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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Our Christmas Traditions

I love traditions and have done my best to start my own with my girls. 

I believe live trees are one of the greatest Christmas gifts you can give your family.  Going to buy a tree, each year, is something I remember ever so well from my childhood.  Unfortunately, my husband was not raised the same way. Plastic and wire trees with silver icicles dangling were what he remembers.  Somehow, I have convinced him that the mess of a real tree is ever so worth it. (Probably because I'm usually the one that cleans most of it up.) I know they are expensive.  I say it's a worthwhile splurge! I also know they smell terrific and look genuine.  What's more fun than walking through a tree farm seeking out the ever so perfect tree for your family?  Live Christmas trees are one place I can stand imperfections. An occasional stray branch adds charm.  It's whimsy, not messy! 

This year we ventured about 30 miles to Jack's tree farm.  Here the girls chose their "perfect" tree.  Was it the tree I would have chosen?  Not at all!  It is small for our living room that has 2 story high ceilings. It's also a little thin for my liking; however, they say it's perfect and so in our living room it is!


Something my mom started was collecting ornaments, from places we travel, to put on the tree. Our tree is adorned with ornaments that represent memorable vacations in our lives.  Every ornament has a special tale.  We talk about where each ornament came from, when we hang it on the tree.

A tradition we didn't have as children was the tattle tale elf. We were blessed with an "Elf on the Shelf" three Christmases ago.
On November 30th, we read the book and discuss the elf's job: reporting to Santa. GraciAnn has named our elf  Dobbo.  I'm pretty sure that wasn't his name two years ago, but since known of us remember exactly, I think Dobbo will work just fine.  The story goes the elf reports the children's behavior to Santa.  Since he leaves each night, while the kids are sleeping, to visit Santa, he finds a new place in the house to reappear.  The fun is, the kids get to find his new location everyday.  Plus, he really needs to be high so our little gals can't be tempted to touch him.  The rest of the story is if he gets touched, he loses his magical powers to fly to Santa each night.  Well, we don't want him to lose that magic.  It comes in handy to remind the girls that Dobbo will tell Santa if they make bad choices.  I have seen many people online that have done wonderfully clever things with their elves.  I do think the elves are getting a little too naughty for their own good... but it's all in good fun and you can certainly keep your elf out of trouble, if you'd like.  Here are some elf adventures I saw today. You may also want to check out pinterest.  I hear there are some great ones there too!


Another tradition we have is a count down calendar. I invested in the great pottery barn advent tree I mentioned in an earlier post. Santa leaves the girls notes each night. For the past three years, he also left them chocolate.  My girls have inherited my love of chocolate so this is definitely their favorite part; although, they pretend to love the notes as well. My five year old daughter gleefully bounds down the stairs, each December morning, to see what Santa's left while she slept.  It's so great to see GraciAnn reading her own Santa notes this year. She'll even read Mariella's to her.

Another big tradition we have is sending out Christmas cards. We have family pictures taken and cards made. We then send them to family, friends, and my husband's customers.  We send out nearly 250 a year.  It's a big undertaking but well worth it.  We love to share an annual family picture with others. John and I just got back from a 7 day cruise. (I'd never been away from my girls for more than a day before this!) Anyway, we're super behind on everything, includng our Christmas cards.  We're going to try to fit these in next week.  I see a lot of late nights in my future... yawn.... The above picture is from last year.

The good news is I have taken my kids to see Santa.  Each year we visit the Santa that comes to our local Country Store. The Santa is a great country Santa. Don't you think?
Our Christmas decorating is behind where I'd like it to be the beginning of the second week of December too.  We've had two cold and rainy days so I haven't finished the outdoor decorating at all.  I've lacked motivation so I haven't finished the indoor decorating either.  I do have a deadline set for myself though!

Are you looking for easy Christmas decorations? Here's a link to an ever so cute Christmas subway art. This is the same lady who created the Thanksgiving one I included in an earlier post.  She did all the work for us!  All you need to do is put it in a frame!  Voila!   Christmas Subway Art

Don't worry, Jill and I will continue to share holiday decorating ideas, traditions, and recipes.
By the way, I am ALWAYS looking for ideas! Please share your decorating suggestions, ideas, and your holiday traditions by commenting on this post.We look forward to learning from you!



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