Every year my family loves to celebrate Thanksgiving, really enjoying each others company, watching football after an early dinner, and usually taking a nap somewhere in between. We have so much to be thankful for and I love the holidays because they remind us to appreciate what we have, and what we let pass us by on a daily basis. Ever since I can remember, my mother has told us that we can’t begin celebrating Christmas until Thanksgiving is over, and I love that she taught me that. Thanksgiving is about being thankful for what we have and Christmas (other than celebrating the birth of Jesus) is about giving to others. Thanksgiving and Christmas are both very special holidays to me and now that Thanksgiving is over I can look forward to our Christmas traditions that come every winter holiday season.
Let the Winter Holidays Begin
Today, the day after Thanksgiving, my family will begin decorating for Christmas and may go present shopping (since it is black Friday, might as well enjoy the sales). Putting up the tree, hanging the stockings, and seeing the house lit up at night… it is all part of the magic of our holiday. The car rides are always fun this time of year. We drive around, sing carols, and admire the winter decorations and sometime we count how many wreaths or candles we find in the windows of the homes we pass. As Christmas gets closer, the presents under the tree slowly grow in number, and the candy we buy for the stockings “mysteriously” disappears so we go the the grocery store often. Closets are always off limits so that no one sees an unwrapped gift by accident and my family loves waiting to find out. We never go looking for what we got before we are given it (at least no one that I know of). I always like to be surprised with my gifts and was never interested in looking for them before hand, although there is a tradition I do like that deals with presents before Christmas…
On Christmas Eve everyone in my family opens one present from under the tree. I don’t know why or when we began the tradition but I always love it. It’s like tasting the icing before eating the cake. When our Christmas Eve gifts have been appreciated and thanked for, we set out the milk and cookies for Santa, sometimes we even write him a letter to place in the Santa mail box. We go to bed, smiling and treasuring our first gift of Christmas.
Waking up as early as we could, my sister and I in our childhood, would go together and see what Santa had added under the tree and put in our stockings. Even as adults we like to wake early and look in our stockings together. My son isn’t very fond of sleeping so he wakes up early too. This year will be interesting to see how he reacts to the tree, presents, and his stocking since last year was his first Christmas and he was still very little. I just don’t know how I’ll keep him from climbing the tree and opening the presents prematurely.
I remember when my parents added the Pickle Finder tradition to our Christmas. Santa would hide the pickle ornament on the Christmas Tree and whoever found the pickle on the tree would get the pickle finder present. It was fun and my sister and I always ended up sharing the present. Now that I am a mother I look forward to sharing the tradition with my son and starting new ones.
Recently I found out about Elf on the Shelf. It seems like a precious idea and I’d love to add that to our traditions with my son. Here is what I found:
Each night, after the family goes to bed, the scout elf uses his magical Christmas powers to fly back to the North Pole. Once there, the elf will make his or her daily report to Santa and visit with elf friends where they will tell stories about their beloved families, play with the reindeer, and of course, sneak some of Mrs. Claus’ cookies!
Before the family awakes each morning, their special scout elf will fly back to their home from the North Pole. However, since these elves like to play games, don’t expect to find them in the same spot! While some like to hide in the freezer (probably because it reminds them of the North Pole) and others prefer to sit on the fireplace mantle or hang from the chandelier, these elves love to play hide-and-seek with their families.
On Christmas Eve, the scout elf will listen for Santa’s bell and then fly back to the North Pole until the next season, wishing every girl and each boy a Christmas of peace and a year full of joy.
This seems like such an adorable tradition that my son will treasure when we is old enough to understand the story. I can’t wait to start it.
Sharing Is Caring
What are some of your winter holiday traditions? Are there any traditions you would like to start? What is your favorite part of the Winter Holiday Season?