Monday, December 7, 2015

Making Holiday Memories

  We have many holiday traditions and I've noticed that as the kids get older some of the holiday traditions have fallen by the wayside.  We've had to modify traditions and give up those that my kids have outgrown.


They no longer want to go see Santa and have their picture taken and they didn't want to help decorate the house this year.  I used to wrap Christmas story books at the end of November and we'd open one each night to read together; but now that the boys are older they don't want to keep reading the same books we've always wrapped and I'm not about to buy 25 new books each year. The boys would never wear new. matching pajamas for Christmas either (and good thing too because I don't think I could find them in the sizes I'd need).  They're growing up and one day all our traditions will change or end completely.  Hopefully they'll keep these traditions going with their kids and we'll find ways to make the holidays special.

Our lasting/ modified Christmas Traditions:
  1. Make a gingerbread house together-- Every year we've enjoyed making gingerbread houses together.  Some years they've each made their own other years we have worked on decorating the same house.  Some years we made our houses out of graham crackers and other years we've bought kits; the boys don't really care how we do it as long we decorate at least one each year.  Now as they're older this a craft they get to d on their own.  I watch, take pictures and make suggestions but they each get their own frosting bag with decorator tip and work together to make beautiful houses. 
  2. Put on pajamas, pack some cookies and hot cocoa and drive around looking at Christmas lights-- This is one tradition that's actually easier now that they are older since I don't have to worry nearly as much about spills.  We try to find some new place to go each year to look at lights and enjoy some quiet time together.  As they've gotten older they don't always wear pajamas but they do put on comfy clothing and help pack the snacks and drinks. 
  3. Watch some Christmas movies together with fun drinks and snacks-- The movies and snacks may change from year to year but we still enjoy watching holiday movies together.  I used to theme out our snacks; when we watched the Grinch we'd eat Grinch Cookies (mint chocolate chip cookies with green dye) and drink Green "Grinch" punch or eat coal cookies and drink milk while watching The Santa Clause.  My kids are now at an age when they'd rather just eat their favorite treat so we've modified our tradition a bit too and the movies no longer seem to include any cartoons but that's OK.  
  4. Prepare some holiday treats together-- My kids do enjoy baking and helping out in the kitchen so this is one tradition that has grown.  Every year we've decorated sugar cookies together.  I grew up doing that with my family and started with the boys when they were very, very young.  I used to make the sugar cookies, roll them out, cut them into shapes and put them on a cookie sheet.  Then they'd come over and paint them (using evaporated milk and food coloring mixtures) and put the sprinkles on.  Now they can mix, roll, bake, and help out with many new recipes each year.  There are very few snacks that we prepare around Christmas that they don't end up helping with. 
  5. Watch a Christmas parade-- This is one tradition we've enjoyed off and on over the years and has changed many times.  It's still fun to share together when we can and it's something we do usually try to make sure happens.  There were years we were IN the parade together.  There were years it was too cold to go to the parade and we all decided to order take- out, cuddle up by the fireplace and watch another Christmas movie instead.  This year our oldest wanted to go watch the parade with this friends and I realized that there was a good chance we may not all end up going together again, but I hope we do.   Even going separately we still had something to talk about afterwards and compared favorites.     
  6. Make a Christmas craft or ornament together-- This is one tradition that has gotten easier as the boys have gotten older.  Our craft projects can be much more intricate now that they are older.  They are able to use a larger variety of tools and materials and are more excited about making crafts that are nice enough to give away that they can really be proud of.   
  7. Make paper chains and snowflakes-- While my boys are starting to think making paper chains and snowflakes is a bit babyish I've tried to think up new ways to keep this tradition alive.  Last year we dipped our snowflakes in shaving cream and food coloring to color them in fun swirly patterns.  This year we're making Minecraft and Star Wars themed snowflakes.  This year we're also using shaped paper punches to make designs in our paper chains.  I'm always on the look out for new techniques and new ideas to keep it fun and exciting.  
  8. Yearly ornament-- Since my boys were born we've bought them an ornament each year that symbolizes something about the past year.  Sometimes our ornament is a reminder of our family vacation.  Sometimes the ornament is a reminder of a new skill they developed.  Sometimes the ornament is a reminder of something they particularly loved this year. They look so forward to opening their ornament on Christmas and enjoy looking through their own special ornaments each year.  It is the one thing they willingly help with while decorating the house; putting their own ornaments on their own little trees. 
  9. Read Christmas stories-- We still read a lot of Christmas stories together and each year I try to find new ones to read with the boys through our library and inter- library loan.  They are older now and can sit for longer stories.  We often read chapter books about the holidays now too, reading a chapter or two each day together.  They no longer want to snuggle together but that's OK.  It's still great quality time together sharing heart warming stories about the true meaning of Christmas. 
  10. Listen to Christmas music and sing along-- This is one of those traditions that has changed slightly through the years.  The music we listen to has changed over the years, but the boys sure have gotten better at remembering the lyrics!  

10 comments :

  1. Totally get where you are coming from. This year our kids didn't want to decorate the tree either. Trying to find the balance between tradition and fun can be hard as the kids get older. We open one gift on Christmas Eve and it is always pjs. They have never matched but everyone gets cozy pjs and I get great pictures on Christmas morning. Maybe that is a way to keep your tradition going without them all feeling young, by matching. Just a thought. Thanks for sharing! :)

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    1. It can certainly be a struggle but I don't want them to think of traditions as torture obviously. The whole point of traditions is to have fun as a family making memories together. Thanks for your suggestion. :)

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  2. Good to read your thoughts. So much about traditions is about young kids - but the tradition I hold tightly is that we do life together. What we do isn't so much the tradition. I think we've had more fun the older the kids get as they jump on board and make family time together fun - and not about them. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  3. Great list of Christmas traditions! I am hoping to build a Gingerbread house with my sons within the next few days. Thanks for sharing with #SocialButterflySunday! Hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas, and look forward to you linking up again this week :)

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    1. Thank you; Merry Christmas to you and your family as well.

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  4. You do have to create some new holiday traditions or modify old ones as your kids grow up. You have some great ideas here! Thanks for sharing on Funtastic Friday!

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  5. Such fun traditions! I want to do the green Grinch cookies for my crazy teens!

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    1. They sure are fun! We tend to always dye the mint chocolate chip cookies at least a little green so we can tell them apart from our regular chocolate chip cookies but I used Wilton gel canisters and they came out so very dark green. It was a huge hit.

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