Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Traditions

Even though there are approximately 487,924 things I should be doing right now (this is finals week in my class; we're packing to leave for 4 days; I'm hosting Christmas dinner, and I haven't finalized the menu; there's still one more present to wrap-- after I thought last week that I'd wrapped the last one--must stop buying stuff!), I wanted to take a minute and share some photos from the last few weeks.

If there's one thing we do well in this house, I'd say it's Christmas.  I love Christmas!  My kids are at awesome ages for all of the magic, and I really want to maximize all this innocent excitement.  It lasts for such a short time, but it's the stuff you remember all your life.

So, we have an elf.  His name is Kiki, which is how Jacob pronounced, "Cookie," when we got him in 2012.  Kiki doesn't throw elaborate parties or anything, but he does move each night; and each morning, the kids are so excited about finding him.

He's left them candy canes, written notes to them, gotten tangled up in Christmas lights...

but the best thing Kiki has done this year is eating Elf Soup!  When Grandma Anna was here, she made Elf Soup with the kids in the evening (whipped cream and sprinkles) and left it for the elf.  Of course, Kiki was found in the kitchen the next morning "eating" his treat!

We also like to drive around and look at Christmas lights.  There are some pretty amazing displays here in town, some even choreographed to music.  The kids get in the pj's, and I throw their blankets over them, and we drive.  Honestly, I probably enjoy this more than the kids!

This year, we've had a fun treat from Great-Grandma Marion.  She gave each boy a fleece blanket, and a box of 25 wrapped books with instructions to read unwrap a book and read it by the tree each night.  It's been a lot of fun to see what book we'll unwrap each night!  ** The only minor change we've made to our instructions is that I unwrap the book to avoid the fighting over whose turn it is.***  :)

We also baked Christmas cookies this week.  Soo... my inner Grinch is coming out on this one because I just don't enjoy it!  I used slice-and-bake sugar cookies, and it still took an hour and a half to bake all the cookies.  Once they cooled, we started decorating.

Jacob was into it, as evidenced by his chef's hat.

Heck, even Frank had a smile.

But Carter?

Not a fan.  I'm not sure what his issue was that night, but he was not amused.

Eventually, he quieted enough to sit on Frank's lap and help (sort of) decorate the billion cookies I'd baked.

All kidding (and naughty kids) aside, I do feel the importance... not a pressure, necessarily...but the importance of making the holiday magical during the years when the kids are young.  You only get one shot at this, and I promise you, the oldest person in the world will remember the Christmas traditions that their family had when they were growing up.  I realize the underlying message is that no matter what your family did, you will think it's awesome, because it's your family and your childhood, but I want my boys to look back and have such warm and happy memories of the holiday season at our house that when they're adults, they'll work to provide that for their own kids, no matter whether they have to stay up late to put a bike together, or rearrange their schedule to attend Christmas Eve service, or decorate cookies with a screaming toddler.

Maybe that's the reason for traditions in the first place.  It's all about the memories and carrying them on for the next generation.