Our family is still pretty young so we are still kind of developing our Christmas traditions. My favorite is carried over from my childhood. Every year we get a new ornament (or 2 or 3) usually from one of our trips or something fun we did during the year. All year long I am on the lookout for a special ornament. This year we got flamingos from Bonaire and then a couple from our trip to Pensacola. Our tropical Santa, Red Fish's Gator, Our pirate flamingo, and Red Fish's flamingo on the go.
As you can see our tree has no ornaments on the bottom because of curious little fingers. The mish mash of ornaments may not be beautiful but to me it is a symbol of every wonderful Christmas season I have had. My poor husband has to put up with me talking about each and every ornament before it is put on the tree. I'm sure eventually there will be too many for me to talk about but it hasn't happened yet.
Another tradition we started last year I stole from my friend Joanna. We buy a Christmas book each year to add to our collection (I'm kind of a book fiend in general) and on Christmas eve we let Red Fish put her hand print in it and eventually will sign her name. As other kids join our family they will do the same. I think it's really fun. Last year Red Fish was only a month old so her handprint is so tiny! We already have our Christmas book this year ready to be signed.I love Christmas stories and I have compiled alot of them into a big binder. One of my very favorite stories goes through all of the symbols of Christmas- red, green, a bell, a wreath, a candy cane, a poinsetta, a tree, a candle, and a star. It takes each one and explains how they are symbols of Christ. When I was little my aunt made us a bag of the symbols to go with the story and we would read it every year. A few years ago I copied the idea and made one for us. Tonight we read it with Red Fish for the first time and she loved it. Another year I also drew the symbols for our sunbeam class and then let them color them, laminated them, and made them into little ornaments. If anybody wants a copy of the pdf email me or leave a comment. It's a really fun Christmas tradition.Another story we just started using this year is The Last Straw (#2 in the binders I gave out.) Basically it tries to encourage remembering Christ and serving others throughout the holiday season. My friend Anne made me this cute little doll that goes with the story. I always wanted to do this with my family and this one is very kid friendly. The felt pieces of straw are to symbolize our acts of kindness or service. Everytime we do something nice we add a piece to the cradle to try and make it more comfortable for the Christchild.
The last tradition we have it to make Gingerbread houses (gramcracker houses) with all of Two Fish's nieces and nephews. It's basically a dozen kids armed with frosting and candy. It's a blast and a huge mess. I love it. I haven't decided whether to try and let Red Fish make one this year but I'm pretty sure we will let her experiment a little- get a little messy at least.
I'm looking for any great traditions to start with our family. I think you can't have too many and I want to start now so my kids will have great Christmas memories. Anybody have a tradition they just love that they wouldn't mind us stealing? I especially like kid friendly or Christ centered ones.