Christmas is magical time. Children wait all year for the chance to wish for whatever they want. As parents we reconnect with our own childhood sense of hope. Now that I am a mother, preparing for the holidays continues to be a special time for me. There are many traditions I started with my children. I hope my daughters find comfort in these times and continue with these holiday celebrations throughout their lives.
I thought it would be fun to compile a list of some things I do to make Christmas, Christmas in our house! I’m not Martha Stewart, I am just a mom of two sweet little girls trying my best to make their Christmas dreams and wishes come true. I’d say I am want-to-be Martha Stewart with a bit of Clark W. Griswold mixed in.
Decking The Halls:
- When you decorate your home, do it while you are in a good mood. Taking out all the decorations can be a major undertaking, don’t bother doing it if you are in a foul mood because chances are taking on the task of getting the decorations out of the attic isn’t going to fix a bad mood!
- Shine up all your glass and windows to reflect the light. Clean windows, mirrors and glass on pictures really do emulate the sparkle of a Christmas tree.
- Tape your Christmas cards around a doorway, window or mirror. I’ve also hung red string and used clothespins to display our cards from single windows in our home.
- Play Christmas music… the good stuff. I’m not talking about the songs that drive you up the wall. I love classical Christmas music. My favorite Christmas song is the Hallelujah Chorus, from Handel’s Messiah. My younger daughters’ favorite Christmas song is Holly, Jolly Christmas. I also love listening to A Charlie Brown Christmas album – it is Christmas music at its best! Another favorite is the Vienna Boys Choir Christmas music. Finally, the Pottery Barn – Christmas Dinner album is spectacular! Oh yeah, don’t forget about Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Nat King Cole.
- Use lots of candles – everywhere! On Christmas Eve, light the house mostly with candles, Christmas tree lights and a fire
- For many people, putting up Christmas decorations is a vital part of establishing the holiday atmosphere. I am drawn to an old-fashioned, rustic Christmas decor. Earthy materials, like pine-cones and draping garlands of pine over mantles, around mirrors, up stairs give the scene a real organic appeal. Boughs of holly, poinsettias, mistletoe and pine wreaths, cranberries, cinnamon bundles all contribute to connecting your family decorations with nature. Yards of textured burlap, vintage-style accessories, mason jars with votive candles and a natural color palette give any room a stylish organic feel.
- The one thing I really wanted for Christmas was holiday sheets. My daughters have had Christmas sheets on their beds for every Christmas – even Christmas crib sheets when they were babies. We bought their Christmas sheets from Pottery Barn Kids online. I was extra good this year, Santa came early and gave me king size Christmas sheets from Garnet Hill. If you don’t have them for your kids, get them – your children will love it! If you don’t have them already, most likely they are sold out at this point in the season but – put them on your calendar for things to buy in October or early November – they go quick, so be on the ball!
- Purchase Christmas pajamas for your children, let them wear them all December long. My kids love this!
- My older daughter is seven. Last year she played a Christmas piano recital on Christmas night for our in-laws. She did such a lovely job, and it was one of my most favorite memories of last Christmas. We’ve made this a family tradition; this year her piano skills have significantly improved due to her commitment to the piano. She has been practicing her Christmas carols since the beginning of October and is anxious to perform on Christmas Eve for our family.
- Elf on the Shelf – does your family have this book?! My children love this tradition. I wish we had this around when I was little. Every morning my four year old wakes up in the best mood because she is ecstatic to go hunt for our elf. Our elf is named Kevin, by the way.
- Decorate your children’s room! This year we strung up purple Christmas lights in our girls’ rooms. What a nice way to grow up.
- Add a new Christmas book to your children’s library each year. We have stacks and stacks of Christmas books, thanks to my mother. She loaded my girls up on Christmas books when they were babies. Two of my very favorite Christmas books are The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg and Christmas Cookies: Bite-Size Holiday Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Here is another tip, get to the local library a few days before Thanksgiving and check out loads of Christmas books. Why Thanksgiving time you ask – simple… they will be all checked out by the time Christmas rolls around. The early bird gets the worm!
- Surprise your kids with a North Pole breakfast: Have Christmas place mats, Christmas cups and holiday mugs filled with hot cocoa, topped with whipped cream and a candy cane for stirring. Decorate the breakfast table with statues of Santa, Christmas bells… just add flair to your table. On December 1st we surprised our daughters with little advent calendars on the breakfast table. They thought that was so special. It’s the simple things that matter the most!
- Bake with your kids! If extended family live near by than do it with them too. My sister-in-law has made it a point to include myself and my girls while she bakes with her kids. I cherish this family tradition. My sister-in-law is gifted when it comes to Christmas cookies and is just about one the nicest people you’d ever meet; she has the patience of a saint when it comes to my girls and baking. She’s the one who taught them about “dough management.”
I am thoroughly delighting in making Christmas memories with my husband and children. It is a good thing to observe Christmas day. The marking of time when we stop work and make merry together is a wise and wholesome custom!
If you celebrate Christmas what are some of your family holiday traditions you do with your children?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Courtney Cappallo of Massachusetts, USA. Courtney can be found homeschooling on her blog, Table of Four.
Photo credit to Courtney Cappallo.