December is here and with that the countdown to Christmas has begun.
Christmas traditions are something that many families carry on to make Christmas a special and memorable time for their loved ones.
Mr.CBB and I recently had a brief conversation about Christmas this year and how I will not see most of my family.
He made the comment to me that the older you get the weirder life gets and weird would be an accurate description of my first thoughts about how Christmas will be this year.
As families grow and many want to start having their own Christmas morning with their kids in their own home, things change and this is why Christmas traditions become so important.
Some traditions may not be able to continue forever but can certainly make some memories that can last a lifetime.
Spending time with family and friends and helping those in need is more important to me than any gift my kids and I may receive.
It’s easy to get caught up in the commercialization of the holidays and forget the true meaning of Christmas but that doesn’t mean you have to celebrate like Scrooge.
Advent calendars are a common Christmas tradition that have been used for years by families as a special way to countdown the 25 days until Christmas.
A lot of Advent calendars include a chocolate behind each day though that doesn’t have to be the case.
Creating your own advent calendar allows you to place whatever items you choose for each day or even just a note behind each day.
A different reminder everyday of the meaning of Christmas, or a special task to do that day such as make someone smile or ‘fill someone’s bucket’ as my son often says, can add a twist to the traditional advent calendar.
Chocolate Advent calendars can be purchased at the dollar store for $1.00-$2.00, though that’s not a significant chunk of change, making your own or having a reusable calendar allows you to be a little creative and may end up using up less of your Christmas budget each year.
Buying Christmas ornaments can get expensive especially if you are decorating your first tree and have zero ornaments to start with.
When my sister’s and I were kids my parents had a wooden ornament box for each of us.
Our parents gave us an ornament for Christmas every year and now we each have our own collection and year after year are working on building ones for our own kids.
Decorating our tree every year brings back a lot of memories from Christmas when I was a kid.
There are a lot of cute, affordable ornaments available each year and they make a great stocking stuffer while helping your kids start their own collection that they can take with them when they move out on their own and start their own Christmas traditions.
Elf on the shelf
The infamous Elf on the Shelf is becoming quite a popular trend for counting down the days until Christmas.
Though the Elf has a reputation of being rather mischievous it can also be a cute tradition that can be used year after year to teach the true meaning of Christmas to your little ones.
A long time friend of mine has allowed me to share a picture of ‘Chippy’, their Elf who sets out tasks for her children and praises them for good deeds well done.
This tradition is not only fun for the kids but is teaching them that Christmas is not just about Santa and unwrapping presents on Christmas morning.
Before there were grandchildren in our family we always drew names for Christmas gift giving.
With a family of 6 and their respective spouses, buying for everyone would have been a quick way to use up our Christmas budgets.
With 5 young kids in our family now gift giving between my sisters and I has been changed to each of us buying and wrapping an ornament that is then put into a bag and we then each get to pull one out.
We are a rather sarcastic family each with our own sense of humour and some of the ornaments, though still nice, have added some laughter to our family Christmas.
This will be the first year that I have not spent Christmas with my sisters, as sad as this makes me I have some great ornaments on my tree to remind me of all our previous fun-filled family Christmas’s.
When planning my list for things to pick up for the kids I stick to buying one thing they want, one thing they need, one thing to read and one thing to play with.
This is a tradition to not overspend and spoil my kids more so than one to make memories but makes creating my shopping list to work away at throughout the year a lot easier.
The gift of giving
Donating items to Goodwill or the Salvation Army is something that we do quite often in our house. My kids will now say to me, ‘Mom I don’t need this toy anymore, let’s give it to another kid who can use it’.
Hearing my kids say this warms my heart, they are learning to care for others and to give to those in need at such a young age. My son came home with a note from school this year and asked if he could take an angel off the ‘Tree of Angels’ at school.
I couldn’t say no and a couple of days later he came home with an angel for a boy aged 0-12 months and out shopping we went.
We even managed to use a $5.00 off coupon, the cost of the gift wasn’t as important as the thought but saving $5.00 made it fit into our budget a little more.
Canadian coupon site Websaver.ca has offered multiple $5.00-$10.00 off coupons this holiday season for some great toys for kids.
Though I had to sign a permission slip for him to pick an Angel from the tree I look forward to making this a yearly tradition where he knows I will say yes! As my kids grow up the “Tree of Angels” may not always be there but I am hoping the desire to want to help others will always continue.
The warm fuzzy feeling of helping someone in need is such a great feeling.
Even though our local Christmas parade fell on the same day as my grandfather’s funeral this year I decided to still make the time to take the kids to the parade.
My kids love parades, and while they are fun and not to mention free, they present a great opportunity for the kids themselves to make a donation to the Foodbank or another charity.
This donation may be a food donation or whatever change I have in my wallet that the kids get to take part in while waiting for Santa Claus to make his way down the road.
While it is nice to receive that new gadget or toy that you have been wanting all year, Christmas for the most part has become too much about gifts and less about sharing the Christmas spirit.
I want my kids to remember our Christmas holidays being about a lot more than just what presents they received rather the traditions and memories that were created.
What are your family’s Christmas traditions?
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