Monday, December 15, 2014

~ Christmas Traditions ~

I've noticed that sometimes we're intentional about starting a tradition… 
And other times we just seem to happen upon something that is 
meaningful or fun, and it naturally becomes a tradition.

I thought I'd share some of our family's Christmas traditions with you 
(and hope you'll share some of yours with me in the comment section below)!

Cutting down our Christmas Tree: We haven't done this every year, but when I visited our oldest son Hudson's fifth grade class, I heard him say that cutting down our tree was his favorite tradition. I knew we would try to make it happen!

It really is a fun family day! We gather hats and gloves and drive out to a family-owned Christmas tree farm, usually stopping for hot chocolate along the way. 

The boys run through the trees, searching for the right one! (We usually take a vote.) 

Our oldest helps cut it down.

The younger two pull it in.

With the tree in our truck, away we go...feeling slightly victorious! 

Santa Sundaes and Hot Chocolate: Our boys (and I) enjoy eating "Santa sundaes" out of these vintage mugs. The sundaes usually consist of peppermint ice cream, whipped cream, hot fudge and sprinkles. 

Our boys also drink their fair share of hot chocolate from these sweet little mugs. 

Oh, and just FYI - these Santa mugs are NOT dishwasher-safe. 
The dishwasher removes all the paint, leaving an all-white, very sad Santa. 

Ornaments and Mini Trees: We have tabletop faux trees for each of our boy's rooms. We let them pick out an ornament each year for their tree. This year, as our 5-year-old unwrapped his ornaments, he pronounced each one his "favorite!"

The Gift of Giving: Children can be self-centered at times. And so can we. We try to think of little ways to encourage generosity and caring hearts with our sons. Some years it's been filling shoeboxes for sailors or children. Other years it's been taking some needed items to our local food bank. 

This year, our boys and their cousins were blessed to be able to play Christmas carols at an adult care center, in a sing-along led by their Grandma. The kids left talking about how nice everyone was. Their hearts were truly joyful after doing something for others. It's interesting how the less we focus on ourselves, the happier we tend to be… 

(Definitely a reminder to myself.)

I've been inspired by so many amazing stories of generosity this year. 
Most of the givers wished to remain anonymous. 

I know as a family, we've hardly scratched the surface on sacrificial giving… I think about giving out of abundance and  about the widow's mite. I think about over-spending and the lack of peace it produces. It makes me uncomfortable, as it should...

Christmastime in the City: While we love country living, we also enjoy a bit of the city at Christmastime. There's just something about the hustle and bustle...

… and all of the lights, and shops open late that brings good cheer! 

We've enjoyed ice skating and gingerbread house displays in Seattle, along with Bellevue's Snowflake Lane Parade.

Advent Buckets~ Counting Down to Christmas: For the last several years, we've used little buckets with numbers for our advent countdown. Each morning, the boys check that day's bucket for small treats or an activity that we'll do together that day. This year, our advent got a makeover. See it here.

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service: We all look forward to the Christmas Eve candlelight service at church. It is a special time, remembering the significance of that first Christmas in Bethlehem, when Jesus came to earth for us! 

Just the other night, my son Noah and I were talking about how the King of Kings came to earth and was born in a barn! He could have come in power and majesty, but he chose to come in such a humble, quiet way...

Family Gatherings: We usually gather with family on both Christmas Eve and Christmas afternoon. There's excitement in the air, plenty of food and lots of cousin playtime during these gatherings!

Whew! That was a long post. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

I would love to hear from you! 

What is one of your favorite family traditions? 
Have you found a meaningful way to give during this season?


I'm sharing with:
Cozy Little House
Cedar Hill Farmhouse


  1. One of my daughter's favorite Christmas traditions is cutting the tree down too-so much fun! Loved the read today!

  2. Oh that's great! It is a fun tradition. Thank you for stopping by and Merry Christmas!

  3. Enjoyed the story this morning. Our most unusual tradition is ordering in Chinese food Christmas Eve. We have an open house and then count heads and order accordingly. Lots of our friends and family have adopted our tradition.

    1. I LOVE the Chinese food tradition! So relaxed and fun. Add me to the list of adopters ;)

  4. Traditions are the very best things you can share with your children...the memories they make! And especially at Christmas...there is so much more to teach them and to take them beyond the "wrapped gifts" and straight to gifts from the heart. I can see you have that covered.

    Wonderful post and I loved seeing pics of those sweet boys of yours! :)

    Jane xx

  5. Christmas traditions is what memories are made of! We use to do the exact same thing for our tree. Now that it's just hubby and I we no longer cut a tree, but our youngest son mentioned how he loved that when he was young. So this year his family, wife and 2 small boys did just that. I always gave my kids an ornament and now I give one to my grands. This year I am starting a new tradition that will be fun and might bring on a few laughs. I am giving each of my grands a 'thrift gift'. Something I find for them at a thrift shop. They know that grammy loves to hunt for treasures! lol! Have a very Merry Christmas!

    1. LOVE it! Please say you'll post about the thrift gifts. I want to see what you find! You are so fun. Have a wonderful Christmas Jann!


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