Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Making Memories & Starting New Traditions

Christmas is 2 weeks away and I am so excited for Cali's first Christmas! She's not really old enough yet to know exactly what's going on but we're putting small traditions in place this year so that we can carry them on and grow them year to year. 

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned it here but I have a humungous family. My parents are house parents at a children's home in Alabama call The Big Oak Ranch. We moved there when I was 5 years old and minus a few years in between my parents have been there ever since. So what this means is that I have 12 siblings, sometimes more. In our house Christmas time means not only chaos lots of love, but many traditions as well. It starts with putting up the tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We build a fire (and if it's not cold enough in Alabama for a fire, we turn the air on so that it is cold enough), drink hot chocolate or apple cider, and listen to the Jackson 5 Christmas album. My mom has kept every handmade ornament from all 5,000 kids that she's parented so after the tree is so full it's about to topple over, we all walk outside and look at the tree lit up from the outside of our house. Not much of that makes any sense and I'm sure there's more efficient ways of doing things, but it's tradition. It's the way that it has to be done.

While I have always enjoyed my family's Christmas traditions, T and I having our own family now gives us the opportunity to start new traditions; ones that are just ours. We have a few things that we know we want to put into place now so that we can enjoy them together as our child(ren) grow. I'm going to list some of the new traditions we'd like to put in place. These are what we want for our family, not what I think anyone else needs to do for theirs. But if you like any of them, have at it. 

1. Family Pictures - T and I are both SO BAD at actually making a point to look nice and take pictures. I love pictures and I love taking them, I just hate being in them. But I don't want to die one day (hopefully a loooong time from now) and Cali not have any pictures of us all together. I figure Christmas is a great time to do it. 

2. Advent - This isn't something that either of us really did growing up but it's something we'd like to start. Starting on the first day of Advent we'll light the candle and read the scriptures and use the month of December as a time of repentance and preparation for celebrating our Savior's birth.

3. Picking a Charity - I feel bad saying this because we should have a giver's heart all year, but we really want to make a point to use the Christmas season as a time to appreciate all of our blessings and help bless those who are in need. I think Christmas has become such a consumer's holiday and we want to make sure that we point our children to how much we already have been given.

4. Four Presents - I saw this idea years ago and loved it: Something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read. I'm not sure where it comes from but it's always floating around the internet. And I figure if 3 gifts was enough for Jesus on his birthday, it'll be enough for my kids. Actually, I've always lobbied for a gift free Christmas but nobody ever goes with me on it. Just think of how much stress and money we'd save! Oh well.

5. A Christmas ornament - This is something that my family kind of did every year. My mom always forced encouraged us to pick out a Christmas ornament. But I'd like to actually make one with my kid(s). My sister-in-law actually made this one for Cali's first Christmas since she's too young to do it herself. 

6. Birthday Party for Jesus - I would really like to make a cake and actually celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas night. Go all out and do an actual birthday party. ** T would like for me to add that we're not baking Jesus the cake. That's weird. He can't eat cake. I just meant that we'd celebrate the day for what it actually is… Christ's birthday. Not just a day that we get presents.**

7. No Santa - Now, before you stone me let me say this : Santa terrifies me. Really. Also, both T and I can remember the exact days we found out about Santa not being real and how upset we were so we agreed it's just not something we're going to do. I'll tell her all about St. Nicholas (the actual man that lived) when she inevitably asks who Santa Clause is but we won't do the fat man coming down the chimney. 

So those are the main traditions that we hope to put in place. We want to always keep the actual reason for the season as our main focus and pass that along to our children. Whatever traditions you have with your family, I hope you enjoy them!

Also, if you loved that adorable ornament that my sister-in-law made me, she has some other amazing crafts on her Facebook page! Just to prove how right I am, here's a great wreath that she did for Christmas. She's super talented and crafty and can make pretty much anything to order. You can contact her through her page! So, go shop handmade for Christmas over here!

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