. :( So I was happy to see your post! :) I hope I'll still get to share a couple of my favorite books and my advent calendar... very similar to yours. :)

    I love all your ideas and how you wrapped the books up! And I love all the fun activities you will be doing this month! I want to come join your family!! :) The skating at the lake sounds amazing! :)

  7. yeah for the advent calendar!!! i can't wait to hear how it goes. i might be stealing/borrowing some of your ideas. i love to mix things up each year so it doesn't get old for the kids.

    i have our books set out but didn't wrap them. i counted and we had 21 christmas books. i couldn't believe it! some of them i have had since i was in college or first teaching. i was amazed. if we add one or two a year we will have quite a collection.

  8. Such a great idea wrapping library books! That fits my budget! :)

  9. I do some of these same ideas....but I let a few slide this year since we're a bit out of our element. I do "the book one" except I have a special decorated box, and I put a book in it each morning. Once the book is out of the box, they can keep it for the month. I too, get many of them from the library. I think I'll pin this post for future ideas. ;o)

  10. I am putting together a post about Christmas Traditions and including lots of links from around the web. I would love to be able to include this one.

  11. So love the book idea!!! I have been doin this for years! However now my son is eighteen so Im wanting some new book ideas.

    Can I also ask where you found your your Christmas calendar? We used to have a similar one in our family and it was destroyed in our move here to the Cleveland area.

    1. We live up in Canada and I bought the calendar at "Superstore", not sure if you guys have one in the US.
      Sorry :)

  12. Thanks for sharing i would most definitely do this as my family tradition for christmas as well. Thanks for the great ideas :)

  13. Be aware. I did this with our 18 month old before bed each night leading up to Christmas. On Christmas morning my 18 month old did not want to open presents because he associated it with having to go to bed right after. :/

  14. I started this tradition with my daughter with her first Christmas, she is now 22 years old. I collected 25 children's Christmas story books and then wrapped each one and put in a red and green Christmas basket by the tree. After her bath, she got to pick any book to unwrap and I would read to her. We put the book back and the next evening, she could pick another book to open. We would also read any other book that had been previously opened. The last book was opened on Christmas Eve and it was always the special edition "Twas the Night Before Christmas". I still have all the books and the basket saved to pass on to her and her children when the time comes. Those Christmas memories are some of our most fondest...


Thanks so much for leaving your comments. I absolutely love hearing from you :)


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