Christmas Traditions and the WardCircus

I am currently completely obsessed with holiday traditions and so I thought I would talk about some here on the ol' bloggity blog. Christmas traditions were I think one of the happiest parts of my childhood so they are a huge deal in my mind! :)

I think Christmas traditions should have a goal of drawing the family together, reminding us the Reason for Christmas, should be FUN and EASY.

Growing up our traditions consisted of:
-Advent. My Mom really went all out for Advent, not only did we do the wreath and candles, but she wrote a script and had mix-tapes with the songs that went along with that weeks theme. :) She is the Advent queen. :)

-Driving around, looking at lights.
All. the. time. Whenever we left the house pretty much. We loved it! We would pick our favorites and see them over and over again.

-Ornaments. Every year we would get a new ornament to add to our collection that would someday move with us onto our own tree as adults. We each had a theme, I got bell ornaments, my sister Lisa got angels, Tina got doves and Joey got drummer boys. Fun!
Sadly, our house burned down my senior year of high school and most of the ornaments were destroyed. :( I still get sad a little when decorating the tree.

-At some point my Mom found a kid-friendly nativity scene and she would hide the wise men around the house and we would find them as they were on their journey to see Jesus. :)

-When I was in Cubbies (so like 2 or 3) I made a little manger with popsicle sticks and straw and had a baby Jesus. We took it home and our parents would add straw to the manger as we did kind things, obeyed, helped Mama, etc. and then on Christmas morning, baby Jesus would appear in the manger. Honestly, I would like to revise this a bit to make it less works based but I am not sure how to do that yet. Any ideas?

These days, I am the Mommy. :) Mommies seem to be the ones that generally organize and get the season going, and that includes traditions! Yay! Fun job. :)
Around here, we have some traditions but I have really been working to add some more to our Christmastime season. ;)

-Ornaments! Imagine my surprise when I found out Chase's family had the same ornament tradition that mine did! :) They didn't have a theme, but every year they got an ornament from their parents and grandparents! Yay!!!
For our kids though, we did pick a theme just because I always liked having one. Growing up, my family wasn't huge, there were only four kids, but it was nice to have something that was *mine.* ;) So we stuck with the themes-at least for what ornaments we get them. Their grandparents and greats still give ornaments every year too and not all of them do the theme which adds some variety to their ornaments. :) So far, our themes are snowmen, stars, balls, Christmas trees, and snowflakes. I love it!

-PJ's on Christmas Eve. This is a tradition Captain Awesome started which is so cute. He picks out new jammies every year that they open Christmas Eve. I really watch the jammie sales before Christmas because they are crazy expensive for some reason. (The Shopular app is AWESOME.) This year we got them at Children's Place on flash sale for $5 a set! Woot! (And then, because for some reason by law, pajamas must be doused in a nasty flame-retardant chemical, I wash them a bunch of times before Chase wraps them up. Ha!)

When I asked about traditions on Facebook, a couple of friends said they did a scavenger hunt for the jammies. FUN!

-Last year we started a Random Acts of Kindness (or appreciation, ha!) and got a few done throughout the month. Simple things like writing sweet messages in chalk on people's driveways (like friends and our pastor) and dropped off homemade cookies and such. :)

-Reading the story of Jesus' birth from Luke on Christmas morning. Because, hello. :)

-We drive around and look at lights!

-Christmas Eve service and a Christmas Day service if there is one. Chase and I LOVE church on Christmas morning.

-I stole a tradition from my Mom-in-Love and cook the Christmas dinner for Christmas Eve so everyone can snack on leftovers and hang out Christmas Day and not be super busy in the kitchen all of Christmas.

-Something else my Mom-in-Love started was day after Christmas shopping!!! Now it is one of my FAVORITE things!!! We hit stores as soon as they open and score great deals on decorations, the next year's ornaments, the new baby's stocking, wrapping paper, etc. I have a ton of Christmas crap fun...and it is because of day-after shopping! We hit a coffee shop and then (depending on who opens when...) Wal-Mart, Target, Kirklands, Hobby Lobby, Michael's, Kohls, Cracker Barrel (store part) and anything else that looks promising! Generally we go out as a "Girl's Day" but when we aren't all together as a fam we go out as couples (Chase likes picking the ornaments and scoring deals on outside lights too!)  or with friends.

-We also have a lot of Christmas movie traditions...It's a Wonderful Life, Elf, The Muppet Family Christmas, The Bishop's Wife, Little Women, Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Clause, It's a Meaningful Life (a Veggie Tales movie,) The Nativity Story, The Santa Clause, Ernest Saves Christmas and my older girls like White Christmas and Holiday Inn and I take some time for The Holiday.

A new movie this year we are adding to the list is "Why Do We Celebrate Christmas?" from the "What's in the Bible?" series. (Have you seen any of the "What's in the Bible?" movies? They are fabulous!!! They go through the Bible book by book and teach about why, when, apologetics, Church history, science, Theology, etc. We love them! They give a *lot* of information but in an entertaining way. LOVE!)

-This year we are doing Advent and are loving it SO much! We are using an Advent print-out poster with lessons, activity pages, etc.  It is from Thriving Family magazine (is FREE) and you can check it out here. We LOVE the pictures, the kid's enjoy the activity sheets and the content is good for our two year old up through our nine year old.

We have several friends who love Truth in the Tinsel which has lessons and an ornament you make every night. FUN! Maybe we will do this one next year. It is an e-book you buy. You can check it out here.

Another sweet family is using the Jesus Storybook Bible in their advent. Every story in this beautifully illustrated Bible centers around Jesus and there are 24 stories in it before Jesus' birth! So they read a story every day and will end up with Jesus' birth on Christmas day. EASY! Check it out here.

-The last two years, I have been hunting down some traditions that are just for Captain Awesome and I as a couple. Here are some ideas for you in case you would like to join the fun:
The Sexy Stocking (wink wink!)
Light Scavenger Hunt Date Night! Ok, I am totally doing this next year! Who is coming???

And 101 Christmas Traditions for couples, families, decoration, food, etc. from The Dating Divas here! Lots of ideas!

Well, I believe that wraps up our growing list of traditions. :) What is a favorite Christmas tradition in your house?


Now, to come up with some New Year's traditions...

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