I am all about Christmas traditions! Really, traditions of any kind for any time of the year, for that matter! There is just something extra meaningful, though, about family traditions during the Christmas season. They bind you together as a family, lend themselves to the making of treasured memories, and infuse more meaning into this time of the year, providing you with something extra special to look forward to. With that in mind, I thought I would share with you today what some of my favorite Christmas traditions were growing up, what we did in my family, and also what Owen and I are seeking to begin in our own family in this area. Then, at the end, I have a very special offer for you that I hope will help you in your own pursuit of cultivating special traditions for your own family this time of year!
My Favorite Christmas Traditions as a Child
As much as I, of course, loved Christmas morning as a child, in a lot of ways what was even more special for our family growing up in terms of traditions was how we spent Christmas Eve.
Every Christmas Eve, we would begin by piling into the car and driving around to look at Christmas lights in our town. It was so fun to see how various people expressed their creativity and Christmas spirit in the festive ways in which they decked out their homes. Certain parts of town or particular city buildings were also decorated in beautiful ways.
After returning home from that excursion, we would have mugs of steaming hot chocolate while my dad read to us the Christmas story as found in the book of Luke. I think the thing I miss most about living at home is this time together hearing my daddy read to us and remind us of the true reason for the Christmas season. It is probably my most treasured tradition from when I was growing up.
As far back as I can remember, following this reading time was a time in which each of us was allowed to open one gift (the rest were saved for the next morning). Beginning in my early teen years, however, we added another layer to this practice that made it even more fun! I came up with the idea to write out clues for my parents that they would have to work through and find scavenger-hunt style in order to discover where that one gift for each of them was hidden. They enjoyed this so much that, the next year, they started doing the same thing for my brother and me. This continued on each and every year until I got married and now even Owen is in on the festivities! 🙂 If you have never done this before, I encourage you to consider it! It adds just another level of fun and anticipation to gift-giving.
Christmas Traditions in Our Family Now
As I mentioned above, Owen and I have continued the Christmas clues tradition for Christmas Eve. We have also carried on something else that my family and I did from time to time and that is watch The Nativity Story every year. My family and I saw that movie in theaters the year it came out and were instant fans. It is such a beautiful retelling of the Christmas story from Luke.
Last year, Owen and I also started the tradition of making cookies to deliver to various neighbors of ours. That was a lot of fun, and I want to expand that this year into making cookies or other little yummy things for the firefighters and police officers here in town. Another thing we started our first Christmas together is the tradition of having some sort of cinnamon-infused breakfast food for Christmas morning. Our first year I made cinnamon pull-apart bread. Since then I have done some kind of cinnamon rolls, and this year, I’m going to be trying my hand at Sally Clarkson’s cinnamon roll recipe.
Apart from those things, we have not yet begun many Christmas traditions for our own family because our little ones have been too little to really grasp what was going on. James still is, as he will only turn one this week, but Anna will be three in January and can grasp quite a bit now. So, this year we are going all out and will finally be beginning a lot of the traditions I had been chomping at the bit to start!
These new traditions all center around the observance of Advent. Two years ago my friend Ali and I went through the 2015 She Reads Truth Advent devotional as well as Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift devotional, both of which opened my eyes to the existence and meaning of Advent (something we never observed growing up). Last year Ali and I went through the 2016 She Reads Truth Advent devotional, but that was all I did Advent-wise because I was newly postpartum and not feeling up to doing much of anything. This year, with things having settled down a bit and Anna being older and more able to understand things, we are expanding our Advent celebration!
Here is what we are doing this year, and what I hope will become new Christmas traditions for us:
~I have my 2017 She Reads Truth Advent devotional all ready to go (of course!)
~As a family we will be daily going through the companion family devotional to The Greatest Gift, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift and will also have our own Jesse tree on which we will put a new ornament each day
~We have a little Advent calendar from Hobby Lobby that Anna will be able to open a little window of each day from December 1-25; each day has a piece of chocolate and a Bible reading
~We have a lovely new Advent wreath with candles this year that is serving as a centerpiece on our coffee table; each Sunday of Advent we will light the corresponding candle and talk about the meaning of it (I’m especially excited about this, as I’m learning so much about the special meanings and history behind this practice that dates back so far in church history)
~We had plans to gift Anna the Jesus Storybook Bible for Christmas this year, but then I discovered that an Advent reading plan had been released for it, so we will be giving it to her early (on December 1) and reading through it each day in preparation for Christmas Day!
As sentimental as I sometimes get about my children growing up and getting older, I am nevertheless so excited about all that we have planned this year to enjoy with our little ones! If this list is leaving you feeling overwhelmed or as if you have to do all these things yourself, come on back tomorrow – I will be posting a new article entitled, “Advent, Mommy Guilt, and the Gospel” just for you!
If you have special Christmas traditions you enjoy during this season, I would love to hear about them and get some new ideas! Share in the comments! Speaking of Christmas traditions for your family, I have an exciting offer for you that I think will help to make your family’s holiday season extra fun and special:
Pure Flix Offer for 5 Free Christmas Movies!
I’m so excited to share today about what Pure Flix is offering this year:
Starting November 26th (This Sunday!) through Christmas Eve, Pure Flix will be offering a free holiday movie every Sunday as a way to be part of family time this season! No need to enter your credit card information to get access to the movies, all you need is your name and email!
Here are the movie titles and dates:
- Christmas Angel (Pure Flix version) – Nov 26
- A Dog for Christmas – Dec 3
- Christmas for a Dollar – Dec 10
- Christmas on Salvation Street – Dec 17
- Silver Bells – Dec 24
To find out more about each of these movies and to sign up to get them free, just head to this page and get ready to enjoy some fun and special family time this Christmas! While you’re there, if you homeschool, you may also want to check out Pure Flix’s collection of movies and shows that can be used as supplemental curriculum!
I hope that today’s post has inspired you to think a little more about the options you have this season to cultivate family traditions that will make this time of year extra special and lead to memories that will last a lifetime.
Merry Christmas, friends!