Christmas is such a wonderful time to make memories. When I was growing up, my mom had a lot of traditions that we always did during the holidays. Once I had my kids I wanted to carry on those Christmas traditions.
Annual Christmas Ornament
I can’t remember how the ornament tradition started, but every year it was a big family outing. All of us would go out to dinner and then go shopping (who remembers when The Esplanade Mall was happening?!?) for the perfect ornament. My brother and I would take turns choosing it. We tried to tie it into something significant that happened that year. Going through all the ornaments while we decorated the tree was always special.
I don’t take my kids shopping for the ornament (hello online shopping), but we do get a special ornament every year. So far they all signify events that happen throughout the year: births, new house, new sports the kids try, new school, etc. Now that they are getting older I will let them take turns choosing.
When we were younger my mom started having cookie decorating parties for us and all of our cousins. She made every color icing you could imagine, had a ton of different sprinkles, and 10 different shapes of sugar cookies. Even the adults got in on the fun of spreading the icing on the cookies with paintbrushes while listening to the custom holiday CDs my dad made.
My mom still does the cookie decorating with my kids at her house (with the same songs playing now on an iPod), and I do our tradition at home. Since we do cookies with Grandma, we do gingerbread houses at home. I scoop up two gingerbread houses as soon as they hit the shelves and hide them in the pantry. While the kids are at school I assemble them and set up a spot for each of my kids. They come home from school to a sweet surprise. I love to see how each of them chooses to decorate their house.
For years our special family Christmas outing was to Celebration in the Oaks. It was always such an exciting and fun night. We always went with a big group of cousins and aunts. We rode the Lady Bug, the train, and were in awe of all the fancy lights.
My husband and I take our kids on a special family outing every year. Polar Express was magical for us for three years. We made a lot of memories during those train rides wearing our matching pajamas. This year we are trying out a new outing. Maybe it will be Celebration in the Oaks this year.
My wish is that my kids enjoy all of the activities we do with them every year and that they carry those memories with them throughout their adulthood.