Christmas is my favorite holiday and probably my favorite time of the entire year! I don't know if anything can beat the beautiful lights, decorated trees, and the amazing holiday treats that appear right around December each year!
I want to share with you a few of my favorite Christmas traditions. My family has been doing some for years and others we've just recently picked up, but all of them are special to me in multiple different ways!
1. Making a Gingerbread House
Our family did this every Christmas for years when my brother and I were little. We'd use those little store-bought kits and load our gingerbread house with as much candy as possible! I remember my mom getting us "healthy" candy (as if candy can be healthy) so we at least wouldn't be stuffing our faces with complete junk while creating our masterpiece! We always had a blast!
I can't remember when we stopped or why we stopped this beloved tradition, but a few years ago, I just HAD to bring it back! This time with a twist - Why not bake the gingerbread and create a house from scratch. My mom and I do it together now, and I might love it even more than I used to. The bright-colored candy is long gone. Instead, we opt for the classic white icing, marshmallows, and graham crackers to create a simplistic decoration we can use all season long. Each year, we challenge ourselves to a slightly trickier project and let me tell you, I LOVE the outcome more and more every time! It definitely does help that my mom once was a professional wedding cake designer! ;)
No matter how you decide to make your gingerbread house, it's a tasty tradition that all ages can enjoy! Even if it turns out a little bit messy in the end. :)
2. Making an Advent Calendar
I adore advent calendars! We've purchased them for years, with little trinkets inside to mark every day until Christmas! But this year is different. I decided to make us our own! Instead of chocolates, legos, or other fun gifts, I wrote activities to do each day. An advent calendar of memories in the making.
All I used was a frame, paper, and string to create this one-of-a-kind countdown to Christmas for my family. Every activity is personalized to things I know we'll love doing! In case you are looking to make your own and don't quite know what activities to write down, here are a few of our own: Making a new Christmas treat, putting a card in the mailbox for the mail carrier, watching our favorite Christmas movies, and even giving compliments to strangers! :)
Simple things that don't take too much work can be a wonderful Christmas memory that will last forever! You could even take photos of your family doing each activity and put them in a scrapbook. ;)
3. Secretly Giving Gifts to Strangers
Yes, essentially, my family loves playing secret Santa! :) Every year we choose a gift that we buy in bulk for our community. Chocolate bars, candles, really just something that everyone will enjoy! We always add something about the real meaning of Christmas to the gifts. After all, the reason for our giving is Jesus! We give because He gave so much to us!
4. Writing Christmas Letters
One of my favorite things to do is write letters and Christmas letters are even better! I write to my friends, family, and even strangers like the mail carrier. ;) Everyone could benefit from a little more Christmas cheer, and in my opinion, letters deliver a lot of cheer!
Some of my favorite things to put inside my letters are Christmas gift tags, 'this or that' pages, tea bags, maps, coloring sheets, and Bible verses. :)
I also love making Christmas countdowns for my friends! Sometimes I decorate mini envelopes and put things in them for each day. Other times I'll do simple pages with squares to check off for each day that passes. Even if they already have an advent calendar, I figure there could never be too many ways to count down the days till Christmas! :)
5. Taking Christmas Photos
You can never have too many Christmas photos! Ok, maybe you can...But I'm talking about the ones you put on your Christmas cards - not the ones that are taken on Christmas morning when everyone looks lethargic. ;) And, yes, the dogs absolutely need their photos taken, too!
6. Putting Together a Christmas Puzzle
Our family might be a little obsessed with this and that's saying a lot since I used to think puzzling was the most boring thing ever! But now, I love it! It's a wonderful thing to get the whole family off the screen and doing something together. :)
7. Watching Christmas Movies
Now, I may love off-screen activities, but Christmas movies are a MUST! This is the one time of year that I will excuse cheesiness and watch something no matter how stupid I may think it is! Hallmark, here we come!
My favorite Christmas movies that we watch just about every year are Home Alone, Home Alone Lost in New York, Elf, The Nativity Story, and The Grinch!
I have MANY more Christmas traditions that I absolutely adore (driving around to look at Christmas lights, included), but it would take me ages to write of them all. Hopefully, this list gave you a glimpse at some traditions you may want to start with your family this year. :)
Wishing you peace and joy this holiday season!