Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What are You Doin' New Year's, New Year's Eve?

New Year's Eve Photo Booth

I'm totally going to be in trouble for posting that photo, because Bria doesn't like how her eyebrow looks. I also have no idea why, now that she is a teen, I suddenly have no qualms posting photos she doesn't like. Maybe one of my New Year's Resolutions should be to quit that.

But that's for tomorrow.

Today is New Year's Eve, and I am starting something new.

My friend Lacey has done this fun New Year's Eve Tree, and every time I see her post pictures of it, I think "I want to do that." But the Christmas Vacation Laziness in me kicks in and stays on the couch. Then Lacey told me that she mostly keeps up her Christmas decorations and only takes down the ones that aren't silver or gold.  And the Christmas Vacation Laziness paused for a moment. Hmm. My tree is red and gold. And there's more gold than red. That might not be so difficult.

But then the Christmas Vacation Laziness kicked in again and said, "You'd have to drag up bins from the basement and drag them down again.  There's nowhere to put all the decorations you take down and nowhere to hide a bin up here.  Just stay on the couch and read.  Everybody's doing it."

But I found a way around that darn Christmas Vacation Laziness, and I did the dang tree.  And I'm so happy!  Take that, Christmas Vacation Laziness!

I got new boots for Christmas that came in a big ol' boot box. Joel got new running shoes, and that box was fairly large, too. So, I stuffed all the red ornaments and ribbons into those two boxes, closed them up, and put them back under the tree. I set the angel underneath the tree, too. Ha! I outsmarted my lazy side. Go me.

New Year's Eve Tree Topper

I used a New Year's Party Hat for the tree topper, and this is a terrible picture. My Christmas Vacation Laziness wasn't about to go find a step stool to get a better angle which would also have gotten me a better focus. Oh well, you can't expect me to outsmart ALL the laziness.

New Year's Eve Tree Decorations

I put some 2014 cardboard sunglass decorations on as well...just to make it absolutely clear that this is no longer a Christmas tree.

New Year's Eve Tree Balloons

I used gold and silver balloons, and each of them is filled with a random amount of money.  Basically, I raided my wallet which usually has very little cash in it and spread out whatever I found amongst the ten balloons.  Some have dollar bills, and some have only a penny.

Each balloon also has a time written on it, and a little rolled up paper with some activity to do on it.  At the prescribed time, one of the girls will pop the balloon, collect the money, and we'll all do whatever it tells us to do. I started them at 2:00 pm and the girls are currently working on a fun NYE craft project (covering candles with mod podge and gold glitter).  I stole the activity idea from Craftibilities, and she came up with much better activities than I did, but I am pleased to say that at least I started somewhere and outsmarted both my Christmas Vacation Laziness and the fact that I'm not a very fun mom.  Maybe next year I can aspire for more exciting activities.  For now, the girls are thrilled.  T-H-R-I-L-L-E-D.

NYE Photobooth

We invited some friends over for later tonight and I thought it would be fun to have a NYE photobooth. The girls and I got it set up (glittery gold wrapping paper taped to the window) with some fun props I got over at I Heart Naptime.  We took a few preview pictures, and I think the kids will have tons of fun with this tonight.  I'll take some with my big camera, and they can use iPhonography and iPodography for the rest. Maybe even the adults will join in on the fun.

New Year's Eve Photobooth

And what's a NYE get together without munchies?  We're in the process of setting up a fun table with all the gold and silver things we can find, including the glittery candles that the girls are making right now.


Crappy iPhone photo...darn Christmas Vacation Laziness again.

I saw the "midnight kisses" idea in multiple places online this week, so I thought that would be fun for the girls. I, myself, will be kissing The Maestro at midnight.  But, if you want to have some chocolate midnight kisses, too, here's the printable.  I just made it to match my Happy New Year printable that I posted the other day.

Midnight Kisses printable

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Lake Effect Snow, a Surly Teen, and a Very Warm Christmas

Happy Sunday after Christmas, everyone! It basically hasn't stopped snowing for the entire month of December so I thought I'd highlight yet another lake effect snowstorm in our Sunday photo. Just in case you can't see for yourself, Bria is mightily unhappy about it.  Even though I let her wear my Brand New Awesome Suitable for Antarctica Snow Boots. Ah well. I can't please everyone.

IMG_7254 snow angel Sunday photo web

Sophia, on the other hand, couldn't make a snow angel fast enough, even though she wasn't wearing snowpants. A little thing like that wouldn't stop her! She is a professional snow angel maker, after all.

We had a lovely Christmas and continue to have a lovely Christmas vacation, even with all the snow. If you'd like to hear all about it, complete with about 852 photos, keep reading. If you're only here for the Sunday Photo, I advise you to stop now before you are forced to look at 852 photos of Overstuffed family Christmas Traditions.


On Christmas Adam (December 23), we had a somewhat insane day full of cleaning, baking, frantic last minute shopping, and delivering neighbor gifts. But we hunkered down that evening with our silly Christmas socks (maybe not-so-silly Christmas socks this year) and cuddled together to watch George C. Scott's A Christmas Carol. We watched it on our amazing new TV that we've had since October, but is our Christmas gift from my parents. Thanks, Mom & Dad!  We have really loved not having a dinosaur for a television!

Christmas Eve Dinner

Christmas Eve was spent mostly just being really excited that it was Christmas Eve! And doing some preparations and having fun together.  In the past, we've done our Christmas Eve dinner with friends, but this year I was feeling the need to just be with my own little family. The Maestro felt the same way, so we had a very nice Christmas Eve dinner of pot roast, carrots, peas and potatoes with just the five of us.

Christmas Eve Dinner Place Setting

Of course, I always love to make the table beautiful on holidays. It's a tradition for me, and one of my favorite things to do. The place card holders were purchased a couple of years ago on an after Christmas sale (I've used them at other Christmas dinners, too). I made the napkin rings by stringing a small ornament (purchased at Target's dollar spot) onto a piece of grosgrain ribbon and gluing the ends together. About as simple as you can get!
IMG_7201 Bria Christmas Eve Dinner webIMG_7203  Sophia Christmas Eve dinner webIMG_7206 Chloe Christmas Eve dinner web

I make my girls' (and Joel!) dress up for holiday dinners. They don't have to be super fancy, I just don't like them to be in sweats or tee-shirts for our nice dinners.  I should have been born in another era. Because if I could make them dress super fancily for dinner, I totally would. But I will take what I can get. I sure do have beautiful girlies, don't I?

IMG_7211 Christmas jammies 2013 web

After dinner, we opened up our Christmas pajamas--always an exciting event!  This year, the girls' PJs all had Christmas doggies on them.  Joel and I got some, too, but nothing worth taking a photo of.  Just nice and warm.  Once our pajamas were on, we headed upstairs to listen to Amahl and the Night Visitors by the light of the Christmas tree up there.

IMG_7227 Christmas Eve web
And somehow Joel and I fit in all that mess, too!

By necessity (which has, of course, become tradition), we all sleep upstairs together on Christmas Eve. The girls' bedrooms are upstairs, while The Maestro and I sleep in a bedroom downstairs which happens to be right next to the Christmas tree.  We can't have them seeing their gifts without us, so we sleep upstairs with them! They usually fall asleep at some point during the opera, but this year Sophia listened to the whole thing and was too excited to fall asleep after that. I was glad that Santa doesn't fill our stockings because I finally told her I had to go down and do that before Santa actually came. When I came back up, Joel left to go fill my stocking, and I cuddled with Sophia until she finally fell asleep. I crept back downstairs to find Joel working on putting together Sophia's Santa gift--an art easel.
IMG_7219 Santa gift web

I helped him with that, and then we crept back upstairs to work on Santa's gift for Bria and Chloe.  New bedspreads, lamps, and a mirror for their room.

IMG_7221 from Santa webIMG_7223 from santa webIMG_7224 from Santa web

Oops. No photo of the lamps. And Santa didn't realize that one of the shams was a Euro sham--so I have a couple Euro pillows on their way to the house via Amazon Prime which should be arriving tomorrow. Can't wait to see what it all looks like totally complete.

The Maestro thought that this was a super weird gift for Santa to bring them, but I assured him that new bedspreads were on both of their lists (they've had their old ones since we moved here more than four years ago), and that they would freak out about getting a mirror. We also peeled off all of the cute decals that were in their room--I don't have any photos of those on the blog, but they were flowers and caterpillars and frogs and the like. They are too old for that kind of thing now (sniff, sniff).

IMG_7220 Santa gift web

Santa left them a scavenger hunt since he couldn't bring their whole bedroom down to the living room. At first, Sophia thought her art easel was for all three of them, so there were tears (who ever heard of tears on Christmas morning?) when the older two found their new and improved bedroom. It took a while for me to figure out what was wrong, but as soon as she understood that the art easel was only for her, she perked up considerably. And, just as I predicted, Bria and Chloe were over the moon about the new bedspreads and especially the mirror.

The Maestro and I miraculously got to bed before midnight this year. I don't think that's happened since Bria was teeny-tiny. Amazing! I wouldn't say we slept well all cramped together with the girls and the dog, but we'll do anything for one night, especially if that night is Christmas Eve.

IMG_7231 Christmas morning web

And then it was Christmas morning!  Sophia woke up at about 8:15--a little early for us, since we typically don't get up until around 9:00 on Christmas morning. Joel always makes them stand at the top of the stairs while he gets his video recording ready to capture their faces on Christmas morning.

We only do Santa gifts and stockings before breakfast--and you know what was a huge hit in the stockings this year?  Their coupon books. Who knew that they would be so thrilled to be offered the opportunity to skip chores and music practice? And to go on a date with Mom and Dad?  Okay, so I totally knew, but it was really fun to see how much they liked those.

After a lovely breakfast of bacon and pannukakku, we opened gifts.  And this is where I stopped taking photos (for which you're probably grateful).  I actually did really well this year to keeping in budget and keeping the gifts under the tree few.  The Maestro spoiled me absolutely rotten, though.

His goal was to keep me warm this winter.  I got a heated throw, the amazing snow boots previously mentioned, cozy slippers, a warm jacket to wear in the house, a warm outdoor headband, and a new Kindle. According to Chloe, the Kindle is to keep my mind warm.

I was so cozy after opening everything, that I had no desire to get up and bake the pies for Christmas dinner with our friends. And when I did finally get up, the dog had stolen my heated throw blanket in no time. But I let her share with me while the pies were in the oven.


And I didn't even bother to clean up the aftermath.  It could wait a while--I was finally WARM!

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas as well!  I'm working on my word for the year and I will have a post all about that coming up soon.

Happy Sunday!

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Happy New Year Glitter Printable

New Year's always gets the short end of the stick when it comes to holiday decorating.  I don't usually take my Christmas decor down until New Year's Day (or even a few days later), so decorating for a holiday that comes and goes so quickly after Christmas is never top priority.

But I'd like it to be.

My biggest obstacle is that I generally lie around doing almost nothing in the days between Christmas and New Year's Eve.  It's cold, the days are short, I have very few commitments, and cozying up on the couch with a book feels pretty wonderful.  So, if I'm going to do any sort of decorating for New Year's, it's going to have to be quick and easy.

Enter my favorite easy holiday decorating method:  printables.

I recently learned how to do a fun new technique with glitter in photoshop, so I dragged myself off the couch to try my hand at a glittery New Year's printable.

Let Earth Receive Her King Printable

This is what my Christmas decorations looked like (you can find the Let Earth Receive Her King printable HERE).

Happy New Year free glitter printable

And here is what it looks like after switching out the printable.  This took me less than one minute, leaving plenty of time for lounging around eating Christmas chocolates and reading on my new Kindle.  Later, I decided to switch out the Christmas trees for some silver glittery ones I had (see top picture in post).  This involved walking across the room and doing a switcheroo of Christmas decor--again leaving me plenty of time to lie around on the couch today.

New Year free glitter printable

I wasn't sure how the glitter would look once it was printed, but it looks pretty darn real, don't you think?  I was impressed, anyway. (I did print it on glossy photo paper, which makes it more sparkly than if I printed on cardstock.) I foresee many more glittery printables coming in 2014.

Happy New Year free printable

Click image to download from Flickr.  Help downloading photos from Flickr can be found here.

Happy end of 2013—I hope you are spending it as lazily as I am!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Oh Joy! It's Christmas!

Our 2013 Christmas card.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Holiday Photo Bombs

We are not the picture perfect family.

We came home from church today to find a plate of Christmas goodies left for us by our neighbors. It was a pretty darn good plate of goodies, too, and we all knew it because every year this particular plate is pretty amazing.

So why is Sophia so upset in our Sunday photo? Because I wasn't sure if the chocolate covered cookie ball thingies on the plate were gluten-free or not and she wanted me to call and find out RIGHT NOW. (As it turned out, they were made with regular Rice Krispies, which are not certified GF, and I wasn't taking any chances since something gave her a bad belly ache yesterday.)(Don't worry, she got to eat plenty of GF fudge from that plate.)

Thank goodness for The Maestro and his crazy booty-shaking dances to make the girls laugh.

IMG_7189 Sunday photo web

Except his shaking booty photo bombed the only photo where all three of my offspring were smiling.


Then I told Chloe to try and take a photo of The Maestro and me, since we're not in on these Sunday photos very often ever.  We should at least make an appearance on the Sunday before Christmas!

Bria thought it would be funny to photo bomb us.

IMG_7191 Sunday photo web

And then I decided to take my glasses off, and somehow all of the pictures taken sans spectacles were blurry.  HOW DID THE CAMERA KNOW I COULDN'T SEE?

IMG_7193 Sunday photo web

Nope.  If you're looking for a picture perfect family, look elsewhere.  You won't find it here.

BUT WAIT!  I won a full photo shoot with this photographer at a Christmas party this week. I am so freaking excited about this that I could scream. Okay, so maybe I did scream. And Joel said I was acting way more excited about this this than I did when he asked me to marry him.  So yeah, I'm excited.

Because if anyone can make us into a picture perfect family, brockit can. I am in love with their work. How could I not be excited about that?

Picture perfect family finally coming soon to a blog near you....stay tuned.  (Do you think it will be okay to use the same photo every Sunday for the rest of eternity?)

Friday, December 20, 2013

How to Start Your Own Family Christmas Traditions + 14 Christmas Tradition Ideas

14 fun family Christmas tradition ideas to help you start your own.

How to start your own family christmas traditions

I love Christmas. Some of my happiest childhood moments were at Christmas time and I have such great memories of the family Christmas traditions we did at our house. Family traditions for any holiday are important, but Christmas traditions bring an extra special magic.

When I got married and started my own family, I knew that having our own Christmas traditions was very important to me. I couldn't wait to establish those traditions for our little family, but I wasn't really sure how to do it or where to start. Over the years we have established several wonderful Christmas traditions that our children look forward to and have (I hope) created happy memories for them.

Whenever I hear the word "tradition" I immediately think of Tevye walking out on the stage at the very beginning of Fiddler on the Roof and attempting to explain his traditions and where they came from.  But he can never quite explain why they are there. "It's just...tradition!" he says.

And it's true. It isn't always easy to figure out where certain traditions came from—we just do them because they are a tradition and tradition is important. Traditions help us feel connected, they give us something to look forward to, and they bring more meaning into our lives.

I love thinking about our Christmas traditions and where they came from. The Maestro and I are celebrating our 15th Christmas as a married couple this year, and it's really fun to look back and see how our family traditions have developed and evolved in the relatively short amount of time we've been married. The most interesting thing to me is the many different ways that traditions can start.

And no matter how it started, once a tradition is established, we don't let it go! Mostly because the girls are huge into tradition—they won't let me drop things even if I'm feeling like I want to—because they have found that connection and meaning in our Christmas traditions. It's pretty amazing how that works.

Here's how our family Christmas traditions started:

There are lots of ways to find family Christmas tradition ideas. Here are 14 fun ideas for your own family traditions, plus how to create your own unique Christmas traditions for your family.

We used the Christmas traditions from our own families of origin.

1. Christmas pajamas

Christmas pajamas are a good example of this. When I was growing up, we always got new pajamas for Christmas.  My mom often made them, though that's one tradition I haven't carried on as much as I would like to.

My favorite Christmas pajamas were from the year I was 6 or 7 and my mom made me a red flannel nightgown with a nightcap!  I just loved wearing that nightcap, though I'm not entirely sure why. That was the year that I sang If Santa Were My Daddy (a la Jimmy Osmond) with a few other girls who were the daughters of the ladies in my mom's singing trio. Her trio used to perform all over the place on Christmas, and that year we little girls got to perform along with them, and we all wore our Christmas pajamas. And nightcaps to match!  (That was my very first professional singing gig, by the way—I got paid in Lifesavers.)

Christmas pajamas — a fun family Christmas tradition

We always got pajamas, but I don't remember that we always opened them up on Christmas Eve. I just had to text my mom to ask her, and she said we started out that way, but then we kids didn't want to open them on Christmas Eve, so they let us open one gift under the tree instead. I do remember opening one gift on Christmas Eve, and maybe because it wasn't always jammies is why I don't necessarily remember it always being pjs. But man, I do remember looking forward to opening that gift on Christmas Eve, jammies or not! And I always loved my Christmas pajamas, no matter when I opened them.

How to start your own family Christmas Traditions — matching Christmas jammies!

2. Open a gift on Christmas Eve

Joel's family didn't do Christmas PJs, but they did open a gift on Christmas Eve—so we are, in a way, continuing this tradition from both of our families by opening pajamas every Christmas Eve. And even though my children figured out a long time ago that the Christmas Eve gift is always, always PJs, they are still ridiculously excited about it every single year.

When it comes to family and holiday traditions, getting married feels a little like marrying someone from a foreign country with an entirely different culture. Joel and I had vastly different holiday traditions when we were children, and though we've tried to implement the ones that are most dear to us, they don't always hold on for whatever reason. It takes a bit of compromise to figure out how you are going to keep your favorite traditions from when you were growing up once you get married. (Unless, of course, you were lucky enough to have the exact same traditions.)

Open Christmas PJs on Christmas Eve—fun family Christmas Tradition

3. Act out the Nativity on Christmas Eve

Our current Christmas Eve tradition is an example of this kind of compromise. In my family, we always acted out the Nativity on Christmas Eve before bed. I always looked so forward to dressing up in a white sheet with gold tinsel on my head to be the angel who announces the birth of our Savior to the shepherds. My parents were usually Mary and Joseph, and my three brothers were shepherds and wisemen. I remember vividly the year my grandmother came to visit for Christmas. I was sad because she got to be the angel, and I had to be Mary instead. That right there proves just how important tradition is to children!

4. Read Luke 2 on Christmas Eve

Joel's family did not act out the Nativity on Christmas Eve—they read it straight from the Bible instead. I just texted him to verify this, and the text I got back said, "Read it. Never act out, NEVER." Which pretty much encapsulates his feelings on the subject, and is the reason why our little family now reads it straight from the Bible with no whiff of acting—not a bathrobe is in sight as we read of the shepherds in the fields. Which is fine, really, since we don't have enough children to play all the parts and they would all be fighting over the angel anyway.

Compromise.  (We still act it out with my family if we are ever there on Christmas Eve.)

We copied our Christmas traditions from other people

5. Listen to Amahl and the Night Visitors on Christmas Eve

I only spent one Christmas as an LDS Missionary, and my companion at the time had a really cool Christmas tradition from her family that I have now stolen.  I remember when she got her Christmas package from her parents, it held a recording of the opera Amahl and the Night VisitorsShe told me that her family all laid around the Christmas tree in the dark every Christmas Eve and listened to the whole opera, which is only about an hour long. Since I am an opera singer, I was already familiar with the opera, and so I immediately loved this idea.

That year my companion and I turned out the lights and gathered around the tiny little Charlie Brown tree in our Romanian apartment (okay, so it was way too small to "gather around") and listened to the opera. I swore right then and there that when I had children of my own that I would implement this tradition.

And I did. We didn't start it right away, but I always talked about it. It didn't really make a lot of sense to do when the girls were still super young, though. Plus, The Maestro wasn't so sure about the idea. But then one Christmas, while he was still working on his doctorate, he conducted a stage production of Amahl and the Night Visitors and became familiar with the music. After that, he was on board.

The first year we did this I was so excited! Sophia was a little more than a year old, and if you know Sophia at all, you know that she had trouble sitting still, but that year Bria loved it. She was 8 years old, and she got it. Last year, Bria and Chloe both told me how much they love listening to Amahl every Christmas Eve and it made my heart swell. It's definitely become one of my very favorite traditions.

6. Read a Christmas book together every night in December

Another tradition we copied from others is reading a Christmas book every night. We've only been doing it the last few years, and it's because I kept seeing it all over the internet and thought it was a great idea. I already had several Christmas books I had acquired over the years, and I have continued to buy a few more each year.

In fact, I now have enough Christmas books to probably read 2 or 3 each night in December. But the kids look forward to getting them out and it's nice to have a big selection to choose from (though we do have our favorites!).

24 Christmas Books to Read With Your Family
11 More Christmas Books to Read With Your Family
Even More Christmas Books to Read With Your Family

We thought of some Christmas traditions all by ourselves

7. Watch the same Christmas movie together each year

The Maestro decided about five years ago that we should make it a tradition to watch the movie A Christmas Carol (the one with George C. Scott) every year. Because we already had Christmas Eve traditions in place, we chose to make Christmas Adam (that's what my girls call December 23rd) the night to watch it.

The first year was amusing, because the girls were terrified by all the ghosts—most especially Jacob Marley and The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Sophia even had bad dreams about "the black ghost" for several months after we watched it. But, the next year they asked about when we'd be watching it again, and the tradition has stuck.

This will be our fifth year for A Christmas Carol on Christmas Adam, but we have now added in watching Elf on December 22 and It's a Wonderful Life on Christmas Day.

8. Put on a family Christmas music recital

We've thought up other traditions over the years that didn't really stick. It's okay if they don't stick—your kids will make sure the really good ones stick anyway and you can only do so many!

One year we did a family music recital on Christmas Eve. Each of us played a Christmas song on our own instruments. It was really fun, but we haven't done it again since. I'm wondering if I should dig it up again and see if it sticks this time now that the kids are older and have more musical ability than they did then.

9. Fill Christ's manger with hay

Another year, we tried to do a tradition where we put a piece of straw into a basket every time we did something kind for someone else. We had fun with it, but I think it's one that we should have started when the kids were a lot younger in order for it to stick. Plus the "straw" I bought was full of glitter and made a huge mess, so it didn't encourage me to do it again the next year.

Sometimes the conditions just aren't right for a new Christmas tradition to make it to actual tradition status. No worries—it's still fun to try new things and plenty of other traditions will pass muster.

We take universal Christmas traditions and add our own twist

10. Leave cookies for Santa

Some Christmas traditions that we do are pretty universal. Leaving cookies out for Santa Claus, for instance. Just about everybody does it, but with their own twists. Some leave carrots for the reindeer, others put reindeer food out in the yard, some bake a special batch of cookies just for Santa, and others are fine with just leaving him some Oreos. But most people do some variation of this tradition.

11. New Christmas dresses

Getting a new Christmas dress for your daughters is a pretty universal tradition, I think.

Family Christmas tradition ideas — matching Christmas dresses.

My twist has been that they must match. Though I'm sure that's not unique at all—it's a mother of girls thing. I do love this tradition, though. I have so much fun shopping for the perfect Christmas dresses for them.  And I love doing our Christmas card photoshoot in the dresses as well.  I think the girls really like this tradition, too. Sending Christmas cards is another one of those universal traditions that I love doing, too, by the way.

Christmas tradition to have matching holiday dresses

Unfortunately, this year their Christmas dresses don't match.  I was a little sad about it, but I coordinated it as best I could. I guess once Sophia's around 12 or 13 we can start doing the matching thing again, but by then Bria will be off to college, so the era of the matching Christmas (and Easter!) dress is probably over.

Fun Family Christmas Tradition — matching Christmas dresses for the Christmas card

I fully admit to being so sad about this new development, that our 2013 Christmas card does not even feature their 2013 Christmas dresses, even though I really love their Christmas dresses. I felt that maybe it was time to start a new tradition for the cards instead of matching dresses all the time. Maybe next year we'll actually do a family picture, which I haven't done for years!

Our Christmas traditions just sort of happened

12. Silly Christmas socks

These are, in my opinion, the best sort of traditions. They are also the most unique.

Remember how we decided to watch A Christmas Carol every year on Christmas Adam? Well, two years ago, Joel brought home a gift from one of his colleagues on December 23rd. It was a stocking full of silly Christmas socks—one pair for each member of the family.

When the girls got home from school that day (yes, they usually are still in school on December 23rd), I passed out the socks and they immediately put them on because, wouldn't you? They kept them on all afternoon and evening, so of course they were wearing them when it was time to watch the movie.

Last December, Chloe kept saying "I can't wait until we get new silly socks and we watch A Christmas Carol!"  In her mind, it was already a set-in-stone sort of tradition, so of course I bought new socks for everyone. And right now I have three pairs of silly Christmas socks hidden in a drawer, waiting to be worn on Christmas Adam.

2017 update: Four more years later and the silly sock Christmas tradition is firmly set in stone at our house.

Christmas traditions for families — silly socks and a movie

The first Christmas Carol Silly Socks thanks to my iPhone. I didn't know it was going to be a tradition or I might have taken a better photo!

13. Eat a special food for Christmas breakfast

Eating pannukakku (Finnish pancakes) for Christmas morning is another tradition that just happened. We decided to make it the first Christmas after we moved here (this area is the Finnish capital of the United States) and it has stuck. It's something the girls look forward to on Christmas morning. And me, too! Especially since it works really well gluten-free!

14. Christmas morning scavenger hunt

Another one that just happened is a Christmas morning scavenger hunt. This one was born out of having bought suitcases for the girls because we were going on a cruise in early January and they needed them. I didn't want to wrap them, and they weren't from Santa, so I hid them and made clues for them to find them.

The next year was the year that I decided Santa couldn't have all the credit for the amazing American Girl things they were getting, so we did a scavenger hunt for those.

Last year I didn't make a scavenger hunt for the girls, but I made one for Joel. And I'm guessing that it's become an expectation now, so I better decide what I'm going to hide and start coming up with clues!

We sure love all of our family Christmas traditions, and I'm sure a few new ones will continue to pop up before we're through!  As our children get older, it's easier to add some of the more serious traditions in to our repertoire. What I love most, though, is how tradition is kind of like the glue that keeps us together.

Because, as Tevye put it, "without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof!"

What are your favorite family Christmas traditions?

More of our Christmas Traditions:
Top Ten Favorite Christmas Albums
Christmas Traditions, Old and New
I Believe in Santa Claus
How to Plan a Christmas Caroling Party

FAMILY CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS are the best part of the holiday season. Learn how to START NEW CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS plus get 14 FUN CHRISTMAS TRADITION IDEAS for your own family.

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