This will probably be my last post for the week as we get ready for Christmas and family time. I have presents to wrap and clues to write. Yup, you read that right. Clues to write!
Growing up Christmas was HUGE in our home. To this day my Mom has a fake tree and doesn't put on a large part of the bottom section to leave room for presents. No, I'm NOT kidding. I knew I didn't want to continue this tradition in my family because once you start it's hard to stop. Once it's expected you feel the pressure to keep up with... yourself! I wanted my family to be different (not that I ever minded being spoiled by my Mom!). Well, it turns out I didn't have a big choice in this in the beginning anyways. When I quit working full time to stay home we cut our income in half, literally. We didn't have much to live on. Christmas was going to be small. The first few years weren't a big deal but when Carter, our oldest, was maybe 4 or 5 and knew of all the glorious gifts waiting at Grandma's I felt he was going to be disappointed with our family and just counting the moments to leave to Grandma's if we didn't do something. We did two somethings. First is our gifts often require time with Mom and Dad. One year they got to build treasure boxes and Paul spent all morning helping them pound and assemble. A couple of years they got different K-Nex building sets that needed someone to help. Gifts like that became my goal. Then, just one year we decided to make them go hunting for a few gifts just to make the present opening last a little longer. Little did we know at the time that this would become expected and their favorite part of Christmas.
So this is how Christmas morning goes for us. We all wake slowly and the kids can open their stockings with us as they wait for younger ones to wake up. After everyone's up we turn on our local TV channel that has the "Yule Log" burning because I long for a fireplace and this cracks everyone up when I excitedly "start our fire"! We open gifts one or two at a time and usually there is only one or two under the tree for each person. This year I think our boys will have only two gifts under the tree combined. They are getting "brother gifts", something given to all of them together and our girls will be getting two "sister gifts". Itching for an example? Nothing fancy. Our girls will be opening a big box and it will have a Raggedy Ann doll for both of them and have 4 or 5 Raggedy Ann story books wrapped to open inside the box. One of the boys gifts is simply a Pictionary type game made by Lego. Iit's called Creationary. Instead of drawing something to guess you build it. They'll love it. At some point they'll open "baby Jesus" and we will stop and do the Christmas story. Then when the opening is done they'll start searching. Somewhere around the tree will be the first clue. The clues lead them through our tiny house several times before they land on their last gift. This year there will be a "boys gift" and a "girls gift". The clues are getting tougher and were figuring out how to mix this up for all different ages. This year the clues may be addressed to individuals so they all have a chance to find the next clue. We never thought this would be such a big hit but now we all look forward to it. The only thing I don't like is my dear husband insists we wait until Christmas Eve night to write them! One other year we tied a piece of yarn to their gift and then walked throughout the house and up and down and around and around and then left the other end at the tree. They had to follow their string and untwist and untie until they came to the gift. That was fun too, but a little hard to get around! With so few presents this year maybe we'll do both!
What kind of traditions do you have? Try mixing things up a bit this year and trying something new.