Christmas Traditions

Every year, I try to have all the Christmas chaos contained by the first few days of December.  By that, I mean I try to have the house decorated, ornaments made, gifts purchased & wrapped, & Christmas cards mailed.  I figure that when all the details are finished, I can sit back & enjoy the Christmas season with my family!

We have started several traditions over the years, & most of our December weekends are spent fulfilling them.

The Friday & Saturday after Thanksgiving, our village hosts "Hometown Holidays".  This was the first year we were able to go, but we had such a good time, I'm hoping we can make this a tradition (as long as we are in town for Thanksgiving).  Local businesses host different activities & give away samples of their goods.  They also give free vintage fire truck rides to the holiday train display.

{Hometown Holidays}

Usually, the first Sunday in December, our old church hosts a Family Christmas night, in which you go to different rooms as a family & create Christmas crafts, play games, & listen to Christmas stories & music.  Our children always love to go to this, & it is so neat to look back each year at all the ornaments they have created from Family Christmases past!

{Cookie decorating at Family Christmas a few years ago}

One Saturday morning every December, my son's school hosts a free "Pancakes with Santa" breakfast.  The kids enjoy going to this & after eating, they can shop for cheap gifts for their families at the Elf Shelf.

{Pancakes with Santa}

Each year, the Macy's downtown puts on Macy's Downtown Dazzle.  We love to go downtown & enjoy all the free holiday festivities (They repeat them every Saturday!).  There are horse drawn carriage rides, gingerbread displays, pictures with Santa, cookies & a story with Mrs. Claus.  Of course, the highlight is watching Santa, his elf, & reindeer rappel down onto Macy's rooftop, which is followed by a fireworks display.  This definitely makes the holiday seem magical!

{Mailing letters to Santa}

{Sitting on Santa's lap}

{Story time with Mrs. Claus}

{If you look really closely where the spotlight hits, you can see Santa & his helpers waving...They rappelled down from the taller building on the right}

Last year was the first year we did the "Minivan Express".  I originally saw the idea on Confessions of a Homeschooler & if you go to Erica's site, you can print off tickets to the minivan express.  For our "Minivan Express" we ate pizza & watched the movie The Polar Express.  When the movie was over, we had the kids go upstairs & get ready for bed as usual.  Earlier in the day, my husband had decorated the inside of the van with Christmas lights.  While the kids were in the shower, I popped popcorn & made hot chocolate & put it in their seats in the car.  Then, as soon as my kids pulled down their covers, they found their golden tickets!  Once they had their tickets, my husband, (who was now downstairs & had cued the DVD) began blasting the scene where the train pulls up to the little boy's house from the DVD.  It seriously sounded like the train was pulling up to OUR house!  Zeke was extremely excited, but Elie was terrified & had to be carried downstairs kicking & screaming!

{Bad quality, but they have found their tickets & Elie is beginning to panic!  She's actually walking to the window to see if she can see the train!}

Once we got them downstairs, they got their tickets punched & got in the van which was decked out with lights, Christmas music, & snacks.  Then, we went to a drive through nativity & looked at Christmas lights.

{Minivan Express}

Another yearly Christmas tradition is to go to the local conservatory & check out their live animal nativity & beautiful poinsettia displays.  Believe it or not, but the kids actually really enjoy this!


Well, I'm pretty sure that's how we spend the Christmas season each year!  Of course, we also love to snuggle on the couch & watch all the classic Christmas movies.  The best part about doing all these things is just being together as a family.  In a month that is usually chaotically busy, I'm glad that most of our chaos is from all the fun we are having as a family!

What are some of your holiday traditions?



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