Food Storage & Other Adventures in Motherhood

My Favorite Christmas Traditions

by heather

Here are some of the things I enjoy most about the holiday season, many of which you can do with your children on a low budget.
1. Baking cookies!
2. Decorating. This can get expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Some of my favorite memories as a child were making our own decorations. We made paper snowflakes and festive paper chains that we hung from the ceiling around the borders of the room. And to this day my mom’s favorite Christmas tree ornaments are the ceramic mice that we painted when I was three. Decorating the tree and home and creating ornaments can lend itself to dozens of holiday activities.
3. Looking at Christmas lights. It’s always fun to see the displays that your neighbors have up.
4. Reading the Christmas Story Found in Luke 2:1-20, also Matthew 1:18-25, Matthew 2:1-14, & Luke 1: 26-35
5. Reading Christmas Books One tradition that I have started with my kids is that every day starting December 1st we read a different Christmas book. I have collected several through the years from after Christmas sales, but the library also has a wide selection to supplement my own.
6. The Twelve Days of Christmas This is a favorite tradition from my husband’s family, something that was passed down from his mother’s family. Starting December 13th we put our shoes out and every morning “the Christmas elf” puts a tiny gift in our shoes. As a general rule I try to keep the items under a dollar. I find that the earlier I start on this the better, otherwise my kids just end up with a whole bunch of crap from the dollar store. (Don’t get me wrong, there are a few good deals to be had at the dollar store, but you know what I mean.) Some shoe gift ideas: candy, coloring books, crayons (bought a few boxes at the back to school sales), lip gloss, small toys, socks, finger puppets, hats and mittens.
7. Visiting Family What would the holidays be without family? Even if they may drive you a little crazy. 😉
8. Serving Others This is the most of fun if it is done in secret. Growing up we were poor, but I didn’t realize to what extent until I was older. You don’t miss what you don’t know. Frankly if my friends now knew they would be shocked and amazed, for that matter my friends from back then would be shocked and amazed. Despite this my mother made it a point each year we would pick someone in need to serve. Often we would find someone in our neighborhood who lived alone and drop gifts on their doorstep for The Twelve Days of Christmas. They were simple things, a 6-pack of ginger-ale, 5 cookies, 4 fresh oranges, etc., but there were times when we learned that it really made a difference to the person that we were serving. And it was such a thrill to try to deliver them without getting caught. There are many other ways to serve other this season and there are many in need. Toys for Tots, Sub for Santa and the Food and Care Coalition are just a few organizations that appreciate donations. Even if you don’t have money to give you can still serve. Donate old coats, donate your time. Find someone out there who needs some cheering and share the Christmas spirit with them!
9. Christmas Shopping I love shopping for Christmas. Buying stuff for my kids is always fun. Finding a the perfect gift for a friend or family member fills me with excitement. Finding a good deal is even more thrilling, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to lose any sleep over it and risk being trampled. Not when there’s Amazon.
10. Singing Christmas Carols Whether you do this with friends, family, neighbors or by yourself, it really makes the season.


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