Friday, 13 December 2013

Christmas activities and some family traditions

We are getting a real slow start this year for Christmas.  It didn't help that Thanksgiving was so late this year.  I thought I would do a post that combines a few of the Christmas Traditions that we do as a family.

It took me almost half a day to locate my Christmas boxes in the basement (which is a mess since we have move in to our new house)  It didn't help that every time I opened a box I found a broken Christmas ornament:( or a completely unrelated item in the box, I found my husbands fencing shoes and helmet in one christmas box.

My poor beheaded angels were found in a box:(  I made these ornaments nearly 20 years ago and was not too happy to find them broken due to being carelessly thrown in a box with no wrapping paper, by the packers:(. My husband is going to try to glue them back together for me but they will never be the same with all the little chips.

One of my favorite things at Christmas time is going to  local community tree lighting service (we did this while living in the UK as well)  and this year we were able to go with my mother in her town!  The kids got to sing Christmas carols, have hot chocolate and see Santa arrive on a huge fire truck.  

Another of my favorite events is going to see many of the Christmas lights displays.  This one was near my parent's house in PA and it was excellent 1/2 mile walking trail through a park with many interesting light displays.  Most of my pictures didn't turn out but attending Christmas light displays get me into the Christmas spirit:)  There is one being held at the Botanical Gardens where we live and  I plan on going with my family...Another favorite thing is on  Christmas Eve after attending church, we take the car and drive through the neighborhood and see how everyone decorated their houses while playing Christmas music.  Once we get home we have chocolate milk and the kid can open one gift from their grandparents. 
I really missed this while living in the UK, I never found an outdoor light exhibit there and hardly anyone puts up lights outside.  This always made me miss the states, as to me, seeing the sparkly lights and hearing the Christmas music is just part of getting into the spirit of the season:)  

It was fun seeing my kids reaction to this, because is was as if they were seeing this for the first time (it has been five yeas)  As soon as we finished the walk, MarioFan wanted to go thru it again.  

This year only MarioFan wanted to sit on Santa's lap.
 For the past several years my friend and I in the UK would get together and the kids would make Gingerbread houses.  She was so sweet and would make the dough and cut out the shapes and bake them all ahead of time, while I just showed up with the candy:)  She was even kind enough to give me her recipe and pattern so I could continue this back in the states.  But alas...
I have resorted to purchasing a pre made kit, just like I did prior to meeting my wonderful friend...I just wasn't organized this year, but next year, I swear I am going to make one from scratch 

This kit was what Firedrake picked out and it was already assembled

So she only had to add the candy...I gave her the bowl of Halloween candy and let her go at it:)

The finished result -- looking good

MarioFan wanted to try this kit instead of the traditional gingerbread house

He had fun adding the decorations

His finished piece:)
Another family tradition we do for the children is buy a new Christmas ornament that has their name and the year written on it.  When the children were little I would carefully chose the ornament that signified something the kids learned or enjoyed that year.  For example when MarioFan was 2 or 3 he played continuously with a phone so that was the ornament I got him.  Or the year we visited Germany and we bought two nutcracker ornaments. However as the children get older they pick out their own ornaments.  My plan is once the kids move out on their own and on their first christmas in their own home I will wrap up all these ornaments and give the ornaments to them along with a small note as to why I or they picked out these ornaments.  I am hoping it will bring back wonderful memories for them.

This year we went to a Christmas shop in Santa Fe and MarioFan  bought a hot air ballon ornament with the pueblo  houses on it.  While Firedrake found a Dragon ornament and fell in love.  The kids really look forward to this tradition and finding the perfect ornament can sometimes take many trips to different Christmas shops to find the perfect one.

Another tradition that I can't wait to resume with the Children, now that we have stateside, is visiting a live nativity.  I never could find one in the UK, that doesn't mean they don't exist,just not in the area we lived.  There are several in our new area and we just need to find and schedule family trip to see it in the next week or so.


  1. Interesting that they don't do outside lights in the UK. I wonder how that became and American tradition??? Was MarioFan's tree pre-assembled? We tried to do that kit when it first came out and the pieces just slid everywhere. I love your ornament tradition!!!!

  2. What fun to read through your traditions, AnnaMarie! Thanks for the peek into your customs. Love it all...And wow, the tree and ggbread house your son and dd made...SO nice! Great job...I LOVE the SW themed ornament too.....
    So sorry abt your angels. I hope they can be salvaged to some degree,,,,,,that';s a shame.
    Merry Chrsitmas!!!

  3. Beheaded Angels - oh that is so sad....
    Lovely job on the gingerbread house and tree, MF and FD. Alas, we are houseless this year (Well, only the gingerbread version) sniff.
    It all sounds cozy and right with snow, lights, hot chocolate, live nativity (Not something you get here- just the kids doing one in church during advent)

  4. Those are two of the most cool ornaments I have ever seen. My Sam would love the dragon. I really like your family Christmas traditions.

  5. I enjoyed reading about your traditions. You have some great one. I loved the idea of givng or letting them pick out an ornament each year.
    Awesome post and pictures!