This year is going to be very different from past Christmases for us. Since Jerry and I have been married, we have always spent the holiday with my family, and then visited his family afterwards. Even after we moved 2 hours away from my family, we would still travel on the 23rd to be at my aunt's house for Christmas Eve and my mom's for Christmas morning. This year, since it's been about 12 years since Jerry has spent the actual holiday with his family, and since Emily is actually old enough to get really excited about Christmas morning, we decided to stay home and have Christmas at our house.
We are thinking about having some of his family over for Christmas Eve dinner, then after we open our presents in the morning, we'll visit with more of his family during the day. Hopefully, some of my family can visit in the days following Christmas. It will be fun to have them come up and see our tree and just experience the holiday in our own home -- for the first time (and we bought our house in 2009).
I'm really excited about starting new traditions this year with the girls. One new tradition that I'm especially excited about (and I know I've shared this before) is the "four gift rule". Not because I don't want to give my girls the world, but I really want to teach them about the bigger picture and enjoying the holiday without focusing only on presents.
Some of the other traditions I want to start (or continue) this year are:
1. Baking with the girls (this one I've already started on with Emily - she loves to "help"; looking forward to Christmases with two little "helpers")
2. Cutting down our own Christmas tree. I HAVE to have a real Christmas tree. I'm trying to talk Jerry into going to this tree farm an hour away to cut down a tree -- but if we end up at Home Depot getting a pre-cut, I'll be happy with that too.
3. Crafting/Homemade Gifts. I don't want to give too much away here because I know a few people who may be receiving said gifts read my blog -- I'm looking at you, Mom :). So I'll just say that I'm really looking forward to putting Emily and Caroline to work making sweet little gifts for family & friends.
4. Driving around to look at lights. Emily is fascinated by Christmas lights. I want to make a purposeful trip to drive around and look at all the lights people have up, not just in our neighborhood, but scout out some other cool houses that really go all-out with their lights.
5. Christmas Eve Box. This is another Pinterest find. Wrapping up a new pair of jammies, some popcorn, candy & hot chocolate and a new or favorite Christmas movie to watch that night. I'm looking for recommendations for good movies to watch with 3-year-olds -- if you have a favorite, please leave a comment below!
5a. This will also be the first year we put cookies & milk out for Santa. I think I heard that Santa really likes these:
6. Christmas Morning. I'm just so excited to see Emily's face when she wakes up and sees the presents under the tree. In addition to the four gifts, we're going to get her something "from Santa". I'm thinking that Santa is going to bring her this:
7. Games. I was thinking about starting the tradition of giving "the family" a board game each year; something that we can all play together. This is another one I need some inspiration on -- what are your favorite family board games (that a toddler can play)? If you have a suggestion - please leave it in the comments! We have Princess Candyland and a Minnie Mouse matching game - they're fun, but can get pretty boring. We need some variety!!
8. Watching White Christmas. I don't remember when the tradition started, but my mom, my sister and I would all watch White Christmas while decorating the tree. Now that we all have our own trees, we don't watch it together anymore (sad face). But I cannot let the season pass without watching it at least once (and then every time it comes on TV).