It is DECEMBER!!!!!
(Yes, I am on the hunt to find Brooke her favorite santa suit in a size that will fit her now).
How is it already December? That went really fast. Really fast.
This will be my first Christmas in my new ‘situation’ and I am wanting to make it a good one. The past 6 years I had a lot of traditions/holiday season fun and obviously now that things have changed a lot in my life 4 months ago it is time to start my own traditions.
So I have decided that each day this month Brooke and I will be doing something Christmas/holiday/service oriented each day until Christmas (today I bought her a Christmas book that is all about a dog and we are going to read it over and over again…. dog+ a book + Christmas themed = Brooke will be in heaven).
As I am coming up with a new set of traditions to start with Brooke I wanted to ask you about YOUR traditions for this time of year! What things do you look forward to each holiday season?!
My mom and I watch A Muppet Christmas Carol every year :)
Kari @ Running Ricig
Yes! We do this too!
how about this:
they are Kindness elves….she may be a bit young but it’s pretty neat :)
The Hungry Runner Girl
Coolest thing ever. Thank you for sending me this link… I am going to have my sister do it with her kids too!
You are very welcome! I don’t have children but many of my friends do and it’s a really great way to connect with the season and give it meaning.
Fisher price nativity set. A must. My daughter is 12 and it’s still one of her favorite parts of Christmas. http://www.fisher-price.com/fp.aspx?st=900002&e=storeproduct&pid=62803§ion=excl_view_all
Oh yeah this is much better than the traditional mischievous Elf on a Shelf “report back to Santa” concept.
Katie Did What
Aww I love this idea. This year will be hard for me, too, as it’s the first without my mom, and I am in the same boat with wanting to make it as happy as possible. Some traditions we love: Picking out a Christmas tree and spending a whole evening decorating/sipping hot chocolate/ listening to Christmas music. It really helps get you in the holiday spirit! Drive around looking at lights, again with hot chocolate (necessity). Bake 7 different kinds of cookies- it’s a Norwegian tradition, and we (try) to do it every year. :) Hope you find some new great traditions to start in your household!!
The Hungry Runner Girl
Katie! I am truly so sorry for your loss and anytime you need to email and talk about everything… I am so here. Love all your traditions and we will both do our best to make this year a great one!
Jen @ Jens Best Life
My family always used to get kids’ angels and fulfills their wishes. Now that I’m on the other side of the country, I like to do that, too! Although NYC kids’ requests are things like Nintendo DS’s and UGG boots…
Other things we’d do would be advent calendars (candy every day yum!), baking cookies, and having “dance parties” to Christmas music when I was really little.
Michelle @ 3cheaprunners
Each of my kids pick a child in need from a local charity – and they buy Christmas presents for them
The Hungry Runner Girl
Love it! I think we will be doing this too! Hope you have a great day Michelle!
My parents and I always go shopping or make a new Christmas ornament that represents something from the year. For instance this year I’ll probably get a marathon Christmas ornament since it was a big accomplishment.
I love doing the 12 days of Christmas for somebody in need. Twelve days of prayers, service, gifts or anything nice for that person.
I saw an adorable santa outfit at Target that would fit her… I wanted it for myself ;)
Advent calendars have been a holiday tradition for my family since we were little. My mom used to give us our calendar on Thanksgiving and then come Dec 1st we had a piece of chocolate a day to eat. I’m also going to do the 12 days of Christmas for my daughter this year, which begins on Christmas Day.
We also love a good advent calendar!
Cards for soldiers or for shut-ins and local nursing home residents! Get some Christmas coloring pages for Brooke that you can put inside of the cards!
The Hungry Runner Girl
Brilliant. I will so be doing this. Thank you so so much!!!!!
My favorite? When we were kids, we’d pile into my aunt’s minivan, put on a Christmas CD (? I think they were cassettes back then) and drive around to look at Christmas lights. We’d vote to see if a house deserved a honk. Two honks? Reserved for the best decorated house in the neighborhood.
My husband and I still do this tradition, though we grab Starbucks cocoa and head to the mansion neighborhoods in Atherton and Los Altos :)
I just made a list of 25 things I want to do this Christmas too! The ones I’m most looking forward to are: baking dog bones for neighborhood dogs, driving around to look at the lights, waking up in the middle of the night when it snows to go for a walk with head lamps on, making a wreath, decorating sugar cookies, putting lights in all the windows of my house, having a bon fire, making homemade hot chocolate,and watching my favorite christmas movies: Little Women, Elf, Love Actually, and It’s A Wonderful Life. My favorite traditions from when I was little were going to see the Nutcracker Ballet, decorating cards for my family, and decorating gingerbread houses with my mom. This brought back lots of memories and got me really excited for December. I hope you and Brooke make lots of new traditions and memories this holiday season. :) Lauren
Elise @ 9toFit.com
I think that is such a GREAT idea! I always look forward to those super cold and snowy nights when I just hang in with family watching Christmas movies and drinking hot chocolate. Oh and obviously when we set up the tree!
Baking! :-) When my kiddo was just over one (he was born in August) he loved mixing the sugar cookie dough and using the cookie cutters. If you wanted to skip the stirring part, you could buy the premade stuff :-)
And I thought of another one. My mom used to work in an assisted living home and many of the residents never saw their families for Christmas. We’d visit them with small gifts (think slippers, socks, scarves) and bring our dog (with permission) to see them. They loved when dogs, cats and other small animals would visit, but they especially loved babies :) We’d do carols outside their doors as well. Truly some of my favorite Christmas memories.
Awe, hugs! I am sure Brooke will be there to help you get through the next month like a champ. I love the Christmas dog book idea. When I think of traditions, I think of my family all singing Christmas carols together, even though none of us can sing!
You are amazing!!!
We are having our first ever ornament decorating party! I’m going to make some salt dough and baked cinnamon ornaments and have a jolly ‘ole time! There girls will have a ton of fun and so will we ;) Anything to get into the holiday spirit!
Courtney @ Our Latte Love
This is such a fun idea!! One of my favorite Christmas traditions is that we always go out and each get one new ornament. It’s fun because then when you put all the ornaments on the tree you can pull out and remember each past Christmas by the ornament you got that year(you could also make a new one each year:)) now that I’m “grown up” I got to take most of “my” ornaments and now they decorate our tree!
My family has this tradition, too, but after a few years we started to only put on the previous year’s ornament – since we do a real tree we discovered that a few had gone out with the tree.
That was just until we moved out, though. Now that I live on my own, all of the ornaments come out!
I wrap 25 Christmas books and starting December 1st, my kiddos get to open one as we countdown to Christmas. This is the 4th year doing it and they love it. We also buy gifts for children who may not get anything for Christmas as well as pack Samaritan Purse shoeboxes.
I love having a whole afternoon dedicated to holiday baking! Also, my friends with kids have their kids/babies pick out some of their toys to bring to a shelter or donate somewhere, which i think is so great. happy holiday season!
One night before Christmas my mom and I always get in the car in our pajamas (with blankets, candy, and hot chocolate) and we drive around and look at people’s Christmas lights. :)
The Hungry Runner Girl
I love it!! That sounds like my kind of night! Let me know how it goes this year:)
Great idea to do this with your daughter! I always had pajama day with my kids the day after Xmas to relax after all of the craziness. Remember to be good to yourself, I have been where you are and I know how hard it is. You are doing a great job, cant wait to see the Xmas pics!
The Hungry Runner Girl
Thank you so much Allison. That means the world to me! Hope you are having a great day and your pj day sounds absolutely amazing!
We drive around and look at Christmas lights.
We look at lights at the L.A. temple.
Our town has a Christmas nativity (over 200 kinds) display with live music. My daughter is in one of the choirs with her cousins and friends. We like to check that out every year.
Different years we have made baskets for families that we know are struggling, and fill it with food, a few toys and we ding dong ditch. That’s always super fun.
A family ding dong ditched us 1 piece of a nativity each night wrapped with a little note. They gave us baby jesus and the box the nativity came in on dec 24th. That was cute. Apparently this family does it every year to a different family.
Oh and a loud tradition our family has is chime time. Which is metal pipes cut to different lengths (they make different sounds that way) numbered and we have Christmas carols broken down by the # on the chime written on poster board and we all play the song. Does that make sense? I know several people who have these. Then we have ice cream sundaes.
I used to love to go to Disneyland at Christmas time every year. We havent been in a few years because of the cost but maybe u would like to do that with Brooke? Its so pretty during Christmas.
We always bake cookies and that’s something brooke can help with too (scooping sugar into a bowl, be prepared for the mess, or decorating a cookie with sprinkles.)
Read a different christmas story everyday.
We have an advent calendar that has all the scriptures that tell of jesus’ birth and life that we read each night before bed dec 1st-25th.
We have Christmas eve dinner with the extended family.
We go out for chinese food on Christmas evening (just like a Christmas story) because noone else in the family usually does anything for Christmas dinner. Thats a new tradition we started last year.
Im thinking about starting a new tradition this year and maybe have my kids (with my supervision of course) hand out a little card to random people saying something like “you are special and loved”. I havent worked the kinks out of it yet so im not sure what the end result will be. Maybe we will attach candy or something to it. I will keep you posted.
The Hungry Runner Girl
Okay, I seriously love all of these ideas so so so much!!! They are perfect and I want to copy them all. Will you let me know what you end up doing with the card to random people because I think that will be amazing! Thanks so much for sharing!
One of the traditions I remember is that we got to open one present on Christmas Eve (my mom normally suggested one…pjs, a movie, stuff like that). Also I plan to do this with my son – my mom bought the same wrapping paper each year for each kid so all our presents were always in a specific wrapping paper. It made it easy to see which presents were yours. My mom passed away this year so I think I’ll probably start a tradition to honor her, maybe visit a hospital and volunteer something like that.
I do this :)
I do this, too! It’s always pajamas for everyone (prewashed), and then they go get changed into their comfy new pajamas, we read The Night Before Christmas while drinking hot cocoa (with marshmallows) and then we go to bed. That way, Christmas morning, everyone is wearing new, and fairly similar pajamas, which makes for a perfect photo op. ;-)
Run Charly Run
Y’all should get a puppy.
And then every Christmas, you can dress little Dogbert up in various holiday gear. It’s fun, I promise. Just be sure to have plenty of treats around. :) This is a big Christmas tradition I have with my fur baby.
But if actually acquiring a puppy is not an option, y’all could create a Christmas gift basket for your local shelter or Humane Society filled with treats/necessities or volunteer your time to walk some puppies at your local shelter. Hope y’all have a great start to this Christmas season!
Janae I have been reading your blog for so long but I’ve never commented!
These are some of my favorite traditions:
– We started the tradition last year of watching all 8 Harry Potter movies between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year we’ve already watched 1 and 2 :)
– My whole family (parents, sister, cousins if they’re around) plays Charades on Christmas every year with my best friend and her family, and we are REALLY competitive about it…we just try to come up with the hardest or most ridiculous clues and watch each other struggle. We’ve done Calculus textbooks, song titles that are sixteen words long, instruction manuals, you name it. It is always hilarious. This has been going on for at least 15 years, I think.
– Every year on Christmas morning, I make pancakes for my whole family and my dad makes bacon.
The Hungry Runner Girl
Kristina, thank you so much for commenting! I love reading all of your traditions, they are awesome! I might have to copy your Harry Potter one:)
So many traditions but one that is so simple but I really love is that my mom (even now) always gets me a new pair of pajamas to sleep in on Christmas eve. That way you have pretty new PJ’s for ‘santa’. I’m 26 and she still buys me a set every year.
Courtney @Trigirl Chronicles
Open a present Christmas eve night filled with new pajamas, a christmas movie, popcorn, and hot chocolate mix. Have a cuddle night on the couch in your pj’s and enjoying the movie and snacks.
I go on a multi-day baking bender and make gift baskets for family friends :) It’s a great excuse to consume massive quantities of sugar AND let your loved ones know you’re thinking of them :)
On the night of December 5th, Brooke (or you until she is old enough) will put a shoe out. St. Nick traditionally fills the shoe with treats, but in our house we also have a small gift or two for the kids. When the kids wake up in the morning they are so excited to see what St. Nick has brought! We have also started putting out their Xmas list that night and St. Nick delivers it to Santa for them.
My favorite as a kid was St. Nicks Day on December 6th. You put your shoes (clearly your biggest boots) outside your bedroom door the night before and when you woke up on the 6th they were filled with candy and this is also when we got our yearly ornament. Everyone celebrated this where I grew up, we even put our shoes out again at school, but since I’ve moved to the South I get looked at cross eyed when I tell people about it. I mean I guess it is kind of strange but I love it!
Elizabeth @ my neon running shoes
We did this at my school growing up too! I loved it!
Ah we do this too! I always put my dad’s shoe out to make sure it was big enough :) I recently moved to Utah and tried explaining this to my coworkers..everyone stared at me like I was nuts!
I found this idea on a teacher blog. She calls is RACK (random acts of christmas kindness). Her kids are small so she wrote down 25 activities or crafts that she and her kids could do together. Each day they would pick one paper from the RACK jar and see it through. Some of the ideas included baking cookies for the neighbor, put candy canes on cars in a shopping plaza with a little tag that says “You have been hit with a RACK (random acts of christmas kindness), etc. Super cute idea for the holiday.
Hang in there. There are so many people who read your blog and think you are a Rock Star!
The Hungry Runner Girl
Renee! Thank you so so much for your sweet comment. I absolutely love the RACK idea… thank you so much for sharing that! I am going to have to copy it:) Hope you are having a beautiful day!
Every year my parents get my sister and I an ornament….they started when we were babies so that by the time we were ready to get married/move out of the house, we would have some ornaments for our tree, and each year on Christmas Eve before we would go to sleep we would read Twas the Night Before Christmas…..whenever I’m at home, I still do it! When I’m not, I make Brandon read it to me to continue the tradition :)
Courtney @ CardioQueen
Janae–what a great question to ask to give us all ideas!! :) I know beyond a doubt that whatever you do this season, brooke will love and always remember! It’s so easy to see that you’re a great mom! I don’t have much input but I’d say something simple like watching a different holiday movie each weekend in december (or maybe even 2 to cover a lot of them)! A Muppet Christmas, Elf, The Santa Clause just to name a few!
Lauren @ LITP
The Christmas parade in my hometown is always a highlight. I also look forward to the Christmas party I have with my girlfriends every year. We make the same delicious desserts, and this year we are thinking of doing an ornament exchange or a “my favorite things” party. I also love collecting ornaments each year. My mother’s Christmas tree is like one giant memory book. And, of course, I try to make it a point to help give a good Christmas to a child who might not otherwise have had one. There are opportunities for giving all around! And giving always brings joy – to any season. Happy holidays! :)
Maybe, since you and Brooke already love your weekend chocolate chip pancake tradition, maybe you could make your December ones gingerbread chocolate chip pancakes, or something like that. :)
One of our family traditions is to open up new pajamas on Christmas eve and do a little fashion show with them. They always have to be Christmas themed. Now that I am grown up and married, my husband and I do this. We will wear those pajamas all night and Christmas day!
We also used to have an ornament set that went along with the “night before Christmas”. After each page there was a little ornament that went with that passage that the kids would take turn putting on the tree. It was my favourite tradition.
And of course we would always get a new Christmas dress then wear it to visit santa and have our photos taken. Have to look your best to see the big guy!
Shay @ Whine Less, Breathe More
My favorite tradition is going to see the same Santa every year. We have lunch at the same restaurant and then stop at the Hallmark store to each pick out an ornament.
We make cookies and give them to older people in our church or the local nursing home….and we make a party out of the cookie making :). We set up a decorating table and have Christmas music :). I must say ,y kids also love the elf on the shelf!!!! They just think it is SO fun! I don’t do it every night but I try to….there are 4 million cute ideas on pinterest.
Every year I bring my kids to the same store and they each get to buy their own ornament for the tree…..one day they will hopefully put them on their own tree.
A book is such a good tradition to do. My family has every christmas book from when I was little that we would read every night and my mom’s keeping them for my kids. My sister and I also got an ornament every year that was significant to something new that we did that year like a sport or accomplishment or new hobby. My family cut down our Christmas tree every year, would take our dogs, take funny pictures, and then grab burgers from the same joint every year. Also, we got to open one gift on xmas eve, usually new Christmas pjs! We also always had my dads incredible baked ziti every year after Christmas eve church service. Makes me sad just thinking of how I’ve grown up and will get to be starting new traditions with my family one day.
We also have an ornament tradition that we started when my first was a baby (I have 5 kiddos now, ages 13 down to 5). We get them an ornament that depicts what they are ‘into’ that year (dogs, photography, horses, dolls etc)…
Another neat one I saw someone do: wrap up 25 different Christmas story books. Open one everyday until Christmas and read it (I got a bunch at halfprice books and that helped get us to 25-we don’t wrap ours though)
Drive around and look at Christmas lights. If you see one you like, hang a thank you note on their mailbox with a candy cane or other Christmas goodie attached
Go caroling at a retirement home
Make Christmas cards together (you can use Brooke’s finger print, and paint or ink. Put a bunch of her finger prints on a card in different colored ink/paint and connect them with a fine tip pen and it will look like a string of lights!)
That’s all I can think of for now!
j @ unnaturellerunner
This also my first year in your “situation,” so I’m probably not the best person to answer! But I will anyways :)
I’ve noticed that I’ve gone a little overboard in creating traditions and making Christmas memories, since this year is so different for my son. We’ve already decorated the tree and house. We’re going to go for a walk (son in decorated wagon) around the neighborhood with hot chocolate to look at lights. I went to Michael’s and picked up a ridiculous amount of holiday crafts to do together. We’re also going to a paint your own pottery place to make our own ornaments.
The Hungry Runner Girl
You are doing an awesome job and your son is so lucky! We will get through this holiday season:)
I really do not like the Elf on the Shelf thing. There are a lot of articles about why it’s not a good idea, but I really liked this one: http://www.nauvootimes.com/cgi-bin/nauvoo_column.pl?number=101385&author=hannah-bird2&fb_action_ids=3473349490890&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=246965925417366
My family always read Luke 2 before we opened presents. Another good tradition is reading “The Living Christ”. There are a lot of LDS/Christian advent calendars that I like. I also love the christmas pajamas tradition (the one present you open on Christmas Eve being pajamas you wear to bed that night). I liked baking cookies and giving them to neighbors. I love driving around looking at Christmas lights. When Brooke is older…my family and I loooove watching the corny Christmas movies they have on Lifetime, Hallmark and ABC family.
Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs
Janae, you’re doing such a great job at adjusting to your current situation! I know that you & Brooke are going to have a great holiday season this year, even if it is different than what you’re used to.
Enjoy creating your new traditions!
Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl
The Elf on the Shelf, driving around looking at Christmas lights with Christmas cookies and hot cocoa, seeing a Christmas show, watching Christmas movies, counting down how many days till Christmas, baking Christmas cookies, creating a gingerbread house and buying a new Christmas ornament each year.
We have a few…some just for our family and some involving others. We usually bake cookies, take pictures of the kids at the park or around town, and driving around to look at Christmas lights. We live in a small town and the town has a Christmas decorating contest. Some people take it very seriously and will even have a sign to turn your radio to a certain frequency for music. We also decorate little cakes or cookies with my mom and sister. One of my favorite traditions, yet odd, is we go help mom and dad decorate their tree and we always have burritos/quesadillas for dinner. There’s no correlation between the two, other than we’ve done it for many years. We love it! Traditions just need to be fun, so don’t worry if it’s Christmas-y. Brooke will remember it fondly because of how much you love her, and she loves you! You’re such a good mama for making this month so much fun!
I love reading these! My sister and I were on a similar hunt last year since my mom passed and she was the queen of traditions. I don’t think we settled on any new traditions yet – still working on it. Some things we tried were sledding, ice skating, my own Christmas tree, new jammies the night before Christmas, I tried learning to knit (I had grand plans for this one!) and making ornaments. Pinterest has some great ideas for kid friendly crafts too! We kept the backing tradition though :)
Hey! It’s your old “teacher friend” Brittni. I started something last year based on something kind that happened to me, and it is so much fun! I wanted to buy a soda from the vending machines on one of those days (you know the ones) and there was a little bag taped to the slot filled with enough change for a free soda, along with a note that said “Merry Christmas.” I was so touched that I started getting quarters and leaving them at vending machines around town. I also sometimes ask if I can pay for the people behind me at drive-thrus. It somehow feels sneaky and fun even though it is service-ey. You can squeal away in your car like you need to make a quick get-a-way not to get caught!
The Hungry Runner Girl
IT’S MY BEST TEACHER FRIEND. Oh girl, I miss you so much and I would love to get together for diet cokes and lunch:) I absolutely love your idea. I am so going to do this. I can’t wait. Thank you so so much!!! Brooke and I are so doing this!
Gillian @ That's G
Love this and admire your relentless positivity in what I am sure is a trying time of year.
Some of my favorite family traditions —
– Advent calendars (I am sure Brooke would love opening the little door each day).
– Going and looking at Christmas lights in fancy neighborhoods.
– Listening to Christmas music all the time — when I was little we’d pick out a new Christmas CD every year…might explain why my parents own the Hanson and Christina Aguilera christmas CDs…whoops/
– Read a Christmas book every night.
– Adopt a family/child and shop to put things together for them (i loved this so much as a little girl).
– Baking together.
– Starting an ornament collection. When I was little, I collected Angel ornaments, and now as an adult I have a sizable collection for my own tree. (Brooke and dog ornaments…might be dangerous!)
Anyway, those are all that come to mind!
That’s such a great idea! I love that picture of Brooke by the way. I really admirehow your focus has been to build yourself up for the future in so many ways! I think baking/ decorating sugar cookies, seeing Santa, you know the typical stuff. And maybe going to see Christmas lights. Donating a toy for another child. I think being around family you build traditions that really aren’t even on purpose. My sister & I watch the same Christmas movies over & over again.
Katie @ Bevo Loves an Aggie
Something special to eat for Christmas morning! We do chicken and waffles. :)
This year my daughter is 4 and we are doing Elf on the Shelf. Today was Day 1 and she was sooo excited!
I’m also doing an advent calendar, but instead of candy in it, it has a slip of paper that has something holiday-oriented to do together. At first my daughter was upset there wasn’t a treat, but when I read it to her “Paint your nails in Christmas colors” she was super psyched and can’t wait to read the next paper tomorrow!
I always loved making a paper circle countdown decoration with my mom and ripping off one circle a day. An advent calendar (chocolatee a day!!). And going out together to pick out a New ornament each year!
I’m Jewish so our only Christmas tradition is that we serve Christmas dinner at the local homeless shelter so the Christian volunteers can spend it with their families
We’re having our first Christmas as a house of Unbelievers so it’s definitely a different vibe. I decided to do an activity based Advent calendar for the first time. We’ll have some different activities, some fun, some service oriented.
Examples: we’ll go to Starbucks for hot chocolate and pay for the person behind us, go to Sonic for our daily crack and leave an awesome tip, look at Christmas lights, family date night, reading favorite books, watching favorite movies.
Both of my kids at home (11 & 18) are excited about it.
Don’t forget about Gingerbread Houses! You can make them pretty inexpensively by using royal icing (milk and powdered sugar) to “glue” graham crackers to those small milk cartons. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you about the candy decorating part :)
Jess @ Blonde Ponytail
I’m looking forward to reading all the suggestions. Spencer and I talked about creating traditions that are more about activity than things– like decorating the tree, viewing holiday lights, reading a Christmas story to Jada, etc. Thinking of you and Brooke. She is so lucky to have a mom as dedicated and loving as you Janae. xoxo
We just got our Christmas decorations put up today! Other things I love are baking yummy treats at least once a week and giving them away to people, adopting an Angel from the Angel Tree at my church, watching the 25 Days of Christmas on ABC Family, driving around looking at Christmas lights, and hanging with my loved ones :) this is such a fun season!
I also forgot to say that one tradition we had growing up, was that my aunt would buy everyone a new board game for Christmas and we would open them on Christmas Eve and spend the whole night playing games!
I love this time of year too!! Some things I do that I always look forward to are getting and decorating the tree (probably something everyone does:), wrapping presents on Christmas eve with Wade while we watch The Christmas Story (you’ll shoot your eye out), and a Swedish breakfast on Christmas morning to celebrate my heritage. We could always run around early in the morning and leave random presents on peoples doorsteps…..
We have a gift tradition of something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read. Plus an ornament. We also go see the nutcracker every year and a local church does a Bethlehem walk. My favorite church service all year is lessons and carols on Christmas Eve. I make a big breakfast on Christmas morning for whoever wants to come over and we do appetizers Christmas evening. And we have a fun group of friends we get together with(adults only) and do a Festivus. Complete with “grievances” and a Festivus pole.
Yours is one of my favorite blogs to read. I’m always inspired by your motivation and positivity and I’m so sorry that your Christmas traditions having to change this year. However, I’m sure that you and Brooke and the rest of your family and friends will develop wonderful new traditions. I hope this is your best Christmas yet. Also – that picture of Brooke in her Santa suit is absurdly adorable. I can’t wait for you to find her a new one and post pictures.
This is such a sweet idea! You’re an amazing mom! Some of our traditions include:
-Watching christmas movies as a family (Christmas Vacation on Christmas Eve!)
-Picking out an ornament for the tree every year when we were younger
-Delivering treats to the neighbors
-Getting pedicures with my mom and of course using Christmas red polish
-Adopting children in need though our church and buying them gifts
-Driving around looking at lights
-Going to see a movie (any movie) in theatre together
-Nutcracker Ballet with my mom
I think you’ll have so many traditions that happen organically. Those are always the best, even when they are random!
I love this idea! As I just got married, I am looking for traditions to start to make sure it’s a good month! My husband and I are going to put together different things we want to do and pick one out every day. Drive around to see the lights, watch a Christmas movie, decorate the tree, disconnect and listen to Christmas music, go for a walk to look at the lights after dinner! Just a few ideas :) Can’t wait to hear what you do!
We are doing 25 days of experiences, some require money and some do not. Think, snow ball fight, sledding, hot chocolate, supper at his fav restaurant, me reading a book to him, roller skating, going to the local arboretum to see the light show, etc.
He will get a few presents in addition to support the message. (i.e. book, board game, etc)
Santa is still to come, but honestly, he doesn’t need more toys
I’ll bet your puppy-lover would get a kick out of doing something animal shelter-related. Could be super simple like buying some chew toys and dropping them off.
Going to see Christmas lights, reading Christmas stories, playing Christmas music, baking cookies…my daughter mentioned these first :) But her favorite: one thing I’ve done for 18 years starting with my stepkids is the Santa presents get hidden and are found via treasure hunt with a series of clues. The kids have always LOVED it. It’s a ton of work but worth it. I’d suggest you and Brooke get your own little tree to complement grandma and grandpa’s. And decorate your little space for yourselves. This gets to be how YOU want it. There is a certain freedom in that. I was in a similar ‘situation’ last spring for my BIG birthday and Mothers Day. I started sad but then realized I could do it how I wanted and it was amazing and fun and wonderfully memorable. Wishing you the most delightful, shiniest holiday season ever! Sending you love and joyous energy :)
The Hungry Runner Girl
Best idea ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hot chocolate, candy canes, Christmas carols, baking cookies…..now I remember why I love Christmas so much.
As for activities, as a kid I absolutely LOVED making gingerbread houses. Some other fun things are:
– baking cookies (maybe not for Brooke yet)
– ice skating
– making ornaments (some cool ornaments can be made with pipe cleaners and beads)
– watching Christmas movies (ABC 25 Days of Christmas)
– reading in a blanket
– taking pics with “Santa”
And lastly, running around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights.
Lisa @ runningoutofwine
Some of my favorite holiday traditions are baking cookies and listening to Christmas music. I’m sure there are so many fun traditions that you could start with Brooke-she is at such a fun age!
Tara | Treble in the Kitchen
I look forward to baking ridiculous amounts of Christmas cookies, driving to my parents so I can “wake up” with the family on Christmas morning and eat Cinnamon Rolls and open/give presents. :) I love the holidays! It sounds like this will be a great start to a whole lot of brand new traditions for you :) Happy Holidays!
My favorite tradition is decorating our Christmas tree. We used to do it around my mom’s birthday (December 12), but after my parents divorced it changed to accommodate work schedules. We would always get a real tree, then my parents would put the lights on, then we’d make fake “snow” (dreft powdered laundry detergent mixed with boiling water – add slowly and mix with a hand blender). Once my dad had the desired consistency we would go to town making it “snow” on the tree (smearing it on the branches). The next night we would add the ornaments. The only downside is we all associate the smell of that laundry detergent with Christmas so my dad had to continue the tradition long after he wanted to stop (the things he will do for his daughters!). Fortunately for him, I got my first real tree this year so we did the tree decorating at my house last night!
Kate @ Endorphin Junkie
My family has the tradition (I think it’s a German tradition) for my Mom to hide an ornament in the shape of a pickle on the tree and my sister and I have to find it on Christmas Eve. Whoever finds it gets an ‘extra present’ (which is a movie that we all watch together). It’s usually a kids movie…even now when we’re in our twenties we’ve requested Despicable Me 2 :)
For many years our family would wrap items to take to the nursing home. Things like baby powder, lotion, and other personal care items and take out to put under their tree. That way, ones that don’t have visits during Christmas can also have items to unwrap. Call the nursing home and see what items they need. Most items can be found at the dollar store.
-Christmas Cookies! I bake 4-5 different batches of cookies all in one day. Truffles too!
-Once a week (through December), I go to a drive through place (Starbucks or Chick- Fil-A) and pay for the person behind me.
-Getting the Xmas tree and decorating it while listening to Xmas music and drinking hot chocolate.
-Watch 1 Christmas movie a week (always the same ones)
-Go to a light walk that they have at a botanical garden place near us
-Search for neighborhoods with really good Christmas lights and ride by the see them
One night each week we look at Christmas lights.
We also make homemade hot cocoa mix and drink lots of it.
We also do an advent calendar with a Bible verse and candy inside.
Kate @ Endorphin Junkie
Oh…and I’ve also received a Christmas ornament every year…which is awesome because I can pretty much decorate an entire tree with all of my ornaments!
Love the idea of having a little Jerusalem dinner on the floor before/while reading the Christmas story. More about it here: http://www.moneyhipmamas.com/2013/11/christmas-traditions.html?m=1
I don’t have kids, but I’ve started a tradition with my husband that I can’t wait to continue with children. I always buy us matching pajamas and wrap them up for us to open on Christmas Eve. We then wear them Christmas morning and take our picture in front of the tree. I can’t say my husband loves the corny pjs I buy and force him to wear, but he always humors me. I’ve also had our pj picture turned into an ornament to hang in the tree.
On a weekend night in early December we sleep next to the tree. Coincidentally, Santa always brings matching Christmas Jammie’s while my girls are in the bath on our sleep out night. Sometimes he leaves the window, front door or back door cracked open since he had to “rush” out to avoid getting caught. The girls are old enough now that when we tell them when the sleep out is, they anticipate a visit. Sometimes Santa leaves them a note with the Jammie’s. We do it early in the season so they enjoy the Jammie’s through the entire Christmas season. The next morning is an extra special breakfast.
Leah @ Running with the Hayneses
We make Christmas wreaths out of evergreen branches and make homemade sugar cookies and frost/decorate them.
I haven’t read all the above comments so my suggestions may be repeats!
1) we watch all the Christmas movies. Especially Elf, Love Actually and National Lampoons Christmas vacation. Brooke may be too young ;)
2) New Pyjamas on Christmas Eve.
3) putting up our tree on the first day of December
Sam @ Better With Sprinkles
A Christmas movie night is a definite must with my family – 3 or so holiday favourites complete with Christmas cookies and some hot chocolate (with baileys for the adults ;-))
and taking a drive or a walk around to look at Christmas lights is another good one!
Donating some canned goods to the local food pantry! I grew up in a rural, middle-class area, and it was surprising to find out how many families relied on our small local food pantry just to get by each week. Donating to the food pantry is such an easy way to “do good” around the holidays, and is something I definitely want to do with our kids when we have them! Wishing you a wonderful Christmas!
Kara @ Kara in the Kitchen
I just posted my advent calendar ideas that I’m doing with my girls this month! http://karainthekitchen.com/christmas-advent-activities/
Abbey @ thesonomalife
This is only our second year in CA, so I am still figuring out what our traditions are! But here are some fun things I’ve picked up over the years…
Instead of signing up for a race, I like to choose a charity that is close to my heart, make a donation to them, then I go out for a run and just think about that charity and the good work they are doing for the world. It feels a little more personal to me than a big race.
Another fitness-related tradition is one that my old Crossfit in Houston instituted, which was to do one burpee for each day in December… so one on the 1st, 2 on the 2nd, etc…
I also like to dress my cat in his snuggy. He hates that tradition. And I can’t believe I just admitted to that.
I keep thinking about you Janae and I truly, truly wish you the best during this season! I really believe that we are all stronger than we sometimes give ourselves credit for, and I know you will come out of this even more of a rockstar than usual. And if it takes diet coke (and whatever else you need) to get you there then so be it! :)
It is hard when life changes. This will be our second Christmas in Seattle while all of our family is in Boston. We have decided to go to Whistler, BC and ski on Christmas. But we will continue some traditions before we leave. We bake cookies for neighbors and friends the week before Christmas. We also bring needed items to a women’s shelter. We need to realize how fortunate we are and it feels so good to give back.
I know it’s not the most exciting idea, but…
I have two movies I can’t go without watching during the Christmas season:
1. A Charlie Brown Christmas: only the most epic Christmas movie possibly ever made, plus Snoopy is a puppy (meaning Brooke will probably love it) My mom would always watch it with us several times in the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas…and by several I mean at least 2-3 times a week.
2. Muppets Christmas Carol: Brooke may be a little young (some of the ghost parts are a little creepy…) but it is a solidly fun, cute Christmas movie. And who doesn’t love the Muppets? Maybe focus on the beginning/middle part and leave out the ending…that’s when it gets weird.
These are such wonderful ideas! What I have learned (in all my yeeeears of experience!) is that most traditions happen naturally, and then they evolve as kids get older, leave the nest, etc. Start with one. Maybe two to fit well into yours and Brooke’s lives. Take on too many, and then you may feel overwhelmed and discouraged if you cannot do them every year or do them well. Traditions that last, and that everyone loves, are those that are personal and usually not from a friend or neighbor. (although we had some of those, too!) Some of our favorites just happened by chance and the next year one of the kids would say, “Oh, let’s make the muffins in the morning like we did last year!” BAM!! 20 years later and we are still making the muffins! Traditions will grow as you and Brooke grow! XO
Oh, and I watch Muppet’s Christmas Carol at least 5 times a season! Used to drive the kids nuts! But then they all moved out and now I watch hassle-free!!
My husband and I have yet to be able to have kids, so we always adopt several Salvation Army children and buy them everything on their lists. I always cry the entire time we shop. ;-)
When we go to my parent’s home a few days before Xmas we always have brinner (mom’s waffles!!!) and then load into the car w/ blankets and hot chocolate. We drive to the wealthiest suburbs in town and “rate” each house’s Xmas decorations!
I host 3 different types of parties among my different jobs/friends: cookie exchange, Dirty Santa, and Xmas Vacation/Griswald theme–(it’s a classic!)
Tell me more about the Griswald Christmas party!
Rachel @ Undercover Diva: A Sitcom
When we were little, we used to drive around with my parents and look at all the Christmas lights (as was said by a few other people). My dad STILL reads us “Twas the Night Before Christmas” on Christmas Eve…even though we are 30, 23, and 21. On Christmas Eve, we also go to my aunt & uncle’s house in our ridiculous pajamas (last year’s theme was footsie pajamas) and eat a lot of food and enjoy a lot of time with family. On Christmas Day, we sit at the top of the stairs in our PJs so mom can get a picture before we head downstairs to open presents. We are not allowed downstairs until that has happened!
My son and I have been solo for a few years and have built new traditions. Two favorites — we love to travel, so I buy ornaments wherever we travel to that year and keep them in a special bag. When we decorate the tree, I pull out the new ornaments from that year and we remember all the special trips we have taken together and look at the previous years trips on the tree. I now have two trees if that tells you about us!
I also let him chose a short trip over the Christmas break. It may be a theme park, holiday event, etc but it is a way to celebrate with only two people. It often seems hard to celebrate with a small family but we have had many special memories, and we get together with our extended family on the big day.
It is hard and different, but when there is so much love and such a special bond that is shared. We are so close and happy – 5 years later. Onward & Upward!
-We always drove around the fancier neighborhoods to admire the Christmas lights. -My mom would take me every year to pick out a new ornament for our tree.
Some of my favorites from when I was a kid are:
-Driving around and looking at all the lights. There was one house I was convinced Santa lived in himself – it was so amazingly decorated each year.
-Spending an evening listening to Holiday tunes and baking lots of different cookies/deserts. It’s fun to have people over to do this too and turn it into a fun gathering :)
-Sledding/building snow people followed by hot chocolate.
-Holiday movie/cartoons night
– Spending a night decorating the Christmas tree with holiday music and/or movies playing in the background.
-In more recent years, I’ve been volunteering more during the holiday months – it makes other people smile and in turn makes me smile so even if I’m having a bad day, I feel a lot better.
I’m sure however you decide to spend the days with Brooke – she’s going to love it. :)
I love Christmas movies, books, and music, so there’s a lot of that going on in December. We take the kids to a Christmas store every year and let them choose a new ornament. Lots of baking, of course. We also do something called Christmas Love. It’s sort of like the 12 days of Christmas. 13 days before Christmas we secretly leave a letter explaining what’s going on, a letter, and a gift that starts with that letter. Each day a new gift and letter (spelling out Christmas Love) gets left secretly. Always fun for the kiddies, and we never reveal ourselves. We also have a Christmas Eve program where everyone has to share something/a talent with the family. When we’re in warm climates, on Christmas Eve we fly a kite, in colder climates we go sledding. We also have a simple Advent that we do each year. It’s in the 2000 Friend magazine, and we just reprint it each year, and let the kids take turns reading the scripture, and putting the picture on.
My family would always set up the nativities– minus baby Jesus, and help us remember what Christmas is about!
Also sitting on Santa’s lap…a necessity!!
Have you ever seen “Christmas Eve on Sesame Street”? It’s actually one of the greatest movies ever – my family and I watch it together every year.
Miranda @ Lovely Wife Lovely Life
Advent calendars! Going to see Christmas light shows! Making Christmas cookies (she might be a little young still)! Making ornaments out of cinnamon dough http://www.whimsy-love.com/2012/12/diy-cinnamon-ornaments.html! Putting out reindeer food on Christmas eve (dry oats in paper bags with the reindeer’s names on each one- she might be too young for this one too)! Writing letters to Santa! Going sledding! Making snowmen!
Heather Eats Almond Butter
We make simple gingerbread houses with graham crackers, put together a stocking for the Salvation Army to give to a family, bake Christmas cookies with red and green M&M’s, stay up late one night and drive around looking at Christmas tree lights in our PJ’s, have a picnic in front of Christmas tree, watch Christmas Vacation, although Brooke is probably a bit young for Cousin Eddie. ;)
And on Christmas Eve, we all wear Christmas PJ’s and make homemade pizzas.
I didn’t read all the awesome ideas, so this may be a repeat, but we do operation Christmas Child boxes every year…a way to make it about someone else. Also, new Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve!
We haven’t done this for several years, but we would always go to Christmas lights at the botanic gardens in Denver with my grandparents. It was always (and still is) amazing to look at the billions of lights they would put up every year. The cool part is that I live a block away from the gardens now so I can see some of the lights when I run around my park.
No matter what traditions you do, they will be special to you and Brooke. I feel like the most special memories I have are ones that are unique with my mom and the rest of my family :)
I love reading all these ideas, I’m definitely stealing quite a few.
We always do fondue on Christmas Eve instead I dinner. And one we started last year that my one year old loved is going to the festival of trees! She loved looking at all the different Christmas trees, they are all different themed and went nuts anytime she would see a toy or stuffed animal on them.
Brooke is one blessed girl to have a special mom like you
Our FAVORITE tradition is ding dong ditching. Wait! It’s not bad! We bake goodies and make plates to deliver. We each pick a family that we want to take the goodies to. Then, we park away from the house, leave the plate on the door step, ring the doorbell and run. Seriously! THE MOST FUN!! We have been doing this for 25 years (I know – I’m old!) When I ask my kids who are in college what they want to do when they get home for the holidays, this is the first thing they all say. We started when our oldest was about Brooke’s age. It’s hard to be stealthy when you are running away with a toddler. We got caught a lot when they were little. Now we enlist our friends help and go a few times every December. Last year we had 4 mini vans/SUVs traveling together. Imagine 14 kids and 3 parents running away from the door – so fun!
Oh and I forgot to add that I listen to bing Crosby white Christmas every year. Its. A tradition my parents started and it is something I still remember. Maybe there is some special Christmas music from your childhood to pass on to Brooke.
Yes – me too. Only Bing’s White Christmas here – I don’t think my hubby and 10 year old are as impressed with it as I am (its from my parents and Grandmother)… “J-jingle bells.. j-jingle bells j – jingle all the wa -ay!”
Pittsburgh is big on cookies so we get many different cookie cutters and edible toppings and make creative sugar cookies :)
Gracie (Complicated Day)
When I was growing up, my only sister and I shared a room (for 15 years until she went to college!). Every night in December, after we went to bed, my sister and I would sing Christmas carols: one for each day of the month. By Christmas night we sang 25 carols! I love those memories, and I love that I know know many obscure carols by heart (like Good King Wenceslas and Bring a Torch Janet, Isabella).
An adult tradition my husband and I have is a fancy Christmas breakfast while opening our stockings (my favorite part). It gives me a chance to try a breakfast dish that would normally be too time-consuming, and a hearty meal holds us over until a late family meal. This year I think I’m doing homemade sausage and panettone!
And you are just doing so well. In the middle of this tough place you are keeping things positive, and you can tell it’s keeping Brooke happy during what could be a stressful time for her, too. Good job, mom!
What a great question to ask-I too am learning new Christmas traditions from all your readers! Making a real fruitcake about a month before Christmas, decorating the tree and listening to songs and looking at the Christmas lights on houses are some. It can be hot here at Christmas, so a Christmas day game of backyard cricket and a swim in the pool are essential activities. Good old board games like Pictionary are fun in the evenings. My friend invites me to her church for a gingerbread house making event which I think I might make a family tradition. Eating as many lollies as you stick on the house is a golden rule! I hope you find some special traditions to make it a special time for you, Brooke and the rest of your family.
Thanks for this post! Gives me ideas as well since I am also in the same situation as u. First Christmas in my current situation so I’m looking for new ideas as well.
I’ve always done a baking day and packaged up little care packages for family and friends with an assortment of cookies and chocolate and candy. On Christmas Eve we go to the Christmas Eve service at our church then over to my parents for turkey dinner (we like to have leftovers the next day so no one has to cook) and play the “present game”. Don’t know if you’ve heard of it but basically u draw numbers and swap gifts with other people if u get a higher number then them…(I’m not good at explaining things lol).
I’m sure u and Brooke will have a blast this month. :)
There were already a lot of comments when I got around to reading, so I’m sure Elf On The Shelf has been suggested. Just do it. We started when my oldest was 3 (my 2nd was not even 1). Now that my oldest is a wicked cool 6 (and a 1/2) year old she still cannot wait for our elf (Elfkin) to arrive. :)
Brooke @ sweats & sweets
We watch Christmas Vacation when decorating the tree and house. It just makes it feel more like Christmas!
Emily @ Running for Boston
AWESOME! Our family knows that movie verbatim! :) “Grace, she died 30 years ago….”
I’m not creative enough for 25 days, so we do Family Fridays. I wrap all the little clues and put them under the tree. The first Friday is the day after thanksgiving . “Put these on, grab a blanket and let’s watch Charlie Brown Christmas”….and they get new jammies.
I have little craft things for one Friday night, bring a treat to the fire department to say thank you for keeping us safe, family game night with a new game, learn about Christmas carol composers and sing a few songs together (but this usually turns into a dance party to Christmas songs on the iPod), ding dong ditching treats to Primary teachers , get a new Just Dance Wii game and everyone has to participate, seeing the lights up at Temple Square, go to the live Nativity in Alpine, pay for the person behind us in the Mcdonalds drive thru, and etc. I try to not to have a “present” of every Friday, but more of a family activity.
Good luck Janae! You will handle all of this with grace and dignity!
I did a pinterest craft day with my mom & son last year. Brooke may be a bit young, but it could be fun with your family. We’re also getting ready to deliver Christmas presents to our ‘Angel Tree’ kids (kids who have a parent in prison).
Just for the love, please, no elf on the shelf…
Lindsey @ OneMotherofaDay
I’m doing a 24 day countdown for my son who will be 2 yrs old next week. I’m hoping to get a blog post up tomorrow with all the days. I found a lot of my ideas on Pinterest!
This is easy and focuses on Christ. Plus I feel like it’s geared toward kids.
Focusing on Christ is so important and easy to forget. This was a good reminder.
Our favorites: Christmas movie (pick a favorite to be YOUR movie…ours is Elf), driving around looking at lights, shopping for Toys for Tots, making cookies, wrapping presents, putting up the tree, getting out our Christmas village, seeing Santa…
I love you positive determination! My birthday is on Christmas Eve and I’m turning the big 30 so I’m doing 30 random acts of service! A few of mine include taking balloons to sick kids at the hospital, Mylar- I think, or whatever the hospital approved balloons are, taking flowers to the nursing home, paying for someone’s meal behind me in line, delivering pizza to a family in my neighborhood that’s having a rough time, giving blankets and water to the homeless, ding dong ditching goodies… Service can be simple too, a simple note to your sweet baby girl for her to read on a few years, baking cookies (even for yourself) I love the idea of losing ourselves in service. Way to be a great example!
The Hungry Runner Girl
WOW!! That is seriously so amazing. What an incredible thing to do on your 30th… losing ourselves in service = true happiness. Thanks Kendra!
Definitely I am alone for the holidays–so I am used to and appreciate new traditions. I enjoy:
–decorating a tree and making cookies to give the secretaries and service-people in my life,
–sending ‘thank-you’/holiday notes to relatives that I won’t be seeing for the holidays
–mailing packages to friends who live far away now
–reading lots of holiday stories and watching some of the holiday movies on TV… especially Home Alone 1 and Home Alone 2
–DEFINITELY: you must decorate a gingerbread house (from a kit, not just graham crackers) with Brooke, she will love it!
Enjoy! Try out every tradition you can think of! Worse comes to worse, it will be a hilarious memory.
The Hungry Runner Girl
I love your last piece of advice and you are so right about the gingerbread house! Thanks so much Laura!
Yo Momma Runs
Charlie Brown Christmas is a must watch. We just started an advent countdown this year (with one with the little doors that I found on Target clearance after Christmas last year), and my kids are so excited. Plus I want to take them to do a bunch of sneaky service. Like drive through a fast food place just to pay for the person’s meal behind us. I think they will totally get into that.
Megan @ Meg Go Run
Go Christmas caroling :) Or just sing them at home!
We buy a special ornament every year and write the year on the bottom to remember when we got it. The goal is that in 20 years, we will have enough ornaments to have a special tree just for them, and as our collection grows, our tree will grow too.
We also have a historic threatre downtown that plays classic Christmas movies a couple of weeks leading up to Christmas. They have an old organ that they play Christmas carols on before the movie and everyone sings along. We usually try to go see at least one of the movies, because going is an experience in itself.
The friend magazine has great ideas for christmas (and all year long). They had a fun advent calendar a few years back that i laminated and use every year. I love it bc it has a scripture for every day and a simple question to teach about the xmas story.
We also do a craft every day from dec 1-25; lots of snowmen, rudolph, elves, coloring. My 5 kids range from almost 2-9 and they love this! We bake cookies for the neighbors, drive around and look at lights, have hot chocolate and watch the polar express, take the kids to the dollar tree to buy their siblings gifts, but their absolute fav is the pickle prize! We have a small pickle ornament that we hide on the tree on xmas eve. Whoever finds it gets a special gift!
The Hungry Runner Girl
I need to find that Friend Advent calendar! I love all of your traditions… thank you so much for sharing with me!
Here ya go :)
The Hungry Runner Girl
You are seriously the best. Thank you so so so much!
This will by my first Christmas in a very new “situation” as well. I so enjoy your blog and have missed it the past month while life was too busy happening to allow me to read/write. I love that you are going to create new traditions. Sorry I don’t have anything to add ;-) Happy belated Thanksgiving!
The Hungry Runner Girl
Good luck Hali!! We will make this Christmas in our situations a good one! I hope you are having a great night:)
My mother is German, so my brother and I always had our shoes filled on December 6th (night before) with chocolate and other treats, but always something very personal to each child. Might have been new pencils, erasers, coloring books, whatever we loved, fit in the shoe, and was under $10. Could be extra special given your family’s proclivity to running shoes. :) Merry, merry Christmas!
The Hungry Runner Girl
I love this idea so so much! Thank you so much Kristi! What a special thing:) Hope you are having a great night!
That’s great to start new traditions just for you and Brooke!
Some of mine include:
-I buy Xmas pjs for each of the kids. It’s the one gift they get to open on Xmas eve and they put them on that night and wear them to bed. They love it.
-I make the same awesome blueberry and strawberry coffee cake for Xmas morning.
-We also drive around with hot cocoa or mochas and look at pretty lights.
– I have some must-see movies for the holiday season: The Holiday, It’s a Wondrful Life, The Family Man, Miracle on 42nd Street, Elf, Christmas Vacation, The Santa Clause…..I’m sure there are many others but I’m drawing a blank!
Oh one more to add:
-My mom, sister and aunt and I all do a cookie exchange. It’s fun and we get tons of awesome cookies to share with others. My little girl likes to help me decorate the cookies, it’s a lot of fun and I know how you love your sweets!
awww.. you and Brooke will make some AWESOME traditions! marshall and i haven’t really made a ton of our own yet (i know, weird, we have been together 6 years..) but we do a lot with my family. we buy groceries for a needy family on christmas eve every year and deliver it anonymously. that’s my favorite. we did lights at temple square every year until i was, like, 25! now i am too old to brave the cold haha. LOVE YOU!
Best question ever!! I am totally adopting some of these traditions :) Our family traditions are pretty standard – decorate the Christmas tree together, watch a Christmas Story at some point, we do a huge cookie baking day with my grandma and cousins/aunts — literally hundreds of Christmas cookies that get divided up between the families – yum!! We also go to church together on Christmas Eve with our extended family and have dinner, and then on Christmas morning we open stockings first (when we were little, it was what we could open before our parents got up), then presents, and then my Dad makes a huge brunch :) Love Christmas!! :)
[email protected] milesandblessings
Oh yeah!!! Brooke might be a little young….but we also make a big deal out of the polar express movie! I make my kids polar express tickets ( you can find cool gold ones online) and we have a blast watching that movie!
Drive around looking at Christmas lights, watch Christmas movies (while in pjs of course!), making gingersnap cookies from scratch (to die for!), volunteer in your community (my fave is one that is geared towards foster children), go caroling, light a fireplace (if you have one) and have hot chocolate (bonus if it’s got apple cider or peppermint hot chocolate)!
Meaghan @ Tale of Two Teachers
I just made is a gratitude advent calendar! Each day we will write what we are most grateful for :)
I love doing Christmas light tours and Christmas crafts! We are hosting a Whoville themed party this year where we all dress up with the crazy outfits and/or hairstyles!
This is a new tradition year for me too – for great reasons – it will be my first Christmas with my boys family!
Meaghan @ Tale of Two Teachers
Oh and also my mom and I used to bake Xmas cookies and take them to the local homeless shelter. Which was a really good experience for me as a kid!
Every year my mom buys me and my sister 1 extra special Christmas tree decoration. she started it so when we left home we would have enough to start our own tree :)
I donate to a local charity that rescues dogs humanely!! You could find a small local one in your area and visit the dogs maybe!
Ice skating!! And we always create a gift shoe box as part of the local church donation!
When I was little all the way up until my early 20s, my nana would have an advent calendar for my sis and I. We also decorated gingerbread houses every year.
Her traditions meant the world to me. When I was 23 I lost her and in the 7 years since, Not a day goes by that i dont miss her. One of the things my best friend and I always do is make gingerbread houses. She never let the tradition die and we keep up with it every year still. :)
On Christmas Eve, my husband, stepdaughter and I watch the grinch (cartoon one) and drink “grinch punch” it’s green sherbet in sprite! Yum!
I know you will make this Christmas a wonderful one, and you and Brooke will make
So many new and amazing traditions!
Emily @ Running for Boston
I’m a fan of new traditions. Traditions (old and new) = new stories = more memories.
Some of my holiday traditions are:
-Fondue on Xmas Eve
-Going to see a play downtown Chicago – half the time it’s holiday oriented, the other half the time it’s whatever’s showing
-KRINGLE (O&H Bakery will deliver the BEST pastry you will ever try in your life. —-Trust me on this one…..unless you actually happen to be eating Kringle while in Denmark)
-Running group holiday morning run followed by breakfast of kringle
I love grabbing hot cocoa and driving around looking at Christmas lights! We also decorate our tree together and make tons of cookies to give away
We watch The Hangover every year on Christmas Day before we either go to relatives houses or they come to ours! It has been going on since the year the movie came out. I bought it for my brother and my parents fell in love with it and so it is something we always look forward too!
I am sure you and Brooke will have many, many holiday traditions. You are so blessed to be surrounded by such a loving family. What a great support system! We have several traditions much like others have listed already….christmas cookies, advent calendar, operation Christmas boxes, giving trees, driving around looking at the lights in our pjs, walking thru Bethlehem at a local church.
I have included a link below to a website with a plan called Light ’em Up 2013. It is 100 ways to light up your community with kindness. It’s fantastic and a great way to focus on others this holiday season.
Samantha @ 24to30
She’s a little young for this, but I make ornaments with the kids every year…we keep one to put on our tree and give the rest away. I try to do it early enough in the season that it’s fun and not stressful…and I’m not very crafty so I keep it simple :)
Angie @ Pint of Goals
This will be the first Christmas with our daughter, and I can’t wait! We put up our tree yesterday, and she loved staring at the lights. For the last five years, my husband and I would celebrate Christmas early with just the two of us; we’d get BBQ to go, open gifts, and watch Love Actually. I’m not sure if we’ll continue this tradition forever but it has been a special one.
Kari @ Running Ricig
When I was younger, I’d bake with my mom and grandma every Christmas.
The night before Christmas my mom and I watch Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, which is a movie made in the early 80s. If Brooke likes Sesame Street I recommend it highly. I enjoy it as an adult too (plus the 80s styles are hilarious!)
Christmas is my favorite time of year, and you are my fave blogger, so I wanted to share my tradition! Each December, I pick a day (usually two!) to bake hundreds of Christmas cookies, which I send or give out to family and friends. During the week leading up to the big day, I sit by the lit Christmas tree, watching a movie and selecting the top ten cookie recipes I’ll be using that year. Then, on cookie day, I blast the Christmas music, allow people to “enter the kitchen at their own risk,” and bake away for hours! It’s my most treasured Christmas tradition, especially because it’s something I do on my own, which is why I decided to comment the idea to you :) And I love being able to give cookies out, spreading Christmas cheer! The best! For the last 5 years it’s become quite the privilege to receive a box of my Christmas cookies! Ha! Enjoy your holiday season, I hope you found some fun new ideas for Christmas traditions for you and Brooke!
New pj’s, books, hot chocolate and Christmas light gazing, adopt a family, back for local service people :)
Watching A Christmas Story.
Volunteering at a clothing drive station
We bake cookies for a whole afternoon, we sing Christmas songs every night before bedtime, I read them lots of Christmas books, we have an elf on the shelf for the first time, we decorate the tree together! Hope you find some new traditions!
The Live Nativity in Alpine is the first weekens in December and is great to appreciate the real meaning of Christmas. My stepmom always does a cookie exchange party which ia fun to see everyone’s creativity and of course you get to sample tons of different cookies!
The Hungry Runner Girl
Where in Alpine?!?
The Hungry Runner Girl
Lots of people have said it already, but “adopting” a family in need and buying presents for everyone is a really good way to give back during the holiday season.
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This is such a great idea! I am in a similar situation, and need ideas to make this holiday fantastic (or, at least not sad). I was thinking about doing an Advent calendar, and adding in fun activities maybe? The only holiday tradition I have is to watch White Christmas on Christmas Eve while drinking wine and wrapping presents.