A little while ago, Grace excitedly squealed "it's almost THANKSGIVING!!!!!" (insert four year old giggling here). Honestly, I think she's mostly excited about the pie. Certainly Reed and Lauren are cool with having a few days off of school; oh and the pie will be great also! Do you remember being so excited for the holidays just because you got to watch a parade and eat pie?
So, it has been bringing us to lots of discussion of Thanksgiving ("Mom, what kind of pie will we have?") as well as lots of planning and talk of Christmas. We are pretty traditional in the sense that Christmas decor/lights/festivities absolutely do not start until after Thanksgiving! It really bothers me in fact to see homes that are already lit up (strings of lights up are fine, but please don't turn them on yet!). It seems so out of place to imagine a Christmas tree twinkling while we're doing the whole Thanksgiving thing. Anyway, I apologize if I have just offended any of you who like to get Christmas prep done early. To me, it's just one of those things.
OK, the discussion of traditions. We have lots that we have pulled from over the years, and some have stuck while others have gone buh-bye! Like the year or two I thought it would be fun to do a "Christmas surprise" every day (kind of like an advent calendar w/ a gift or treat for the kids) - had to nix that one, because it only served to teach the kids that they needed a present every day.
An awesome tradition we started a few years ago, however, has been the Christmas book. Each year on December 1st the kids get a brand-new book for Christmas. And not just any book...this one is always special (preferrably hard-bound) and is in the Christmas theme. I pick the books for each kid, wrap them and put them under the tree, and then that afternoon or evening they get to open and enjoy. The purpose is actually that we will slowly add on to our library of Christmas books (some religious, some secular) and someday when they are grown they will get to take their stack of books and start a collection for their own families. I'm really excited about this year's choices - a very pretty "I Spy" book for Grace, a loaded-with-pictures holiday cookbook for Lauren, and Santa Claus for Reed. He discovered who Santa is last year (and was pretty bummed) but now he seems to be able to appreciate that you can continue to have an imagination about these things.
I'm also finding it important to ask everyone what traditions they remember and what they want to continue. They know exactly what they want to do again! Lauren mostly wants to decorate the tree while listening (and dancing) to Christmas tunes, Grace wants to open a present (always pajamas) on Christmas Eve, and Reed is excited to watch the favorite Christmas movies, plus a new one or two (A Christmas Story and Elf are on the "new" list for the year).
As for me? I want a few evenings of family baking - some favorite cookie recipes from Kirk's mom will be on the list for sure. I always love Christmas Eve (after the kids go to bed) when we put on some holiday music and Kirk and I prepare the monkey bread for Christmas morning, and I'm also really looking forward to this and this at our church this year.
Tell me, what traditions are important to your family? What are you most looking forward to doing this holiday season?