As the kids get older we are trying to solidify some of our family traditions.
1) Advent Reading
Last year we used an Advent reading plan using the Jesus Storybook Bible. We may eventually do a Jesse Tree, but this year we decided to stick with the Jesus Storybook Bible reading plan. During this special time each evening we added a more activities. Each night 1 of the kids gets to pick a nativity piece (Little People set). Then we discuss the important role of that person/animal. Also, as we receive Christmas cards each day we pray for that family during our devotion time. This has really been a great exercise to help remember those friends and family that live far away.
Each year the kids get an ornament to represent the past year. In years past I have always made the ornaments and that will continue this year. Though I'm not sure that will always be the case :) This year I am making Kolter an ornament similar to other ones I made the kids for their first Christmas, a onesie with his name embroidered. I am making Sawyer a Lego head and Nora a Doc McStuffins Lambie.
I'll post pictures after they are finished…probably after Christmas as I hope to have some hand sewing time on the long drive :)
3) An evening of pajamas, hot chocolate and Christmas lights
We put on our pajama's, made hot chocolate and jumped in the van. We sipped on hot chocolate as we drove around town looking at the lights. A few notable points…Nora insisted on having milk in her hot chocolate. She has never drank more than 1 drop of milk at a time. She drank a whole cup in the car and declared she liked it. Needless to say we had to rush home because someone had to use the restroom :(
We've done this activity for a few years and the highlight is always the lights display in Monument Park. The parks district does a wonderful job and you can't beat the free price tag! Nora kept declaring all of the lights were "beeeeauuuutiful!"
4) A birthday celebration for Jesus
Since we are never home on Christmas morning we celebrate before we leave with a birthday party for Jesus. We haven't had it this year, but we'll read the Christmas story, decorate with balloons, bake a cake and open gifts from one another.
5) Giving to needy kids/families
During Christmas we really stress the gift that God gave us on Christmas. To further develop this concept we give gifts to others. Each year we take the kids to pick out toys for kids who do not have toys. This always hits close to home because they inevitably choose toys they want. Then we get to have another lesson about the joy of giving over receiving.
6) Making cookies
And of course we always make cookies for the neighbors. The kids LOVE to visit the neighbors and make sweet treats, so this is always a favorite tradition :)