I am including pictures from past years as well as current.
One of ours starts far ahead, and that's sending money for gifts to our sponsored children. I have two in Africa and one in Guatemala, and Jasmine has one in Africa. Sometimes we do shoe boxes or pulls tags from the Salvation Army tree.
When the kids were little, I gave them a Christmas book every Thanksgiving. That way they had a whole month to read it before Christmas. We stored the past ones in a bin and pulled them out at Thanksgiving too. We stopped that tradition, although we still add books to the collection, but the adult kids have been given their books to keep. I gave Jessica a Christmas book for River (due Jan. 1) this Thanksgiving to start her collection.
We replaced that tradition with making gingerbread houses in teams on Thanksgiving. You can see our past endeavors HERE
|This year I provided graham crackers, frosting and an assortment of marshmallows and candy and let them use their imagination. This is a penguin enclosure.|
Then we begin the decorating. Stockings go up on the fireplace (which we have never used).
The tree goes up.
Ty puts up the outside lights.
Several nativities go up.
Christmas cards are signed and sent.
We always have an assortment of Christmas concerts, church programs and programs at the Civic Center to attend. Jasmine is in the County Christian Youth Choir and has had three concerts this season.
There are two or three different parades the different kids have taken part in over the years. Jessica and Tyler marched with Explorers, Jessica marched with the band, Adam marched with the band, Jasmine is marching now.
We have had various encounters with Santa depending on where we were. When Rick was active duty, parents would give Santa the presents to give the kids. For several years we had no Santa encounters (and we refer to it as a game or a make believe thing), but the past two years we've had breakfast with Santa.
The day before Christmas we bake a birthday cake for Jesus.
|2010 twins first Christmas home|
|2014 Previously we had a boys' cake and a girls' cake but with less kids home now, we just made one.|
On Christmas Eve we all go to the church service.
Then we read the Christmas story (one of the adult kids reads it now) and empty the stockings on Christmas Eve. Now that is the time the big kids come over to celebrate, so we exchange gifts with them too. Things have been changing the past couple of years as the older ones have moved into adult life and out of the house.
On both Thanksgiving Eve and Christmas Eve we watch a movie. For a while it was Polar Express, Sound of Music or a couple of others. Now it is whatever everyone agrees on.
Christmas morning the ones still in the house open gifts.
When the kids were younger, we'd have one last gift of Christmas. We'd hide a game, and they would have to follow clues to find it. When they got older, we just put the game under the tree.
Right after Christmas we buy each kid a special Christmas ornament for the next year. For a while I cross stitched them. Then it got to be too much, and I wasn't enjoying it. So we let them pick ones to have their names engraved on. The past two years we've got Disney ornaments after Christmas for the next year. So that trip may happen soon.
On either Christmas night or New Year's Eve, we light sparklers to show that Jesus is the light of the world.
Now that you've made it through this long post about our traditions, what do you do to celebrate the holidays?