Monday, December 1, 2008

Holiday Traditions

We're mostly moved in, and feeling rather festive. Yesterday Dave went to the garage to get the box with the advent calendar and the kids went wild jumping on couches and yelling from the front door. I was so happy to see that they remembered this tradition. As soon as the calendar came out of the box, they spent the next 10 minutes taking all the lids off and putting them back on. You can bet this morning it was the first thing they asked about. I even found Lily sitting by the calendar, not daring to touch it, at 7am. Each day is stocked with a little treat and a fun holiday experience. This year it looks like this:
1. FHE: Buy gifts for our adopted family
2. Make Hot Chocolate
3. Make Play-Doh snowmen
4. Collect pine cones at the park
5. Make pine cone bird feeders
6. Go to Ward Christmas Party
7. Write letters to Santa
8. Christ's birth FHE packet
9. Have dinner by candlelight
10. Make paper snowflakes
11. Deliver Christmas goodies to friends
12. Take an eggnog break
13. Make/deliver holiday cards to retirement home
14. Take a moonlit walk to look at winter stars
15. Tell Nativity Story using velcro pictures
16. Bake cookies and give them away
17. Make breakfast for dinner
18. Dance party to Christmas music
19.Put on PJ's and take car to look at Christmas lights
20. Go HOME to Kansas City!
Another tradition that we are trying out this year is a book advent of sorts. I wrapped up our Christmas/Winter Holiday books, and because our collection isn't quite up to 20 books, we checked the rest out from the library. Each night before bedtime, they choose a book (mine are numbered because we have to get the library books back in time! :) to unwrap and read. I know they'll love this because a) they are unwrapping something and b) they love books. I'm super excited because there are some fabulous books I can't wait to share.

Last year David's grandparents sent us the Elf on the Shelf package. Cutest thing. It comes with a book (that rhymes the whole way through) explaining that Santa has sent an elf to the Painter household. This year we have to name our elf and welcome him to our home. There is even a place to write in the book what year your elf comes to you and what you decide to name him. The book explains that each day the elf will appear somewhere in the house (he's got bendable arms and legs so he can chill in the funniest from light fixtures and shower curtains) to watch over the kids and make sure they are on their best behavior. Each night he flys back to the North Pole to report to Santa the doings of the day. Then, each morning he finds a different spot in the house and the kids have a ball searching for him when they wake up. Fun stuff.
Like I said...feeling festive. Last year and this year we are traveling "home" for Christmas, so we don't have any Christmas Eve, or Christmas morning traditions yet. But even so, these activities make it feel special all month long. I think it will be fun to look back and see how we chose to celebrate, because I am sure as the years go by things will evolve. I am always inspired by family traditions, they have the ability to create the most magical and wonderful memories.


Nicole said...

my mother in law told me about that book and said it was awesome!

i love the advent calendar that is so cool, i bet your little ones are so excited!!!

Stacy F said...

Oh how fun! I'm going to have to steal some of your great ideas!!

Lora said...

You are too much! I am so excited to start some traditions of our own. What fun ideas!

Lisa said...

Love your traditions- especially your advent calender with so many fun Christmas ideas! I might have to steal a couple of those!

Erin S said...

I love your advent calendar, its so cute! And I am definetely going to get that Elf book, Carter would love it! Hope you are feeling good!

Kendra@My Insanity said...

I love the book idea. I've thought about doing something similar. Now, just to make the time to do the advent calendar and read a bedtime story every night!

Anonymous said...

Aren't the holidays so much fun?! The calendar is a tradition in Trent's family as well and Blake and his wife have the elf book. SOOOO Cute!! So do I get to see you over the holidays?!?

Isaura said...

tara, great advent board! i saw this on martha and like your idea of doing the christmas experiences. the little elf on the shelf book is great. i collect kids books and someone gave me this book last year. i love him because he looks so retro.
i was telling marc that we need to start playing christmas music around here cuz i'm not quite feeling the spirit yet and can't muster up the courage to dig for my christmas decor.

crazigirl80 said...

How are your boxes stuck to the board? Did you paint the boxes as well? I LOVE it!!!Any tips? I think I will copy your idea!!!

dixonfamily said...

Great ways to celebrate everyday!!! I love all of your ideas to make the whole month special. I'll have to borrow some of your ideas. I still want to make that advent calendar!! maybe by next year. I hope you guys had a great thanksgiving. I can't believe it was already a year ago that we did it together.

Claire said...

Where did you get your cute calendar? love it! We should get together when you guys are home?!

Knowles Family said...

I'm impressed you're already up to getting the Christmas stuff out! I love the advent calendar and looked at the other post you had. Can you give me more details about what you did for the numbers?
Tell Dave and the kids hi for us, and your family, too! I hope your parents are loving the new house (which I suppose isn't really new anymore!)!

Christy said...

such great ideas, thanks! i LOVE the advent calander, i've been looking for one and i think yours is cuter than anything you can find in the store.

Bailey Family said...

Can I come and spend the month with you guys?

Kim @ The Celebration Shoppe said...

I LOVE your idea and I'm sharing it with my readers today! Thanks so much for the inspiration!