If you've been reading my blog for a while, or if you know me at all, you know I am big on traditions. I've blogged on this very subject here, here, here, here, and even a little on Christmas traditions here! Are you tired of hearing about traditions yet? Too bad :) I've mentioned before how important I think they are to children, and I'm going to say now that I think they're important to your marriage, and your overall mental health too. I have always found myself grounded in tradition. Sometimes I even use my traditions as a crutch, I guess, but I figure that's alright :) There was a time in my life shortly after my parents divorced that I really struggled through the Christmas season. I've spoken many times on here about my strained relationship with my mother. Well, one of my good memories of my mother is her love for Christmas. And that love for Christmas has always been a source of glue for us. A source of commonality between us. Well, as things got worse and worse between she and I and she allowed her boyfriend more and more control over her life Christmas became more and more difficult. The Christmas before my Grandfather died I tried to bury the hatchet between us and told her we'd like to come to Utah for Christmas, knowing that it was probably Grandpa's last Christmas. She told me it wasn't a good idea because her boyfriend would be uncomfortable, and I was devastated. I had a hard time with Christmas that year, (and for the next couple to be truthful). I had virtually no Christmas Spirit. My husband was amazing during that time. He's not big into Christmas like me, but he saw the value in the traditions both for our children and for me and he forced me to start a new tradition with him- one of cutting down our own Christmas Tree. Since that year we have gone to this farm to cut down our tree. It has become Tradition! ;) That first year we went out the last weekend before Christmas and we ended up with quite the Charlie Brown Tree, but that is now a funny memory to us all.
One thing that I've never stopped doing with my kids is something my Grandma started with me and my sister and cousins when we were young- making Gingerbread Houses. Most years we make the gingerbread from a mix, last year we got a baby, and were sleep deprived, but we didn't let that stop us! We just bought the kits and decorated from there. This year? I think I'm going to try homemade gingerbread :) Some years just the kids make their houses, a couple of years I've made my own too.
Another thing my grandma would do with us is take us to the Nutcracker. I took the boys for the first time last year, and I don't think I'll do it every year like my grandma did, but we'll definitely go often.
We have gone out to the Twilight Firelight at Fanthorp Inn several times, but not every year, as it depends on the other things going on in our lives and if we're free that evening. We really love it, though!
When I can find them I buy the Chocolate Advent Calendars for the kids- the ones with the piece of chocolate each day from December 1-24... I always loved these as a kid, but unfortunately I can't always find them for the kids :(
We also try to watch as many of the 25 Days of Christmas movies on ABC family as possible :)
We have more Christmas morning/Eve traditions, but I'll save those for another day...
I'd love for you to share your Christmas season traditions with us!