It’s holiday season and your social media accounts are flooded with photos of matching family Christmas PJ photos or screaming kids sitting on Santa’s lap (never fear, ours will be posted soon). And your mailbox has been flooded with Christmas cards.
Our cards are in the mail I promise! It was a long road getting our photos taken. We had to reschedule once due to rain. And here we are in December just finally getting the photos back from the photographer, who by the way sent them 4 days later than expected. So the stress is high in our house. I usually have my cards professionally done and mailed by the first week in December. This year I will have to settle for 1-hr photo and mailing the second week of the month.
The photo session went about as well as it could with a 4 and 1-year-old. My son refused to smile, probably because he was too cold. My daughter refused to take off her coat for all but one photo because she was cold, and I am not quite sure I would call the look on her face a smile. Who else knows the struggles of trying to pick the best of when taking photos? Nevertheless, we pulled off a few greeting card worthy photos.
But despite all the stress, this is part of our Christmas traditions that make the Holiday season so much fun.
Since we are a military family and we move frequently, it has always been important for me to create a magical Christmas for our children no matter where we are located. Here are our favorite traditions.
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Our Family Christmas Traditions
Decorating with Christmas Lights
Who doesn’t love the magic of Christmas lights? I remember driving around the neighborhood as a child in awe of the lights our neighbors displayed. I even more so enjoyed seeing the lights outside our home as my dad turned them on for the first time.
Every year the weekend after Thanksgiving we pull out our Christmas decorations. J and I have set up the tree together for the last two years and this year my wonderfully helpful 22-month-old joined in and assisted us in setting up the tree. All while listening to Christmas music on Pandora. Meanwhile, the exterior lights were being hung by Ry.
The look of amazement and wonder on a child’s face when first seeing the Christmas lights is priceless.
Christmas Tree Ornament
Every year since we were married, I have chosen an ornament related to something special in our lives. First Christmas together, the trip to Austraila, and for the birth of our daughter, I found a cute gingerbread ornament with two parents and a baby girl. I’ve always found something special each year, and now that our kids are getting older I am allowing them to pick their own ornament for the tree each year. My oldest loves this tradition. Each year its fun to look back at the ornaments she chose for the tree the previous years.
Christmas Lights Photo
As if the planned family photos wasn’t enough, yes I take more pictures of the kids. These are usually easier. After the tree is set up I take black and white photos of the kids with the tree with a string of lights surrounding them. Gorgeous photo for the Christmas cards.
My daughter loves helping in the kitchen, a great way to get them excited and helping is to bake cookies. If we are lucky we will make cookies a few times during the season. Of course, we have to bake cookies for Santa.
Photos with Santa
If you haven’t guessed it yet, yes I take quite a few photos during the holiday season. Who am I kidding, if I could have a professional photographer follow us around all day that would be perfect.
I digress…if there is an opportunity to take a photo with Santa, we are there. The kids have seen Santa twice already and are going to see him again this weekend! Kinda a big deal in this house!
Christmas Eve Dinner
Christmas eve dinner started before kids and we enjoyed this tradition so much we decided why not get the kids dressed in their Christmas finest and take them to a fancy dinner. The kids love it because it’s out of the ordinary for them. And we get to go to a nice dinner with family. Afraid of dining out with kids check out my Tips for dining with kids here.
I’d love to hear what you and your family do for the holidays. What are your Christmas Traditions?