Each year that my kids get older, Christmas becomes a little more exciting—for them, certainly. But maybe even more so for me. It’s so much fun to see them “get” Christmas more and more—both the significance of Jesus coming as a tiny baby destined to save the world and also just the pure, unadulterated joy that is tree-trimming and gingerbread houses, gift-wrapping and Salvation Army bell-ringer donating, decorating sugar cookies and reading Luke 2 on Christmas morning.
But since we’re a young family, we’re still figuring out what traditions work best for us.
I think we’ve got one nailed down, though, and that is a special Christmas breakfast.
This will be the 3rd year in a row (I blogged about it our first year) that we set a festive table and load it up with special treats like fancy fruit salad and homemade pigs in a blanket (not so fancy, but yummy for sure).
Shaun was gone all last week on a work trip, which means I can hardly tell you what happened on any particular day, other than keeping us all alive, fed, and marginally in our right minds. Of course, some of the craziness was for an especially good “cause” since I was getting ready to join Shaun in Riverside, California (do you remember our last trip there?) for the weekend.
I knew that by the time I got back (I get home this afternoon), the frenzy of preparations and recovering from my whirlwind weekend vacation (I’m guessing I’m not the only one who needs a nap after my vacations?) would make these last 10 days before Christmas zoom by.
So the day before I left for California, while the boys were at school and the girls were napping, I went ahead and decorated for our special breakfast (which will happen sometime before Christmas morning because, well, ain’t nobody got time for leisurely breakfasts when there are presents to be ripped open).
(Remember the plate wall?)
If you’ve been following along on Instagram, then you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been getting my Christmas craft on.
I made this fun advent countdown banner (tutorial coming soon!)
I also stole my bathroom fabric art and Christmas-if-ied it a bit.
(I really do want to have a merry heart, instead of a Scroogey, stressed out one, for Christmas).
I also took my spray-painted “twigmas” tree from last year and hung it with some old ornaments and some new (the colorful ones are from a jumbo pack I bought at Sam’s Club).
I wrapped the jar in burlap and then hot glued leftover stencil letters to add a little “joy.”
I piled more of the colorful ornaments into the center of my Target wooden rosette wreath (from two years ago, but I think they still have it in stores) for an easy centerpiece.
Of everything on the table, though, my favorites are definitely these quirky reindeer plates that I scored at Goodwill.
And, of course, Rudolph.
We don’t do Santa at our house even a little bit, but these plates were just too happy to pass up. I’m excited for my kids to see them (although, I’m a little afraid that a squabble may break out over who gets “the astronaut one”).
And this one?
This one just made me laugh.
I’m really looking forward to a) seeing my munchkins’ sweet faces this afternoon (the weekend was amazing, and I will tell you about it soon) and b) seeing their reactions to the breakfast nook Christmas makeover.
So, what about you guys? What are your favorite Christmas traditions? We didn’t make gingerbread houses last year, but I think we’re going to try to this year. I love them!
At what age did your kids start “getting” Christmas? Della just turned three, and she had fun last year, but she’s pretty much full-on giddy about all things “Kissmas” and giggles maniacally every time she spots a Christmas tree or a house all lit up with twinkle lights.
What a lovely tradition! 🙂 Our “traditions” are in limbo . . . this is the first year that we won’t be going to my husband’s aunt’s house for Christmas lunch. I grew up staying at home with my immediate family, he grew up going to see both sides of the family and all of the relatives. We have yet to find the perfect balance and every year looks different, but this year it feels especially important to scale back a bit and spend a little more time together just the three (almost four) of us.
So glad to have found your blog through the Christmas tour link up! I look forward to snooping around a bit more. 😉
Our favorite Christmas traditions involve my addiction to making advent calendars. We have 16 now, and I’m restricting myself to one new one next year. : ) Only one involves candy, lest you think I spend the month of Dec in a house with 8 sugar-high kids. Others count down the days, add a nativity figure to a scene, provide a joke of the day, a kind deed of the day, 4 more pieces to a 100 piece puzzle, or another block with a name of Jesus (Good Shepherd, Messiah, etc.) to the display shelf, or a piece of mail to one person. We all really love it, and I love extending Christmas through a whole season, rather than just a day.
We also started labeling one gift “To: The Mystery Kid” each year, a gift that is much prized in spite of not adding anything they wouldn’t already get. Everyone spends an amazing amount of time studying the gift and listing reasons why they HAVE to be the “Mystery Kid…”. : )
We’ve got about 37 more “favorite” traditions too, but I’ll stop with this book, sorry! : )
Hi Abby, love your blog-love your house. Just curious about your no Santa policy. I am not a big fan of the guy in the red suit myself and down play his part in Christmas around here. Thanks!
On Christmas Eve, after church, as many people from the family who can all gather at someone’s house (mom and dad’s, mine, one of my sisters’…whomever plays host that year). There’s a small dinner, nothing special in the feast category, but the fun comes in a gift swap. We limit the gift to $5.00 so that even the kids can join in. Anyone who brings a gift can participate. We all draw numbers and then have a little gift exchange. #1 chooses first, then #2 can steal #1’s gift, or select a different present to open, and on it goes. After all presents have been opened, #1 has the ultimate last word by either sticking with what he has, or swapping one last time. There are usually some pretty hysterical things there, and the expressions on people’s faces are just priceless.
For the little ones, it keeps the time on Christmas Eve from just crawling, and we get to have extra time with the family. It’s a win-win tradition all the way around.
One of my favorite memories of Christmas morning is our family’s special breakfast. We didn’t have anything fancy at all… my mom baked some of those pillsbury cinnamon rolls after we ate presents. We didn’t eat them very often, so it was a huge treat. Now that my sister and I are both older and on our own, my mom still buys us each some cinnamon rolls to bake at our own homes for Christmas. I love it. =)
Your decor looks great! Love how you used those fab blue jars!