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Our Favorite Family Christmas Traditions!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Hi!! Happy Tuesday!!

 I am linking up with Amy, Jess and Alisha today and sharing some "Bits of Cheer!"
 Today, I thought I would talk a little bit about the Christmas traditions we do with our kids!

 This is my current view as I write this post...I spent all day yesterday getting up our Christmas decorations and finished our tree around 10:30 pm.  Needless to say, I pretty much crawled into bed...but the effort was so worth it as I look at our pretty tree this morning while I sip on my coffee!! What I did not include in this picture is my precious little Celine- who was up all night because she didn't feel well.  Around 4 am...she started throwing up :(  So, currently, she is snuggled up on the love seat watching a show and I am chugging sipping my coffee :)
I don't know about you, but when I first started having kids, I got pretty overwhelmed with all the amazing, fun, festive holiday traditions that I could start doing with my kids. Well, luckily, I learned very quickly that for our family, quality is SO much more important than quantity when it comes to traditions we do with our kids.  We do a FEW special things during the month of December and that allows us to enjoy what we are doing and not feel totally crazed by Christmas morning!

One of the girls' favorite Christmas traditions is our Advent calendar.  My sister-in-law gifted us this beautiful calendar (and monogrammed it for us!!) a couple years ago and the girls just LOVE when I put it up!! It is made out of fabric and the "ornaments"  velcro onto the tree. It is so cute and very kid-friendly!!  Unfortunately, I can't find it available anywhere! I know she got it on One Step Ahead- but they do not carry it anymore :(
I will keep my eye out for it and if it becomes available- I will let you all know!

This is a fabric Advent calendar I found on Amazon (check it out here) and it looks very similar to the one we have! It has amazing ratings and is just under $35.  If you have a Prime account- you could have it to your house by Friday!! :)



 As an alternative option to the fabric calendar we have, I love this calendar by Melissa and Doug !  You can find it here! This cute calendar has 5 star ratings and is under $20!!
Another Christmas tradition, is reading from this precious book, Countdown to Christmas.
It is the sweetest book and every day there is a story, a reflection and a little discussion or activity to have/do as a family- all pointing to the REAL reason for Christmas- the birth of Jesus Christ.  Now that my oldest daughter can read, I plan to have her do the daily reading at breakfast time after we put our ornament on our Advent Calendar!

As a Catholic family, we celebrate Advent in our house and one way we do this is by having an Advent Wreath.  Aaron made our Advent Wreath from a log from the backyard of our old house in Cleveland- and I just love that it!  Every year we get 3 new purple candles and 1 pink candle to celebrate the 4 weeks of Advent, leading up to Christmas.  The girls have all brought home special prayers to say during Advent and I have compiled them all together and we are saying a different one each night at dinner as we light our Advent candles!
I saw this Advent Wreath craft idea from the blog, Sweet Little Ones and I just love it! If I can get my act together, I am going to gather up the supplies for each of the girls to make one this upcoming weekend. I know for my girls, they are happiest when they are being creative- and it allows us to have some great discussions about what Advent means to us as they each make their own wreath!

A super fun, EASY tradition we started doing with the kids last year is taking them in their Christmas jammies, while blasting Christmas music, to a local drive-thru Christmas lights display.  This, obviously, is NOT an original idea- but it is SO fun! We are so lucky to have an awesome, FREE lights display about 5 minutes from our house- so it is just super fun and stress free!

And finally, because I feel like one of our personal missions as parents, is to instill a mindset of "IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU" in our children- I planned out 3 Advent activities that we do once a week during the month of December that is in some way serving other people.

Here is what we are doing this year!
First weekend of December: Pick out Christmas presents from the Samaritan's Purse Christmas catalog and make a family donation to Food for the Poor.  We are going to talk about how just giving $45 (which is how much it is for our family to go out to eat for ONE MEAL) would feed a child for a WHOLE year.
Second weekend of December:  Volunteer as a family at Holy Family Shelter in the Children's Room. We will bring some coloring pages and Christmas cookies to share with all of our new friends!
Third weekend of December: Bake Christmas cookies and deliver them to our neighbors!

I think what is SO important to remember during the Holiday season, no matter how you and your family choose to celebrate...is to do your best to find a balance of peacefulness, service to others and just plain wild and crazy fun.  It is so easy to get sucked into GETTING AND DOING EVERYTHING! It might take a few years, but find some traditions that work for YOUR family. 

That's ALL that matters :)

Hope you have the BEST FIRST day of December!!


21 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for linking up with us! I love your traditions. I have to remember that quality over quantity is so important. I see so many fun ideas & feel that we must do them all because everyone else is. I need to be more intentional with what we choose to do & why. Thanks for the reminder!

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  2. Love that advent calendar! I am ordering it for my sweet godchild right now!

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    1. Hi Hannah! So excited you are ordering it for your god child!! He or she will love it!

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  3. I hope that Celine feels better very soon, and also praying that nobody else in your household get it!!
    I love the felt advent calendars! We always have one, but just the cardboard ones. Emma loves them, and was so excited to open the "door" this morning =) And your tree is beautiful!!! I'm so bummed because Sunday late afternoon we were suppose to go to church and make our advent wreath, and guess who forgot?? Me =( I didn't even mention it to Emma because I know she would be sad about missing it. I love the idea of the craft advent wreath, and I think Emma would have fun making that, so maybe we will do that =)
    Have a great Tuesday, Justine!!

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    1. Thanks for the well wishes Johannah :) Cora Maye threw up at school this afternoon- so I am just waiting for Charlotte to get sick now. UGH! OH well :) At least all of my Christmas decorations are up :) If I have to be stuck at home with the kids- at least its all decorated and cozy! HA!

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  4. I love all of your traditions - and that they keep to the heart of Christmas, the birth of Jesus!!

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    1. Hi Leigh!! Thanks for the sweet comment :)

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  5. Love this, and love your blog! What a precious family you have!

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    1. Ashley! Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting! I really appreciate your kind words!!

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  6. Love all of your sweet traditions! I still love doing our advent calendar almost 27 years later, ha! It will be even sweeter to watch our little kiddos do it in the future!

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    1. Hi Christina!! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!! And you are so right- I still get excited every morning when we add a new ornament to our calendar!!

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  7. I love that you have an advent wreath, and I seriously think I am going to have to order that book for my kids for future years! So awesome that you really focus on traditions that remind us of what Christmas is all about :-)

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    1. Hi!! Thanks for stopping by and commenting! And yes- I highly recommend the Christmas Countdown book! It is perfect for young children to older children!

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  8. I love how having a Christmas tree all lit up, seems so cozy and relaxing. Those advent calendars, are super cute as well. :)

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    1. Hi Jenny! Yes- the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree have to be in the top 5 most cozy/relaxing things EVER! :)

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  9. What a great message and a sweet post! P.S. sorry about the stomach bug...here's hoping you all avoid sharing.
    xoxo

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  10. I agree about balance. It gets so hard when you are feeling the pressure to "do it all" at Christmas time. If you can do a few things and get joy from those than that is what really matters.

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    1. Yes! Balance is KEY. It took me a couple of years to figure that out- but since I have- our holidays are SO much more enjoyable!!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!!

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  11. Such sweet traditions! I love that you focus on just a few instead of all of the things. We always did the Advent wreath growing up and I just loved it. I need to get one for us to do now with my own family. There's just something about lighting those candles that truly helps you focus on the true meaning of Christmas. And that Advent calendar is too cute! We have yet to get one [I know, I know], but I have been on the hunt for a good one to start doing this year. So much wonderful!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting Hannah!! Even if you don't have a traditional Advent "wreath"- you are right- just lighting the candles every night is so symbolic and definitely helps center everyone on the "reason" for the season!! Hope you have some luck finding an Advent calendar that you love!!

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  12. I love that you linked up with us today. Your post was spot on about the real reason behind Christmas. I am totally going to order the Countdown to Christmas book. We always try to do just a few special things in our home too. I love that you have your girls help volunteer! Kids are never to young to learn how to give back to others. I hope sweet Celine is feeling better, nothing is worse than a sick little one!

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I love hearing from you! Let's keep it nice though...ain't nobody got time for anything else!

 
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