Christmas is a very special, joyful time of year for my family. I have so many great memories from my childhood that center around our Christmas traditions. Unfortunately, my family does not leave close to each other to carry on those traditions. My brother is in Michigan, my mom in North Carolina, my Dad in Massachusetts, and I am in Indiana! We still all love Christmas, some might say we go overboard at Christmas time. I am happy to report my children, especially my 12-year-old son has inherited the JOY of Christmas and Traditions. I wanted to share some of our “traditions” that I do with my family, and I am hoping you will share some of yours with me!
For us Christmas is all about spending time together, seeing/making other people smile, and spreading true joy with others.
Starting in November we put a bowl of snacks and drinks out on our porch for all the delivery drivers to thank them for delivering our packages. We love to watch the doorbell camera, to see their reaction. So far this year we have had a UPS driving write us a note and many waves in the camera saying thank you!
We absolutely love Christmas movies but for the longest time we would take 30 to 45 mins trying to figure out what movie to watch and then of course the boys would argue about who got to pick the movie, so we started a Christmas Movie Jar. We go around in a circle and pick one movie at a time and write it on a piece of paper and drop it into a jar, once we have exhausted all the movies, we close the jar and every night we pick one to watch. We start this early because my boys go between my house and their dads, so we want to make sure we get all the movies in before Christmas! This has cut down on so many “fights” and saves us so much time.
Ornaments! Our family Christmas tree is full of family ornaments. Every time we go on vacation we buy an ornament from that state, usually from one of the activities we do while we are there. Also, every year I buy one ornament for each of the boys that is something that they are into that year. For example, some of the past ornaments have been Paw Patrol, Toy Story, Dinosaurs etc. We write the year and their initials on the back of the ornament. The intent of doing this is when they get older and have their own tree, they will have a box of ornaments of all the these they loved growing up.
One of our favorite family traditions is “elfing” our neighbors. Every year we put together 5-6 small gifts and we when it gets dark, we drive around the neighborhood and leave gifts at 5-6 different peoples houses. They don’t know who left it, but our goal is to surprise them and bring them a little unexpected joy. This year we will be giving cocoa bombs, chocolate and peppermint spoons, and marshmallows.
Usually, the week before Christmas we go on a Christmas light scavenger hunt. I make hot chocolate for the boys and some sugar cookies, and we have a list of Christmas lights we need to find throughout the neighborhood. We drive down every street searching for everything on the list. This is such a fun family activity.
I think our favorite tradition is making cookies for Santa as a family. As I mentioned before I am divorced and remarried but we have an amazing co-parenting relationship and every year the night before Christmas we all get together, my ex-husband, his wife (and her mom), my husband, the boys and myself and make and decorate lots and lots of cookies. Everyone picks their best one and we do a “vote for the best cookie” on Facebook just for fun. Then we divide up the cookies and Santa, who comes to both houses two days in a row, has plenty of cookies for him.
This year we are adding one more that I hope we turn into a tradition. We will be creating JOY Jars in December. Each of us will paint a glass jar and every week in 2023 write one thing that brought us joy that week. Then on New Year’s next year we will read the 52 things that brought us joy throughout the year. This is a great way to remember to look for joy all year but also to look back on just how great the year was.
I know I mentioned a lot of different things that we do throughout the holiday season, but I would love to hear some of your traditions. Also, I have added documents for some of our traditions if you want to do them with your friends and family. Click here for documents!
I truly hope everyone has a JOYFUL holiday season.