The holiday season is in full effect in my house. Just before I sat down to write this blog post I overheard my daughter singing “Jinger Bells, Jinger bells. Jinger all the way. Hey!” (quite loudly I might add) after tucking her into bed for the night. I still have a huge grin on my face because of it. There’s just something magical about this time of year that transforms me into a giddy child and I don’t know if it’s the music, all the lights and decorations, the special time spent with loved ones, or perhaps the combination of it all. Don’t get me wrong, I still battle those typical holiday stresses like trying to find the “perfect” gifts for those on my nice list. And then
scrounging for finding the money to buy them. Nevertheless, I still LOVE this time of year.
Now that Caroline is at an age where she gets really excited about all things Christmas, it makes it that much more fun for my husband and me. In some ways, it gives us an opportunity to be a kid again. Emma is a typical one year old, fascinated by the lights and decorations, and is determined to pull off all ornaments within her reach on the tree. It’s a sweet reflection of Christmas past when Caroline was her age.
Both my husband and I entered the world of parenting with our own family traditions but wanted to create a few new traditions of our own that maybe our girls will one day decide to pass on to children of their own. Here’s a few of our new family traditions:
12 Days of Christmas (Books) – My daughters love books and so when I came across this idea I knew it was something I just had to do. The idea is to do wrap twelve books and put them under the tree so the kids can choose one book to unwrap each night to read before bed. I went a little overboard this year and decided to start December 1st and continue until Christmas. And as for wrapping them all? Yeah that’s not happening with a 1-year-old who would be chomping at the bit to unwrap them all. This year I’m using a lovely gift bag with red and green tissue paper to conceal a different book each night. It’s been a great way to add some extra reading, excitement, and snuggles after a long day. (And just between you and me…this little gem also doubles as a great bribery tool when trying to get your 3-year-old ready for bed!)
Handmade Gifts – Who says a thoughtful gift needs to break the bank? What could be better than receiving a gift from someone who you know put a lot of thought and love into it? Last year my husband and I worked together to transform an inexpensive bookcase into a dollhouse for our girls. You can check it out here. This year we went a bit smaller and made them cute little lap desks. OK, well my husband was the one who made them but I get to decorate them. My hope is to carry on this tradition as the years pass. We might not always have the money to buy the most expensive gifts, but there will always be a lot of love and effort out into their handmade gifts. If you’re looking for some inspiration, you should check out my Handmade Holidays post from last year!
The Elf on the Shelf – I decided to purchase the Elf on the Shelf book and doll last year even though I thought it was a bit on the pricey side (although I refused to pay extra for the elf skirt and decided to fashion one myself out of some old fabric scraps). More than just a quick fix for behavior challenges, Colleen (affectionately named by Caroline) has added a touch of magic to our house as well. Not to mention, she has certainly provided a lot of entertainment.
Wishing you and your loved ones all the magic this season has to offer!