I don’t know how many times a day I wonder what kind of memories my children will have of their childhood. I can guarantee you that it’s a lot. I hope they remember all the times we have danced together in the kitchen because we heard a song we like (or I started doing my amateur beatboxing).
I hope they remember all the times I’ve kissed them and told them I love them…not the times I’ve lost my cool because I felt over-worked, over-tired, and overwhelmed. Most of all, I hope they remember how much The Man and I love our Lord and Savior.
Christmas is my favorite holiday because we love to celebrate the birth of Jesus. For us, the Christmas season is a time for old traditions and making up new ones. It’s a time for spending time together and drinking hot chocolate. It’s also a time to focus on the Reason for the Season.
Recently, I read online where someone said, “When your kids grow up, they won’t remember what you got them for Christmas when they were 8 but they will remember the smell of cinnamon rolls baking on Christmas morning and how you made them feel!’”
I can agree with that.
I still remember my mom making sausage biscuits on Christmas morning (and our dachshund drinking my mom’s coffee one Christmas because mom left her cup sitting beside her on the floor). I don’t have a dachshund to drink my coffee but I do make sausage biscuits on Christmas morning for my kids because I can’t get that wonderful smell out of my head. (Add a little mustard to those babies and it’s perfection!)
Today, I want to share several of our Christmas traditions with you. You won’t find any mention of Santa Claus who visits our house or elves on our shelves. But we have a lot of fun, we spend a lot of time together, and we make memories.
Maybe you’re looking for some new traditions or maybe you just want to add to the traditions you already have OR maybe you’re just nosey. No matter which is true, this post is for you!
We have worked very hard over the years to preserve the richness of Christmas for our children and not ruin it with an overload of plastic gifts they will never remember. All of our traditions stem from an overflow of love for God and each other.
So, let’s go…
1. We read through the book of Luke together
It is my personal belief that if I am not reading scripture to my children during the Christmas season (or any season for that matter) then I’m depriving them of what Christmas truly is. Without it, Christmas is empty and meaningless.
Luke has 24 chapters. It begins with the birth of Jesus and ends with His death and resurrection. We read a chapter together each night. If we miss a night, then we catch up when we can.
Also, one of our favorite things to do is to listen to the scripture on cds! Here’s a link to our favorite:
I just love this audio version! It’s fully dramatized with sound effects and different actors for each role. It is simply beautiful and theater quality!
Now, this isn’t what you’re thinking. We don’t do “normal” stockings. The kids actually hang up a sock that gets filled with goodies. They can hang up any sock they want (one of Daddy’s is best since they’re the biggest ?) and we fill it with unique food items that our kids love. We don’t include toys because we feel that it just ruins the fun of the stockings for them.
3. We put up multiple Christmas trees throughout the house
We like to spread Christmas cheer….everywhere. This year, we have a total of 8 Christmas trees! Our kids love having the whole inside of the house lit up with twinkling lights. We even wrap the stair rails with garland and lights. The whole inside of the house glows and feels warm.
*Side note: We get all of our trees, lights, and garland after Christmas while they are on sale and we save them for the next year.
4. Cookie decorating contest
Each year, we bake sugar cookies together and have a decorating contest! We use our Christmas cookie cutters to cut out various shapes in the dough then after they are baked and cooled we decorate them with homemade butter cream icing. Last year, we sent a picture to the grandparents so they could vote! It’s tons of fun being in the kitchen together. Eating all the cookies afterward is pretty fun too.
P.S. We color our icing with fruit juice. However, there are good natural food coloring options out there. Since we all know that traditional food coloring is very bad for you! Here’s a good option:
5. Christmas music
We usually start playing Christmas music around November 1st and we don’t stop until the end of
February January. It becomes the soundtrack to our lives during this time!
6. Visit a Christmas Tree Farm for a real tree
This is a new tradition for us but we had so much fun doing it that it’s a tradition we are going to keep!
7. Homemade Egg Nog
I have always loved egg nog. I remember my mom buying some for us each year. I can’t remember if my siblings liked it or not but it was always a special thing to me.
Since then, I have learned to make it myself. It’s quite easy and EXTREMELY tasty!
8. Sing Christmas Hymns together
Each of us have our own hymnal. They were a gift from my mom back on 2016. The Man and I each had a hymnal when we got married but they were different from each other. So, anytime we wanted to sing something together, we had to find a song that was in both of our hymnals. Now, we all have matching ones and it is so much fun to sing together! I love how it’s so important to my 3-year-old to have his hymnal open and on the correct page when we sing even though he can’t read yet.
Here are the hymnals we have: Baptist Hymnal
9. Countdown to Christmas calendar
We have a Christmas countdown calendar that we use to count the days. The kids enjoy moving the little snowflake each evening. We found a cute, vintage-looking one at a thrift store a couple years ago.
10. Make traditional family Christmas foods
The Man and I each have our own memories of Christmas foods in our families. He remembers his mom, grandmother, and aunt making Peanut Butter Bon Bons and Pecan Pie. I remember my MiMi having wax paper spread over her entire kitchen table and filling it with Divinity and Rosemary candies. I also remember my mom’s Pecan Delight Pie and the smell of her Dressing cooking.
We carry those food traditions on with our kids. In fact, I just taught my 7-year-old how to make Peanut Butter Bon Bons this week!
11. Sausage Biscuits on Christmas Morning
This is a tradition in my family. I can remember the smell and taste of sausage biscuits on Christmas morning when I was younger. I didn’t make these for several years after we were married then, one Christmas I just felt like something was missing. Something just didn’t feel right. The Man was talking with me and trying to help me figure it out. I shared with him about how we always had sausage biscuits on Christmas morning so he encouraged me to make them (he’s not one to turn down good food). So, I did. Homemade biscuits with homemade sausage patties inside. All of the sudden, Christmas felt right again.
12. Hay rides with Christmas Music
This is a new Fall/Winter tradition since we built the Big House in the Woods. I don’t know which one one of us thought this up but one day we realized we had a UTV and a small trailer. So, we put two and two together and the Big House in the Woods Hay Ride tradition was born! (You could also do this with a riding lawn mower and a trailer if you have the room). During the Christmas season, The Man plays Christmas music in his UTV loud enough for the kids to hear in the trailer (and the neighbors too, I’m sure).
13. Daddy’s Baking Show
“Daddy’s Baking Show” is the one time of year you will find The Man in the kitchen. He gets to choose the recipe and bake something yummy while the kids and I sit in chairs in the kitchen to watch the “show.” He explains everything he’s doing while talking like Julia Child. It’s a lot of fun and we all laugh a ton. When it’s over…we eat!
Just like #2 (stockings), we don’t do presents “normally” either. We buy 3 presents for each child. This is symbolic of the 3 gifts the wise men brought to Jesus. We make these gifts meaningful to them. Each of our children like different things and we buy them things that they will specifically find special. This year, one gift our 7-year-old is getting is a small cast iron skillet. She is learning to cook and mentioned the other day about how she would like a skillet like mine. The skillet I’m giving her is actually a skillet my grandmother gave me years ago. It’s been packed away for years because of moving and building the Big House in the Woods. My daughter has never seen it before so she knows nothing about it. She will be thrilled!
Giving 3 gifts each to our children is another way we preserve the richness of Christmas for them. If we showered them with piles of gifts, I feel that they would lose sight of the true Reason for the Season. They would begin to forget why we celebrate Christmas and they would instead begin to only focus on the gifts they hoped to receive.
15. Open one present on Christmas Eve
Each Christmas Eve, our children get to open one of their gifts. This is a fun and exciting time just before bed!
16. Dessert before bed on Christmas Eve
Yep. We do this. Before bed on Christmas Eve we have a little celebration that usually consists of Pumpkin Pie, Milk, Hot Tea, and a lot of giggling and good conversation around the table. We like to break the rules on Christmas Eve (and the night before Thanksgiving). ? C’est la vie!
17. Read “The 12 Ways of Christmas”
The first Christmas after The Man and I were married, my in-laws gave us “The 12 Ways of Christmas” by David Jeremiah. This is a wonderful, short book (only 127) that goes through the “12 ways” of Christmas such as: wonder, sacrifice, humility, charity, creativity, simplicity, affections, reflection, giving, children, music, and tradition. This is a wonderful little book to read aloud as a family. Along with reading the book of Luke in the Bible, it helps us keep our focus on what’s important.
And last but not least…
18. A treat for our dogs ?
Even our dogs get to celebrate for Christmas! Each Christmas Day, I make warm gravy to put on top of their food. It’s an extra special treat that they look forward to. (Ok, actually I don’t know if they look forward to it or not. I don’t know that either of them know to read a calendar so I’m this is just pure speculation.) ?
I hope you enjoyed this list and maybe some new traditions will be born at your house!
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