This post is for letter “U” in the 2016 ABCs of Homeschooling Through the Holidays series.
The Christmas season evokes such exciting times for my kids and I! Not only do we look forward to celebrating Jesus' birth and all the festivities surrounding that special day but we enjoy the many unique family traditions we've come up with over the years. While some of the traditions are ideas we began when we first started our family, we have also added new traditions over the years. If you are like my family, we are always on the look out for new unique Christmas traditions so I wanted to share some of the things our family does during the Christmas season.
- One of the first things we dig out after Thanksgiving is our Advent Calendar. There are many kinds out there but my kids prefer the kind that has a piece of chocolate in it each day. They take turns during the month opening up each box and eating the piece! (let's face it, those boxes aren't big enough to put in a piece of chocolate for each child, each day. Not to mention, that's a lot of candy!)
- I love hosting parties for friends & family! I make a bunch of food with winter/Christmas themes and invite people over for an evening to relax. We also play “now you have it, now you don't”. Each person brings a wrapped item from around the house that they don't want/need anymore (this keeps us from having to spend any money). The recycled item can be something practical or a total gag gift. This game is always such a blast to play!
- My kids enjoy giving gifts to others but being that we are a large family, that's a lot of gifts for them to buy. Instead, the kids all exchange names and keep their intended gift recipient a secret. They have fun figuring out what to buy their sibling (with their own money) and they can hardly wait to give them their gift!
- What would Christmas be without making Christmas cookies! Sometimes we spend a day making a bunch of varieties of cookies, other times we take a few days to make them. Some of our favorites are snickerdoodle, peanut butter blossoms, hay stacks, Christmas Crack, and of course the kids favorite, sandtarts. They love using their favorite cookie cutters to cut the shapes then they get creative in decorating them with sprinkles. We then make up plates of cookies to give away to neighbors and friends, One year we even did a cookie exchange with several of my fellow homeschooling friends. This was a great way to get a variety of new cookies and treats to try.
- On Christmas Eve, we hop in our van then stop somewhere to splurge on a treat to eat or drink while we drive around looking at Christmas lights. Usually the kids are in pj's and Christmas music is playing.
- In memory of our son Noah who died 6 years ago, we started asking others to help us do a RACK each year (Random Act of Christmas Kindness). People from around the world do something for someone else in Noah's memory then they write it down and email or send it to us. I don't read the notes but instead place them in Noah's Christmas stocking and on Christmas morning after the children open their stockings, we take out the notes to read what people did to bless others. Christmas is a bittersweet time missing our son/brother so reading these random acts of kindness really means a lot to our family. Feel free to join us in this years RACK.
- When Christmas morning arrives, we take a slow pace to enjoy the time. I usually have something special for breakfast that I pop in the oven to bake. We read the Christmas story before opening gifts. Then each child opens one gift, one person at a time so everyone can see what they got. Afterwards, we move to our family room where our fireplace and stockings are at and the kids empty the small trinkets from their stockings. We do our best to savor the time together!
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