Four Christmas traditions your kids will love

We talked about the villainous Elf on the Shelf last week, but today let’s talk about good traditions, the kind that never get old. Here are a few Pyper favorites, and please share yours in the comments:

Sunday-night Christmas movie: Six weeks before Christmas, we start watching Christmas movies every Sunday. Each of us gets one Sunday to call all the shots—that means choosing the movie and the treat. We watch Elf and Polar Express every year, but this year we are adding a few “new” movies to the mix, including A Christmas Story and Christmas with the Kranks. It’s fun to see what treats the kids choose; so far we’ve had pull-apart licorice and peach rings (my daughter’s choice) and banana splits “with toppings” (her twin’s choice in his own words). Next week is marshmallow popcorn.

The thing that makes this tradition magical is that it builds in snuggle time during a very busy season, so my husband and I look forward to it as much as the kids. And I should also note that this tradition was Lonnie’s idea, so kudos to him.

Christmas books and the Christmas quilt: Before I had children, my mom asked if I’d like to make a pieced Santa quilt with her. I’m so glad she did—now it’s a treat to bring out that quilt every December for cozying up while reading Christmas stories—sometimes the kids ask to sleep with it on their beds too. I have an old milk crate full of Christmas books, and the kids love dragging that out once December hits.

You don’t have to piece a quilt for this tradition. Choose any festive throw and christen it your Christmas blanket. Hide it away until the holiday season. Your kids are sure to love it.

Books that tell a story: Years ago my dad started buying Hallmark recordable storybooks that allow you to record your voice reading the story—the kids flip through it, and the book is read to them. So he records himself as narrator and gives those books to the grandkids, and they spend hours listening to the stories year after year. It’s a real treasure to have your grandparents’ voice recorded.

A birthday cake for Jesus: When my oldest was a toddler, he insisted that since Christmas was Jesus’ birthday, we had to make a cake for Him. So we always do. Every Christmas we have a birthday cake complete with candles and sing “Happy Birthday” to our Savior.

We do a few other things too, like sending Christmas cards, delivering hot chocolate to neighborhood friends, and dropping off gifts for those in need. Christmas Eve is the night for just us and the kids to read the Christmas story in the bible and eat a fancy meal together, and I always light candles in Great-Great-Aunt Maggie’s candelabras and tell stories of sweet family members long gone. What are your favorite things to do during the Christmas season? I’m on the prowl for a good advent calendar, so if you’ve got a recommendation, let me know. •

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