I love having traditions as a family. We are kind of finding our way each year on what those traditions are. And that goes especially for Christmas. These days I think you can get overwhelmed with ALL THE TRADITIONS you are supposed to have as a family.
I mostly just want to have fun memories with my girls and give them a good foundation.
I have a list of things I want to do with the girls during the season like drive around in pj's to look at lights and take a carriage ride on the square and visit Santa and sing in the church Christmas program and take a Christmas train ride but I'm also not going to wear us out to do everything!
We don't try to make Jesus the center of the season at Christmas for the girls.
We try to make Jesus the center EVERY DAY for the girls.
We do Santa and an elf because it's fun and it's magic and we grew up with it and it's just fun. But we don't make a huge deal out of it. The girls think it's fun but they know so much more about the TRUE story of Christmas than they do about Santa. They can tell you every part of Jesus' birth but they don't even know that Santa lives in the North Pole.
Balance is the key. With a heavy emphasis on faith for us.
Something we started this year is the advent calendar. I'm using this one from Naptime Diaries. We just do a VERY simple version. Read the cards and hang one each day and anticipate a countdown to Jesus' birthday.
Another thing we decided to do this year was the Elf on the Shelf. I had been holding out on this thinking I might not do it. But driving back from Thanksgiving - Scott and I decided we would do it just for fun. So I ran to Barnes and Noble and got one and while I gave the girls a bath that night, Scott set it up. We read them the book and Harper named her Madeline. (We bought a girl Elf. Of course).
And of course we love Christmas pajamas.
Our Elf doesn't do a ton. She basically moves to a new spot every morning. The girls just think it's a fun game to look for her first thing every morning. I had bought them new toothbrushes anyway so one morning Madeline was in the bathroom with them. One day she showed up in the refrigerator. And today she was coloring a picture of Santa. It really has been just something fun to do.
Madeline came with little earrings - I guess to show she is a girl. Today was the first time Harper saw her up close and she got so excited and said "MADELINE HAS EARS IN (hearing aids) - JUST LIKE ME!!!!!" She said "I bet Santa puts them in for her." ha ha! And then she said "Her ears help her hear Santa talk." I never even thought about her earrings looking like hearing aids. What a sweet surprise this morning to reinforce to Harper that she is normal! She told us "madeline is special just like me!"
I know American Girl Dolls can come with hearing aids but Harper isn't very interested yet and we even got Build a Bear hearing aids but the one thing that made her feel so special was that her Elf has hearing aids. That was a pretty great moment!
Traditions can be even in the small details. It's all about making memories.