Monday, January 7, 2013

The Top Five Things We Did This Christmas

Despite starting a new job this fall and having a new baby in the house, since Esme is two I decided this is the year that I wanted to be more intentional about our family's Christmas traditions- both deciding what they would be and actually doing them.

It helped that I planned an Advent activity for families at our church and as part of that I put together a booklet full of ideas for celebrating Advent and Christmas in the home.  As I was putting together ideas for that, I spent some time on Pinterest.  In my opinion, Pinterest could also be called "the go-to place for great ideas."

In addition to gathering ideas from Pinterest, I also thought about my favorite Christmas traditions from growing up, the ones I wanted to pass on to our family.  And then from that list I picked ones that I actually thought were doable this year.

Here are my five favorite things we did that I fully plan on repeating next year:
  1. Cookies for Santa and reindeer food for Santa's reindeer.  Seeing Esme's excitement at the empty plate and hearing her say "Santa ate all the cookies!" over and over on Christmas day made this a winner.
  2. I made a very simple felt Christmas tree and ornaments and taped it to the inside of our front door.  She loved taking the felt ornaments off and putting them on again.
  3. Baking cookies!  Once again, Esme LOVED this.  And once again, we kept it simple: two kinds of cookies, both that Esme could help with.  Of course, Esme loved to eat the cookies too, so now we know what we'll be giving our neighbors next year. 
  4. Put out a nativity set for Esme to play with.  It was fun to see her move around the various figures and interact with them.  For some reason, Jesus kept ending up in the palm tree.  It took me awhile, but it finally dawned on me that this might be her interpretation of "Rock-a-bye baby, in the tree top..."
  5. Incorporate Esme in our mailing and wrapping.  One of the things I am learning as a parent of a toddler is how necessary it is to find something Esme can do to help with any given project or activity.  "I help, Mommy?  What/how doing Mommy?" are two refrains we hear often in our house and it's just wonderful.  I certainly want to tap this helpful and inquisitive nature.  So when we were mailing and stamping our Christmas cards, Esme stamped our return address.  And though I wrapped all our presents myself, I bought bows just so Esme could stick one on each box.  
It turns out this was the perfect year to get intentional about our family's Christmas traditions.  Having a two year old in the house is a wonderful reminder of the joy and wonder of the season.  I am already looking forward to next year as we celebrate Advent and Christmas together as a family.

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