Now that we have children that are of an age where they're going to remember things, I'm big on holiday traditions. In the Fall, we've gone apple picking, and to the pumpkin patch, visit Halloween festivals, and made holiday cookies. And this year, I'm finally getting into doing Christmas traditions.
We put up a Christmas tree, and this year, I have a video of all 4 kids putting up ornaments singing Jingle Bells (ok, to be fair, Corbin was knocking down ornaments and shouting "dadddda!!!"). If that doesn't scream Norman Rockwell, I'm not sure what does. The stockings are hung by the gas burning logs that never get turned on, with care. I have other little decorations set up around the house, and the kids put up those Target $1 gel clings on the mirror in the foyer.
This year, we've made candy cane play-doh for the girls' preschool class party this Friday. I plan on making salt dough ornaments of their hands shaped like Santa Claus. We buy ornaments every year for each of us (last year, gingerbread men - this year, cute monogram initials). We'll spend Christmas Eve at my grandma's house in North Carolina, like I've done for almost every Christmas Eve I've been alive. I keep meaning to buy a menorah and some dreidels for the kids to teach them about Hanukkah.
And Elf on the Shelf. Holy Moses, this is the most amazing behavior tactic ever in the history of mankind. I'm making a MLK, Jr on the Shelf, Cupid on the Shelf, Leprechaun on the Shelf, Easter Bunny on the Shelf - does a month have a holiday? Yes? It's getting a ____ on the shelf. And our elf doesn't do bad things, because my kids get mad at it for tattling on them, and then doing bad things, ha! Where I used to have to count to three with the kids and raise my voice, I simply say "Otis is watching" and BAM - my kids are good.
Christmas Day has always been low-key for my family. Unbeknownst to me, my parents would actually have Santa come to our house a week early, because we traveled to visit family when I was growing up. I actually did this last year with the twins, so they would have time to open gifts before going to their dad's house for the afternoon on Christmas. This year, we'll have Emma from the day school lets out on the 19th, until 2:00 on Christmas. The twins will go to their dad's house around that time for the night, maybe two nights. I'm so excited we'll have all 4 kiddos together. After we are down 3 kids, we'll probably head to Eddie's parents' house for dinner (or supper, I always get confused as to what they call it - I say lunch). I'm used to eating Fa-Ra-Ra on Christmas, because typically Hibachi is the only place open. I'm really hoping we'll get to see Les Mis, too. And Django Unchained. Because I would totally love a double feature of a musical and a Tarantino movie.
Anyway, what Christmas traditions do you have? Do you hang a pickle on your tree? Is Christmas not complete without Aunt Sally and her Santa shaped jello?