I love Christmas traditions. When I was growing up we had several that I really loved. Some of the memories that I have are of my brother and I opening up the little doors on our Advent calendar, having an awesome Christmas Eve party, and eating lobster for Christmas dinner. When I got married and then had my own children I wanted to start some of my own traditions.
The past few years I have felt as though it wasn’t quite possible to start traditions with my kids because they were so young and entirely uninterested! In years past I have attempted to start a couple of traditions, but we got so busy, or the kids were not interested, I would instead get frustrated and feel like starting traditions in my own family was impossible. But, this year is definitely different. This year my kids are 4 and 2 and seem to have so much Christmas spirit, they are bursting at the seams!
I tend to want things to work out perfectly, but I am coming to realize that having two babes means nothing will work out exactly as I plan, but it is my choice how to react to that outcome!
This year we decided to start the “Elf on the Shelf” tradition. It seems to be pretty popular, and I am starting to understand why. If you don’t know, the general idea is that there is an elf who is Santa’s helper. He hides every morning and your kids have to find him. Then he watches all day long and then goes back to the North Pole to report to Santa on how good you are being. My kids are so excited to find out where the elf is in the morning, that they go to bed earlier (and subsequently wake up earlier) to let the elf go home and then come back and hide again. It is so fun to watch the kids run around the house looking for the elf, and when they finally find him to say hi and wave. Emma has been frequently attempting to trick the elf into flying around the house by pretending to fall asleep on the couch…he is a tricky elf though and hasn’t fallen for it yet!
The other tradition that I started this year was an Advent calendar. However, I definitely changed it up a bit. I saw a great blog post on Creative Chaos about a DIY Advent Calendar with paper bags. Hers is so pretty! I knew that I wouldn’t be able to hang something on the wall, and I knew that I wanted to have 2 Advent calendars for my 2 kids. I also couldn’t find pretty white bags, instead I found brown paper lunch bags at the store.
And my kids being my kids, I thought it would be great to have them decorate their bags. Let me tell you, handing them both 24 paper bags to decorate was pure genius on my part. They were completely occupied for the few days it took them to complete the project. When they got bored they would leave them and go play, and then go back to them periodically. I thought it was awesome!
In each bag I placed a Hershey Kiss, either a little snack or toy and a Bible verse that I wrote out on little cards. Overall, I was incredibly pleased with the outcome, and the kids are really enjoying their morning activities.
I think the fact that I am letting go of a lot of outside pressure (that I mainly create for myself) and instead I am concentrating on my own joy and the joy of my family, especially my kids, it is really working out for me. I am not putting that pressure on my kids either, if there is a day they don’t want to look for the elf in the morning, that is ok, it won’t ruin all the other days that we have had!
Letting go of perfect is an important part of my stress free Christmas this year.
Do you have any special traditions that you are looking forward to? Or do you have traditions you are having trouble implementing? What is holding you back this year?