I just thought I would blog about some of the litte traditions we are doing as our own family.
* Advent Calendar - neither Andy nor I ever did this growing up, but I thought Isabel would really like it, but we don't just open the little door & get candy every night. Before we do that we say what we are thankful for that day. Although, when Andy did it one night I heard him say they were thankful for chocolate.
* St. Nick - Neither of us had this growing up, although I did it for my siblings for a few years. I hated going to school the day after St. Nick came and hearing about what the other kids got. St. Nick is pretty big in WI, and even bigger in the Mke area. We didn't give her much, but we used it as the time to leave Santa her letter and told her that he would come & get it and check on her and if she was being good she would get treats in her stocking. Although, the next day after the she opened her treats she did want to check again.
* Christmas pajamas - every year we will give each other new pajamas to wear. This wasn't really a tradition for my family, but I remember getting some in my stocking a few times and how much fun is it to wear new pajamas to bed. I thought it would be nicer to get them before Santa came so that we could wake up & open our stockings in our christmas pajamas. We started this last year already.
* Santa - Santa brings stocking presents for all of three of us, not just the child. But Isabel will get one big present from Santa. I know some people think that Santa should be bringing all the toys & fun things, but I'm not working like that. See, there was this winter when I was in 8th grade & my mom asked me on the way shopping if I had written my letter to Santa yet. Yes, 8th grade. I finally had to break down & confess that I didn't believe and neither did my brother or middle sister. My mom asked me why we didn't say anything and I had to tell her it was because we were afraid that we wouldn't get as many presents. She told me they would, but they would say that they were from them instead of Santa. Although, my youngest sister still believed that year yet, so Santa still came. I actually stopped believing in Santa when I was about 5 or 6. I came across this list in my mom's handwriting that said presents that my parents were getting each of us and that Santa was getting each of us. I saw the list before Christmas, adn what do you know - on Christmas that is what we got from each of them. Now, how would my mom & dad know what Santa was getting each of us?
Oh! Santa also brings a gift for the family to do/play together and share. This was something Santa did for my family and I thought it was nice. Some years it was a video to watch together and other times it was a game to play, etc. I just thought it was nice to do something together rather than just playing with your own gifts.
* Meals - Well, our Chrismas tends to take a good 10 days. My in-laws take the weekend before and my parents take the weekend after, and as long as xmas falls in between we are good to go. If it falls on a weekend, then there is some negotiation as we don't want Christmas to go on for 3 weeks. So, the day we celebrate with my in-laws we do an appetizer meal. They need to make appetizers that are hot & meaty. Now, my family still likes to do and "eve" & "day" even if it is not the actual days. So, on the "eve" (and we do it in the evening) we have appetizers, which in my family tend to be more dips & spreads & sandwich stuff. Then on the "day" my mom makes the big Christmas dinner & usually my paternal grandparents come over. Now for the real eve & day, it is the three of us. We do take & bake pizza on Christmas Eve and then on Christmas Day I am making a Ham dinner with all the trimmings (my mom tends to make turkey usually (although sometimes she does both), but I like Ham and welcome to oppotunity to have it.
* Gift Exchange - Andy, Isabel & I wil all exchange our gifts to each other on Christmas Eve...day is reserved for presents from Santa. Our gift exchanging has changed among our families this year. For Andy's family, everyone is just buying for the kiddos & his parents. And for my family we'll buy for the kiddos & my parents & then those who wanted to have exchanged names.
* New Year's Eve - For several years now, we have been celebrating New Year's Eve by having dinner with friends. We like that. In years past, we have been invited to a friends' house, but since we have moved we needed to do it at our house. So, we have invited another family over (we spent Thanksgiving with them) to have dinner with us at a kid-friendly hour (they have three boys, actually the twins are Isabel's age and she has then as her two boyfriends -- she prefers them over the oterh boys in our playgroup -- anyways, at Thanksgiving she was sitting on the couch with one watching Dora & holding hands, and then at our Cookie Exhange & luncheon she was eating lunch by the other and he was feeding her grapes -- I've never had anyone to feed me grapes!) So, we'll have dinner & maybe Andy & I will watch a movie afterward, but I am pretty sure we'll be in bed before midnight. We got old.
* Church - I don't want to be C&E people, but I do think it is important to go to church on those holidays. Actually, church on Christmas Eve was the reason we started our pizza on Christmas Eve tradition. Last year we had an hour to drive to get home from church and knew we wuoldn't have time to cook anything & have time to open our presents, so we got take & bake. I'd liek us to go as a family, but I am not sure how it will work out with Isabel right now. So, I might just need to go by myself.
What am I missing? We don't do anything for the Winter Soltice, but I think it would be neat to at least dine only by candlelight on that night. We watch Peep and have watched the episode several time where Paz & his mom celebrate the winter solitice. I send out Christmas cards & usually try to write some kind of creative letter (this year I scanned in a drawing of Isabel's & did our ABC's of 2007 on top of that.) I like to get the tree up the weekend of Thanksgiving & decorate it. We did that this year, but because all my xmas stuff is in MN we did some different things this year. I also like to put out my manager & figurines that my great grandparents made/gave to me, but that too is in MN & it probably is wise not to have that out this year otherwise Isabel might have broken some of the figurines. Although this year, I did by a small figurine that is harder to break that has Mary, Joseph, & baby Jesus and we have been reading xmas stories from her Children's bible and talking about baby Jesus. Usually I bake a bunch of cookies & make a bunch of candies, but this year we did the cookie/candy exchange with our group.