Last year I talked about Holiday Traditions and how it is still possible to have them even as a newlywed couple, you don't need to have a bunch of kids to begin traditions! This year I want to touch a little more specifically on the Christmas holiday traditions. For anyone who knows me, you realize that mid-October is NOT too early for me to start talking about Christmas, listening to Christmas music, planning where to put the tree, when the family celebrations will take place and what Christmas food I'm going to try this year! This year is no different. Infact, now that our HOME has been transformed this year with our little T.N.T., those "family traditions" are taking on a completely different perspective!
Just this past weekend we traveled to Colorado to visit Blake, Carlin and Reece and it just so happened that we got to visit a year-round Christmas store, St. Nick's! Josh has it right when he said that if we ever move to Denver, I will be working there. :) It was breathtaking, an amazing Christmas-land! While we were there, we found the perfect addition to our family Christmas traditions, something I've been trying to find for a while now. An advent Calendar.
I have the most amazing memories as a child with our family's advent calendar. It was one my mom made and we got to put a new ornament on the tree each day in December. I still to this day love getting to be the person to put the ornament on the tree! I knew, especially once we had kids, that I wanted to find something like that. To really help create an excitement and anticipation of Christmas as it draws near and to give my kids the warm, fuzzy "HOME" feeling for the rest of their life as they remember it.
The advent calendar we found is perfect. It's a Gingerbread House Advent Calendar. It has doors that you open for each day in December approaching Christmas. This leaves it up to us to do anything we want for each day, as behind each door are empty boxes.
Our plan is to have some of the following things or instructions in the boxes:
- Frost Christmas Cookies today
- Have one Cocoa Dulce Chocolate http://www.cocoadolce.com/ for each person in the family to eat
- Make a Gingerbread house today
- Read "It was the Night Before Christmas"
- Read the Christmas Story from the Bible
- Have one mini candy cane for each person in the family to eat
- Drink Hot Chocolate today
- Open a new ornament from mom and dad and put on the tree
- Drive around and look at Christmas lights
- Listen to Christmas music all Day
- Go Christmas Caroling
- G0 buy Christmas gifts for an Angel Tree Child
- Write a letter to Santa
- Drink Apple Cider
- Play Monopoly
- Wear Santa Hats all day long, no matter where you go
- Take neighbors Christmas gifts
- Take cookies to someone who doesn't know Jesus
What are your ideas for more fun and creative things to put in our Advent Calendar?
Obviously some of these things are better to as a family with kids, but we are going to use it this year even though Ty isn't old enough to do a lot of these things. If we can't think of 25 things, we can always put chocolate in the boxes, can't complain about that, especially if it's Cocoa Dulce!!
It is extremely important for each family to make their own Holiday traditions, because traditions are HOME. It's very easy for newlywed couples to only continue to do their family traditions with their parents and sibilings, and race all around during the holidays to make sure both families are getting the attention they desire, to keep their family traditions going. It's important to remember what the Bible says:
"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh"
Now don't get me wrong, holidays are all about family and I am as excited as the next person to go back home and open presents from the stocking I've had my whole life, and drink egg nog and apple cider, and play monopoly for the entire 24 hour period that "A Christmas Story" plays on TV, and many other fun traditions. But it's important for Josh and I to not make Christmas only about our "family's Christmas' ". If holidays and traditions are HOME, and are essential to creating a HOME, then it's crucial that Josh and I do what is necessary to start our own family traditions, and not rely on our family. Now, am I saying that it's important to not be with each of our families for Christmas? No, all I'm saying is that effort must be made (especially as a young married couple, where families expect your presence to keep their Holiday Traditions in tact). You are a new family, even if it's just 2 of you, it's a family, that has left your mother and father and are clinging to one another and are creating your HOME, and so if that means saying "No" to your family in order to begin your own traditions, then I believe that is perfectly fine!
One tradition Josh and I have had since we've been engaged has been to go out the week before Christmas, we go out to eat, stop by Starbucks and then drive around Wichita looking at Christmas lights while listening to B98 FM continuous Christmas music! I look forward to this every year. And by doing this a week early, it has allowed us to stay a part of each of our family's traditions. Now that we have Ty, we hope to keep the few traditions we have already begun and now add MANY more! It will be interesting to see how our traditions evolve as Ty gets older and as more kids are added to our family. The sad part is knowing that someday....Ty will get married and leave our family, just as we did to our parents. And then our traditions will once again have to change. (but I'll save that topic for another blog post) :).
Let the Christmas traditions begin!!!