Tuesday, December 17, 2013

75 My Kind of Holiday - Our Christmas Traditions

Although it seems as though much of the blogword is focusing their attention on Christmas home tours {cough, cough, guilty}, as fun as it is to get our home holiday ready, Christmas is all about the traditions.  That is what excites me most about the season.  The warm fuzzies.  The kids doing good deeds.  Making a list and checking it twice.  And for once, not a "To Do" list!


I don't always take a moment to switch gears from this organizing and project heavy blog, but it is nice to share a few stories that fill the walls of our home I am always writing about.  And until I sat down to write this post to share with you #mykindofholiday, it never occurred to me how many fabulous traditions we have built into our Christmases, year after year.  I just may cry while writing this and reflecting on some favorites... I am a sappy one...

Yesterday, I shared my new wrapping station setup


Although gazing at it just may become my number one hobby, it means more to me than pretty and functional gift wrap.  It also represents one of my most favorite Christmas traditions.

 
This tradition has carried on from my childhood.  And it is funny, as a kid, it kind of annoyed me.  But now, I look back and know my mom was a freakin' genius... and I completely appreciate it. 

There is a reason why they always use the saying, "Like a kid on Christmas morning".  It is one of the most exciting and magical mornings of the year.  Like most kids, my brother and I would wake up earlier than normal, and tip toe out of our rooms and start rummaging through our stockings, and shaking the packages under the tree.  There may have even been mornings when I went as far as unwrapping my gifts to peek inside, and then fixing them back up before my parents woke up.  I know, such a rotten kiddo.  My mom caught on to this and decided to keep the magic and mystery of Christmas morning alive.  Thus, the Santa numbering system was born.


Santa got sneaky and started putting a number on each package under the tree, leaving a letter with the key in the hands of my parents.  All of the sudden, my brother and I had no idea who the presents were for, and the excitement and mystery of Christmas morning returned.

Thinking back on all of my Christmas mornings growing up, I may not recall each and every gift I received, but I do remember the pure exhilaration of sitting in a circle with my family, reading the letter from Santa and realizing which of the packages I would get to tear open.  And even once my brother and I were in high school, the tradition stayed alive and brought us many laughs.

Each day leading up to Christmas, I will plan out the gifts {with my super awesome gift planning printable} and stash them away in secret hiding spots all around the home.  Then, on Christmas Eve, my husband and I turn into Santa's Elves.  We put on holiday tunes and spend time together wrapping all of the gifts.  Then, the really fun part, creating the letter from Santa!


The presents are sweetly tucked under the tree, and we head to bed with giant smiles spanning from cheek to cheek.  Once morning rolls around, we lie in bed and giggle as we listen to the kids playing guessing games and wondering which gifts are theirs, all while we hold the key.  And the best part is that we get to be "present" when the surprises are revealed.


Although the gift numbering tradition is a long time favorite, we have a few more, which we cherish as well.


Christmas Pajamas


This is another tradition that was started during my childhood.  Every year my mom would purchase me a special set of pajamas to wear on Christmas Eve.  From plaid, to penguins to Christmas trees, I rocked it all.  Now, one of my warmest moments each year is watching the boys open their pajamas and letting them wear them much of Christmas day.



Christmas Countdown

A few years ago, we started our Christmas countdown tradition.  I love pulling out a fun activity from the box each day and drinking hot cocoa, having dance parties, blasting Christmas music, crafting, decorating and purely unplugging to enjoy simple moments with one another.



O Christmas Tree


As I mentioned in our holiday home tour, our tree also carries special meaning.  Each year, we head to the very same tree farm and pick out a tree as a family.  Every last member must agree on the tree, and the owners of the tree farm are always excited to see how much the boys have grown from year to year.



Ornaments with Meaning

Each year on Christmas Eve, the kids take a trip down memory lane and tell stories of all of the ornaments they have created, crafted and collected over the years.  We look at their small handprints and toothless smiles, and hang all of our meaningful ornaments all over the tree.




'Twas The Night Before Christmas


When all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.  On Christmas Eve, no one in our home is stirring because we are all listening to dad read us The Night Before Christmas...



Cookies!


I wish I had a baking bone in my body.  Sometimes we attempt to make Sugar Cookies and usually just eat them straight out of the oven when they are still soft and warm.  Most of the time, members of Bryan's sweet family bake us a plate of delightful treats, and sometimes, I depend on Target.  Regardless of how we acquire our cookies, Santa appreciates them just the same!



Miracle on 34th Street

A movie the entire family can snuggle in and enjoy, each and every Christmas day, while wearing our Christmas cozies, we tune in to watch Miracle on 34th Street.



So there you have it.  A few of our Christmas traditions which we hold near and dear to our hearts.  Now it is your turn.  I would love to hear what makes your home so special to you during the holiday season.  Any traditions that you have been carrying on since childhood, or even longer?




 
As a member of the Target Inner Circle, this post was written as a collaboration with Target and their #mykindofholiday campaign.  All opinions are mine.

75 comments:

  1. OMG I used to unwrap my presents and wrap them back...I might have even done that until my early teens...GULP! And the only reason I stopped was because my mom didn't put name tags on them anymore haha!

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    1. I used to unwrap and rewrap the gifts from my Granny so I wouldn't be so visibly disappointed when I got the puffy kitty sweatshirt from KMart!! :)

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  2. I love reading about everyone's traditions this time of year. My parents always told us we had to stay in our rooms until 6 am (which was hard for this super excited early riser). Then my brother and I had to sit at the top of the stairs and yell down to our parents so they could get the camera ready. So much fun!!

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    1. Love that! There is nothing more exciting as a parent, than watching your kiddos on Christmas morning. I sleep with my camera next to my bed Christmas Eve night, because i don't want to miss a thing!

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  3. Thanks for sharing your family's traditions :) Growing up we received pi's on Christmas Eve too! When I was young, our family was the only one that seemed to do this, but now I'm hearing about it more and more. And even though we don't have children, my husband and I still exchange Christmas jammies every year!

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  4. Where did you get that awesome rug in your living room?

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  5. I love all of your Christmas Traditions, they are so sweet and meaningful. I especially love the numbering system and I think we will implement that to our traditions once we have more kids!

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  6. I love this post! Christmas is definitely about the traditions for me (that and food!). This year my 2 1/2 year old is starting to understand what's going on a bit more so I'm trying to continue some traditions from my family Christmasses as well as begin some of our own. We too do the Christmas PJs (Ryan gets new ones each year and I dig out my old comfy reindeer PJs!), we watch The Snowman together and put out cookies for Santa and a carrot for Rudolph.

    When I was little 'Santa' used to deliver presents wrapped in 3 different types of paper and it was only when Mum and Dad were ready that we found out which paper was for me, my sister and brother.

    I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and I'm looking forward to more organisational loveliness in 2014! xx

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    1. Love the idea to use different paper for each. Such a smart and simple solution! Merry Christmas to you as well!

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  7. We do all the usual holiday stuff- tree, decorating, card, cookies, etc. We spend one night really close to Christmas touring the county for the best lights display. We dress them in pajamas really late and fill the car with snacks and cocoa. We do the pajamas thing too. But my favorite is our open house brunch. We get to see all of the friends that spent the holidays with their families afterwards.

    When I was young, my girlfriends and I had the Holiday Swap lunch. Takeout and your worst gifts from distant relatives. Don't get me wrong- the spirit of giving is beautiful! But that reindeer sweater child sized 7 might not be for you..

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    1. Agree that spending the day with friends and family is so incredibly meaningful! Love the idea of the open house brunch, and the swap lunch! :D

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  8. I like your gift wrapping/numbering tradition - sounds fun! My dad was/is always the one that would open his gifts early and re-wrap them.. trouble was that he was terrible at re-wrapping so it was completely obvious! hahaha.

    My favorite Christmas tradition is that we each make a handmade gift for each other. We give our handmade gifts on Christmas eve, and everything else gets opened on Christmas day. For a couple years my sister would always make each person their very own batch of their favorite cookies, and my husband usually makes Christmas eve dinner (which my mom LOVES cuz she doesn't have to cook). Several years ago I made a special illustrated calendar for my dad and it's great because ever since then he always asks for me to re-print it with the new year's dates :)

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    1. Your dad sounds like me! I am such a surprise squasher. Ha!

      And the handmade tradition is so darling! Love it!

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  9. Aw...we have some of the same traditions. My Mom always buys everyone their Christmas pjs and we open them up on Christmas Eve. Instead of watching Miracle On 34th Street though, we watch A Christmas Story and we watch it. All. Day. Long. We don't do a numbering system, but I don't put the gifts under the tree until the kids are all in bed on Christmas Eve night. They each pick out a wrapping paper and that is what their gifts are wrapped in. We have a rule that they aren't allowed in the living room until we are all awake, but I know they sneak peeks from the hallway (their siblings would tell on them if they got into their presents). They usually come downstairs and wake us up extremely early anyway. :)

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  10. We do the pjs on Christmas Eve as well - however we have no children yet, so for now my husband and I just get new pajamas for ourselves and my parents (not matching though!) ;) Also, can you tell me what the font is that you use on the Christmas Countdown cards (if you don't mind)? Thank you!

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    1. Love that so many people are diggin' the PJ tradition! And - it is Sacramento Font. :)

      xo!

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    2. Thanks Jen!! Happy Holidays and love love your blog!

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  11. I adore the numbering system idea! How FUN! I may have to utilize that in the future... I think my hubby and I can quote most of miracle on 34th street, that movie is incorporated into our family traditions as well! I love the constant ray of light on top of everyone's heads. It's so 90's :)

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  12. Traditions are fabulous. Thanks for sharing yours.

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  13. I love all your traditions! My mom did a secret numbering system too! But the first year she tried it using a pattern and I cracked the code (and go figure I grew up to be an engineer) so she had to resort to random numbering for the following years. I love the memories of those Christmases.

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    1. So funny! I went straight to random, so hopefully I can keep throwing the kids off for a few more years. :)

      xo!

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  14. christmas here in Germany is kind of the same thing - and yet, it is totally different :D we always have to shut away the dog because she would "sing" along when we are playing the flute and violine. But she's the first one unpacking her presents ;) we kids are all up waiting in our rooms, while mum and dad are preparing everything and then they ring a little bell and we are allowed to come down.
    I'm already soo excited about christmas and I hope you are, too!
    have a nice and peaceful christmas :)

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    1. Oh my goodness, that bell tradition is sweet as pie! I really heart it!

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  15. Wow, what a great idea to have a numbering system! We watch the Alistair Sims version of A Christmas Carol every single year on Christmas Eve, and on Christmas morning we always play the instrumental Old English-style Christmastide CDs. My mom has also given me a unique Christmas ornament every year since I was a child. We hold these traditions dear to our heart, and my husband and I (we married his past November) can't wait to carry them on and start some of our own when we have children!

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  16. Wow, your parents were seriously creative! A numbering system is awesome! love all your traditions Beautiful,
    Aesthetic Lounge

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  17. The traditions are the best part of the holiday for me! My mom and I always get together a couple weeks before Christmas to do all our baking in one day - it goes really well with two sets of hands, and we end up with doubles of everything so that we both have some to take home. My hubby always pulls out the tree and strings it with lights, and then I add all the decorations. And we always spend an evening together watching one of our favourite Christmas movies, Elf. I've also started a tradition after we got married of making us a new Christmas ornament every year and adding it to the tree - I think I'll love doing this with our kids in years to come! And last but not least, we always host a Christmas potluck with friends a couple weeks prior so that we can catch them all before they leave on their various Christmas vacations! I love it all, and think I may incorporate a few of the good ideas posted here!

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    1. Ooooh! I will come help bake if I can bring home some cookies too! ;) And Elf is another great one we try to squeeze in during the season!

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  18. I was usually the one wrapping all of the gifts except for mine, so I always knew :) Sometimes when my mom would really be running short on time, she would seal my gifts shut with a massive amount of tape and then have me wrap my own, LOL!

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  19. I get my kids an ornament each year; just as my parents did for me. I started getting pj's for them this year. All presents are opened on Christmas morning. We fondue on Christmas Eve, attend church and drive around looking at lights.

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  20. Such fun traditions Jen! My favorite part of the season too. I almost chocked up last night watching my girls make our annual Christmas pretzel hugs for friends and neighbors. They were actually HELPING when in years past they were always just running around being silly and eating all the chocolate. They're growing up. :( Sigh... Such a magical time of year! I hope you and your boys have a wonderful Christmas! Thanks for all of the joy you have brought me this year. Your blog is such a bright spot in my day!
    xoxo, Erin

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    1. I hear you on that! My boys were so helpful with decorating and crafting this year! Although it makes me a bit sad to see how fast they are growing, it also makes me so proud and happy to see them really getting into the Christmas spirit now that they are older. :) Merry Christmas to you and your sweet family as well! <3

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  21. Love reading about your traditions!! Christmas Eve our little guys get new PJs and after setting out our cookies for Santa we all snuggle together in bed to read 'twas the night before Christmas. It was tradition when I was a kid and carried it on with my own. My mom thought it was awesome last year when the boys called her on speaker and read it out loud to her!! Magic indeed!!.,

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    1. We did the Night Before Christmas as kids as well, which is why I still cherish it with my kids now. And I agree, when they started joining in and reading it with us was very magical. I love the idea of calling family to read it over the phone together, we just may have to do that!

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    2. Or even Skype or Facetime :)

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  22. I never opened any gifts early. I am all about the anticipation and surprise. If it were up to me I wouldn't open my gifts till noon. As it is I am usually the last to open. When I was a teenager my friend called in a panic because she had unwrapped all her presents while her mom was gone and she was trying to re-wrap them and ran out of tape. She lived 15 miles out of town and did not drive. We had to go buy her tape and drive it out to her before her mom got home.

    We do personalized ornaments for each family member and for each kid. I just got married in October and I think our tree may topple from the amount of engaged/wedding/honeymoon ornaments we received/bought.

    We buy souvenir ornaments on each trip we take so it is a lot of fun to decorate and talk about memories from each place.

    Kids like to open gifts no matter what is inside. The more to open the better. So we stock them up with those holiday bath, hair care and tooth brush kits you can buy at Target this time of year. We know they will be clean for the next year.

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    1. Oh my goodness! The story of your friend made me literally laugh out loud! Love the idea of purchasing a souvenir ornament on trips!

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  23. That present numbering system is about the coolest idea I have ever heard! And how fun for the kids to try to guess which presents are theirs before they find out!

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  24. I love the fact that you shared your Christmas traditions. May your days be merry and bright!

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  25. So wonderful. I love christmas jammies. I always had a pretty Christmas nightgown growing up. What a fun tradition for all the kids! Merry Christmas to you and your family!!!

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  26. I love the number game!! My mom and I both have a hard time waiting for Christmas morning. Normally we can talk my dad into one present Christmas eve. We always read The Night Before Christmas and I have to watch Miracle on 34th Street. Love that movie!

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    1. Oh my goodness, yes! We always tried to talk my mom into a gift on Christmas Eve. That is when she started defaulting to the PJ's, now that is the only gift I give my kiddos ahead of time. :)

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  27. What a lovely post! We used to have Christmas PJs when I was younger too and I can't wait to start that tradition with my kids.
    My husband and I (big kids that we are) watch Lampoon Christmas every Christmas Eve and I've been making him an advent calendar for a few years now. At 28, my mum still makes me one!
    I don't have a tradition as such with my wrapping but I always pick a theme and have all the presents matching. Love the Santa idea! We had stockings at the end of our bed and santa always wrapped the presents in red tissue paper.
    I will admit... he still does! Apparently when I have a baby next year Santa won't come to me any more. I may still put out my stocking!

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  28. When I was growing up, my older sister would make an obstacle course in her room for me after we opened our presents. She'd take apart her bookcases and use the boards as ramps for me to go / down, put a pile of pillows from all of the bedrooms and have me jump down from her dresser into the pile, all sorts of things....all while I was blindfolded. We've grown our separate ways as adults, but I always treasure those Christmas' since we were a very poor family (getting only 1 gift each kid) and she made up for that with those obstacle courses.

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    1. Well that is one of the sweetest things I have read all day! Love that so much! <3

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  29. Mine is actually a tradition I started when my first child was born. Every year I get our kids ornaments for something special they did that year - a sport played, an academic accomplishment, a dirt bike, drivers license, etc - and write the year somewhere on the ornament. Sometimes it's hard to find something or they didn't really do much of anything that year so I'll get a fun character ornament. The oldest two are married with families of their own - it was so fun to hand them a box of their own ornaments for their first Christmas together. We shared the memories with their spouses and as newlyweds they had plenty of ornaments for their first tree.

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    1. I may have just shed a tear picturing you handing over the box of collected ornaments. I am so smitten with that idea! I believe your children will be endlessly grateful you did such a sweet thing!

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  30. Love it Jen! We've had a lot of changes over the last few years, Mum passed away last year so some of our traditions have had to evolve and some new traditions are emerging. We bought our own place this year so we are hosting Christmas lunch for the first time which is likely to continue for the next few years :) It's Summer here so we will have lunch outside on the deck and play some games in the sunshine. We have a movie marathon every Christmas Eve and this year we are watching 'A Muppets Christmas Carol', 'It's A Wonderful Life' and the greatest Christmas movie ever, 'Die Hard' :) I think I will start the pj tradition this year as we are all desperate for some new ones.

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    1. So sorry to hear about your mum Carly. I will keep you in my thoughts this Christmas. And I totally giggled out loud at the Die Hard reference! My hubby may agree with you that it is a Christmas classic!

      xoxo!

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  31. I loved reading your post and may have welled up reading your ornament tradition.
    We only buy presents for children in our family and not adults. As an alternative for the parents we do a secret santa. There are only two rules - it has to be handmade and you can't pick your partner. Each year at my daughters birthday, in September, we draw a name out of a stocking so that we have enough time to prepare our gift. My husband is one of 3 boys, who all think they are funnier than each other and are practical jokers so the presents have been quite hilarious. It seems as time goes on the crazier the present the better the reaction. Some previous presents have included crocheted male speedos, a sprinkler made from a soft drink bottle, cheese grater jewellery holder and tennis ball key holders!
    I so look forward to getting my secret santa present each year and having a good belly laugh!

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    1. Oh my goodness! LOVE the handmade gift idea, and some of the gifts your family has come up with sounds amazing creative and funny! We do something similar with all of the kids across our family. They draw names and do a secret Santa exchange on Christmas Eve at our Grandparent's home and it is always so fun to watch. Merry Christmas!

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  32. My husband and I pick out an ugly ornament for the tree each year. It started with a military duck holding a rifle and the most recent one was a pig on ice skates.
    On Christmas eve we take a trip into the mountains and play in the snow, then we exchange PJs and bake and decorate sugar cookies in our new PJs.
    Christmas morning we exchange gifts and I make the family dinner.
    I can't wait to include our kiddos when we have them!

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    1. Ha! The ugly ornament tradition is fabulous! And a trip to the mountains to play in the snow sounds so magical!

      xoxo!

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  33. When I was little, my parents would randomly hide around the house and ring little bells, then would excitedly say in a loud voice 'Is that Santa's sleigh that I hear?' Because we're Christian Ortodox in Bulgaria, this meant that my siblings and I DIDN'T have to wait until the morning of the 25th - if we managed to stay up until after midnight, the presents would always magically turn up under the tree and we could open all of them. I never appreciated the early present opening until I met my British beloved. I'm 22 and last year I had to wait until the morning of the 25th to open all of my presents. Needless to say, I was up at 6am, waiting for my extended British family!
    Another tradition from home is to watch xmas movies ALL DAY on the 24th - Miracle on 34th Street, The Santa Clause, Jingle All The Way, Home Alone, The Nightmare Before Christmas... However me and my dad both agree that the best xmas movies are Die Hard and Gremlins! On the other hand the only xmas movie that can put my partner in a holiday spirit is "Elf". We're both terrible at singing, but we always sing along anyway!

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    1. I love hearing about how traditions vary around the world! Thank you so much for sharing! And great movie list! We heart quite a few of the same ones! Such a fun time of year!

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  34. Great ideas Jen! We are doing Elf on the shelf this year (I know in America it's not very original, but it's fairly unheard of in the UK) and we do a letter from Santa. But next year I'l be using your Christmas activity tradition. Hope you and your family have a lovely Christmas!

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  35. I love Christmas family traditions! I'm so envious with the christmas tree picking part I wish we could also do that here in the Philippines. Its just that with the tropical weather that we have and everything that comes with it that is just not feasible. Anyways we still have our reliable plastic christmas tree that we decorate festively every year. And also to compare with your traditions here we open our gifts on christmas eve after eating the special food we prepared for Christmas.

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  36. When I was little, my parents always hid the presents until I woke Christmas morning. I would go to bed Christmas eve with nothing under the tree and wake up to all the goodies Santa brought throughout the night ;) I do the same with my kids today. Christmas eve is spent at my Grandparents stuffing our faces and giving/getting our secret Santa gifts. (we all draw names) Christmas day we visit family and watch 'a Christmas story'

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  37. I LOVE the gift numbering system! My hubby never labeled the kids' gifts so when I became step-mom I had to carry on the tradition. But since my memory isn't the best I could never quite remember every single present and the wrong person would open at least 1 gift every year. This is perfect! I'm definitely going to try it this year. Great post as always!

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  38. I LOVED this post Jen. Christmas is definitely all about traditions in our family too. I love all of yours especially the ornament hanging one and the fact that you visit the same tree farm every year. Every year we also do jammies and Christmas movies on Christmas eve. We also don't put gifts under the tree until that night so the kids wake up to all the goodies santa brought throughout the night. I would actually love to not put up our tree at all until Christmas eve and spend the entire day decking the halls, but my kids are just too impatient so we usually put up our tree about a week before Christmas each year. This year we will start a new tradition of delivering homemade cookies and candy to our neighbors.:)

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  39. My youngest daughter (2) was just sent home the other day from daycare after having Santa visit daycare facility, with a sandwich bag full of oats and confetti to sprinkle on your lawn so that the reindeer are attracted to the house, it has a little note with it, which Ill have to forward along here later as I am not at home right now. But we may end up doing that with the kids every Christmas eve as it was very cute!

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  40. Jen,

    My parents did the numbering system too growing up but did it slightly different - they had a master list that contained everyones name and numbers that belonged to them, and we each (4 kids) had our own list of our numbers, then my Dad would call out a number, and we'd all scan our lists until someone called out it was theirs.

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  41. Here in Finland we have some traditions of our own. On Christmas (the 24th) morning we eat rice porridge with a hide almond, and the one who gets it gets a little present/treat. Then we prepare our Christmas dinner. (evangelical lutherans often visit the graves of their loveones before that) After dinner Santa (joulupukki in finnish) comes to visit. He may have a elf with him. He usually sing some christmas songs and hands down some gifts. This is very exciting moment to most kids :). My dad may have to be the Santa this year as my son wants Santa to come in, not only leave the presents by the door ;). And in the evening most people go to sauna! That is something which belongs to finnish culture, the sauna. After that we put on our new pyjamas (if we got one from Santa). And on Christmas day we get to sleep late ;).

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  42. Loved hearing about all your traditions, so I wrote down one of mine (it took up one whole blog post). I love traditions.
    Caitlin
    http://apartmentnumberone.blogspot.com/2013/12/christmas-parties-and-family-tradition.html

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  43. Christmas is a bit different in my family. When I was little I woke up on Christmas morning for the presents but when I got married everything changed... we celebrate Christmas Eve.
    Back then it was simple there were only three heads of households under one matriarch so we just did it at either my SIL or my MIL's house. Fast forward to 2013 and we are six heads of households, 4 generations, spread between two states and yet we still get together EVERY Christmas (and Thanksgiving). The Tradition starts at Thanksgiving (someone gets to volunteer to host that one)-After stuffing our faces at Thanksgiving dinner we put family names into a cup and the winner gets to host the Christmas event that same year (like it or not)...
    We all get together at around 9pm, put all the gifts under and around the tree (and pray that the stacks of gifts don't bury the little ones if they happen to get too close) and proceed to take the Christmas pictures. (there are around 23 of us so this takes some time lol)
    At about an hour to midnight the oldest, unmarried family member takes all of the other kids to another room to practice for the holiday show that they must give the adults EVERY YEAR-before midnight, no show, no gifts... It doesn't matter the age, if you have never been married, its their job to do it.)
    At midnight we squeeze around the nativity scene and one of the older family members leads us in prayer, we then sit, and watch the kiddies put on their show! Once they are done and we've showered them with kisses and hugs (even the older ones) they all settle down while my husband dons his santa hat and starts giving out presents one by one with the help of an elf, waiting until that person has opened their gift, has gotten up to personally thank the person who gave it to them and so and so forth. We. dont. finish. this. until. 3am! at which time we finally get to eat!
    This is a 22 year tradition...and hopefully it will last for generations to come!

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  44. Thanks for sharing. This is so inspirational. Our son just turned 2. We look forward to next year when he'll understand more, but we haven't really thought about traditions to start. I love the pjs, cookie baking and activity advent countdown. I also look forward to when he will love A Christmas Story so much we can watch it all day. I don't think he'll let me this year. :)

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  45. I love reading your post Jen, and all the comments.
    I am so much in Holiday traditions, we have PJ's, movies, card and cookies traditions but there is one thing that is always unexpected. I Love to be creative with gift opening and each year we have something new. Last year kids had to solve the riddle written in Russian to get clues about their gifts location.- they spent the entire day thinking, guessing and whining for translation. I love the idea of numbering gifts, I went ahead and numbered all the gifts, all pilled up in the living room. And I am writing problems/ brain quest problems to solve for each child with numbers as an answer. Hope I have enough time to finish before Christmas.
    Thank you for sharing.

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  46. We have many of these, but I am SO going to implement that numbering system this year!!! What a neat idea?! We are grew up with a tinsel spider, which we now use a little mini schnauzer ornament that we hide in the tree Christmas morning. Whoever finds it gets a special treat. :-)

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  47. Ok... The picture of your boys listening to "Night Before Christmas," is adorable and then I saw your puppies laying there too! That is a precious picture :) Much to my husband's dismay, I still have to keep the TV on all night for the 24 hours of "A Christmas Story." My parents always did while I was growing up. Wish you a very Merry Christmas!

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  48. We always take a horse-drawn carriage ride to look at the Christmas lights. It's quite fun! This year we started a new tradition: Christmas Eve lunch at a fancy restaurant, followed by an afternoon church service, then we came home to cook our Christmas Eve dinner. Everyone picked one dish to prepare; it was quite fun having the kids cook with us. They needed a bit of help, but we were amazed by their contributions. It was fun to all be in the kitchen together instead of me slaving away alone!

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  49. Great post. I noticed your bookshelf/media stand in the picture of your Christmas tree and I was wondering where you got it. I am looking for something very similar and I have no idea where to go! Thanks for any help you can offer.

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    1. Hi Steph!

      It is pieced together from IKEA bookshelves - you can snag the details here: http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2011/03/built-in-beauty.html

      xo!

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