As a family, we chose one of our missionary families & contacted them to see what type of gift would be helpful to their kids. My kids sold pumpkin bread & chocolate chip cookies to earn money for Christmas gifts. After they paid me for the ingredients they used, they took the profits and bought gifts.
They also had to save enough money to ship the presents overseas. This was a fantastic way to learn service, as well as budgeting. We have fond memories of missionary Christmas gift giving.
We never really made “gingerbread” houses, but we did make graham cracker houses. We “glued” the graham crackers to small milk cartons with icing. Then, we had a wide variety of toppings to decorate each home. I usually gave one milk carton to each of my kids. Then, we spread frosting over a foil-covered cookie sheet to make a village. They made streets, lampposts, cars or whatever as we assembled the homes into a village.
Christmas Lights & Singing
Like most other American families, we choose a night to view Christmas lights.
We exchange Christmas lists with each other & buy gifts for siblings & parents. When my kids were too young to earn money, I gave them an allowance & took them shopping. As they got older, they earned money to buy their own Christmas gifts.
My all-time favorite Christmas movie is Holiday Inn. I finally bought a dvd of Holiday Inn a few years ago. When Hunter came to eat Sunday lunch with us that year, he was shocked that Steve & I watched the movie by ourselves. He thought it was only a family movie, watched together.
I grew up with a nice meal on Christmas Eve, after going to church. We continued this tradition with our own kids. After spending time with our church family, celebrating the birth of our Savior, we returned home for a feast. Lately, I make Bleu Cheese topped filets. Everyone loves steak, so it’s a big hit. Some years, we’ve invited singles to enjoy our feast. Other years, it’s just our family.
At our meal, Steve reads the Christmas story. When I was growing up, we each played a Christmas carol on the piano after reading the Bible. I have fond memories of singing & laughter at this time. For some reason, we didn’t continue this tradition with our own kids. But, Steve often played Christmas carols for the kids … on his guitar.
The kids can open one gift (chosen by mom) on Christmas Eve. By now, they know it will be a book. I try to pick a quality hardback to add to their personal library.
We opened Christmas gifts with a twist. Instead of one person handing out the gifts, or having a free-for-all. We pass out the gifts to the “giver”. We take turns “giving” our gift to another family member. I love this idea because the focus is on giving, not getting.
We also have the same breakfast every year, just like I had growing up. As a kid, we called it Monkey Bread. My kids call it Pull-Apart Bread. I usually make it the night before with leftover bread dough. Then, it rises overnight. Last year, I was told I needed to make more because our family had grown. Even though I doubled the recipe, I guess I need to triple it, especially since my kids invited friends over this year.
If you’re looking for other holiday family traditions, here are some of our family’s favorites.
.Question: What are your favorite Christmas traditions? You can leave a comment by clicking here.