Friday, December 4, 2015

Kids & Christmas

I love traditions.  A huge reason for wanting to have my own family was so that I could start traditions with my people.  This seems to be the time of year that involves most of our traditions, and honestly, sometimes I just get too overwhelmed by it all.  I totally give myself grace and do what I can, but there are some traditions that we just can't stop...and they seem to be the ones that are the most work! 

Elf on the I know we're all completely over this one...everyone except my 7 year old, Claire. And if you ruin this for her, I will hunt you down.  But seriously...she looks forward to Mistletoe coming every. single. year.  So here's my struggle...when do we stop the elf? Or at least tell her it's all make-believe?  Part of me doesn't want to tell her...she gets one shot at being a kid and there's too many sad, hard things in the world she'll have to deal with when she's older.  So if she wants to believe in Mistletoe, we'll just keep going right along with it.  But on the other hand, I don't want her to be the weird kid who still believes!  So.  How old were you when you figured it out?  Or when your parents told you?  Did they tell you or did you find out some other way?  If you have kids, do they believe in Santa? Do you have an age where you'll tell them he's not real? Seriously, these are the hard things about parenting that no one ever tells you about!! And I know...if I'm worried about Santa, how will I ever get through the sex talk?!?

Another tradition we do is hiding the pickle ornament in the tree and whoever finds it on Christmas morning gets an extra present.  We've changed it a bit to make it a present that the whole family can enjoy: a game, a movie, a book to read together, a puzzle.  I started doing this with Steve when we first got married.  I made him find the ornament every year (he totally made fun of me for this, but I know he secretly loved it!!), and then Claire took over finding it once she was about 2.  Jude will just pull ornaments off the tree at this point, so I think Claire will still be the hunter for a couple more years!  It's a fun tradition and I imagine it becoming a little crazier once Jude is old enough to try to find it...which is what I always going crazy looking for the pickle so they could open the family gift!  I can't wait!!

Last year we started doing Advent with Claire.  She's always had the little house where you open up a door each day and get the little treat inside.  So fun.  But we added the Biblical aspect to it.  Which I love!  We just read through the Jesus Storybook Bible (if you have kids, this is a fantastic Bible to have!!) and then talking about the importance of the story and then praying together.  My confession...we've not had a good stat with this so far.  And that makes me so sad!  It should be the whole focus of the season, how we start each day, demonstrating to our kids that THIS is the priority. But we haven't.  I'm hoping to spend some good time today preparing and making this a very intentional time for the next few weeks before Christmas.  (Side note: personally, I'm reading through Ann Voskamp's book called The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas, and it is so good.  I highly recommend.)
What about your family?  Do you have traditions or do you just make it up as you go?  Any fun recipes you make each holiday?  Special places you like to go? I love hearing what how other people celebrate so share your ideas! 


Audrey Louise said...

All your little traditions are just so cute! My husband and I (and usually the dogs) go pick out a tree together. We don't have too many traditions, but we always spend Christmas morning just the 2 (or 4 including the mutts) of us being grateful and happy for some peace before the crazy day begins. (My mom told me the truth about Santa/Easter Bunny/Reindeer when I was in 4th grade. I was trying to do research and prove to some other kids that Santa was real so she decided to save face and tell me the truth, lol.)

Jess Elyse said...

Such great traditions you have with your family! And I'm over Elf on the Shelf and I don't have that bad? haha We had to do it once at a preschool I worked at, because a parent brought one in because their kid had one at home and needed to be watched at school as well. So everyday we had to remember to move that thing. Once, we didn't move it and the kids noticed (duh!), so we had to come up with an excuse as to why he didn't fly around that night! haha Oh, goodness.

I don't remember exactly how old I was, definitely early/late elementary school, when I found out Santa wasn't real. It was Easter though and I caught my parents getting my easter basket down from the attic. So the next day when I wasn't so surprised by seeing my basket, I just asked my parents, "Is the Easter Bunny real?" And when they said no, I followed up with Santa and the tooth fairy and found out the truth! ha.

Emily @ Ember Grey. said...

Well shoot, I say LET HER be the weird kid! I'm with you, I think there's so much "hard" in the world - this is such a sweet thing! I'm actually sharing in my post tomorrow when and how I found out Santa isn't real... I found out in the 1st grade. (So maybe I was the weird kid??!) But when I found out, it really just started the whole "so, wait - is the easter bunny real?! The tooth fairy?!" ... Basically it was a horrible night of truth in my childhood haha! But to this day- I'm SO glad my parents entertained it all for as long as it lasted. That kind of magic and wonder... it's just the BEST.

PS- I am loving the hiding of the ornament for an extra present or activity!

Emily @ Ember Grey. said...

oh my gosh - I LOVE that you were trying to do research to prove Santa's existence!! That is the sweetest thing and I would have wanted to be your friend in the 4th grade, no doubt :)

Amy @ Set Free said...

Seriously...the elf can be a big old pain! Ha!! There have been so many mornings where we've leaped out of bed hoping to beat Claire getting up so we could move the dang elf!! But it's totally worth it to see her joy!

Your story about finding out made me tear up a little. What a devastating day!! Thank you for stopping by!! I appreciate the love! :)

Amy @ Set Free said...

When hubs and I got marred 11 years ago, he insisted on a fake tree. THIS YEAR HE FINALLY agreed to a real tree for next year!! Can't wait!! :) We always have a quiet(ish) Christmas morn, too. Just us (and now 2 kids) until it's time to go see family later in the day. I love it!

I love that you did research!! So cute! And I feel like 4th grade is a good age...much older and the kids would just make fun. Thanks for stopping by to share!! I love hearing traditions.xoxo

Amy @ Set Free said...

1st grade?? Oh I'm so sorry! Haha!! I have to go find your post! Your's the magic and wonder of it all. Once it's gone, it's lost forever. And now I'm crying. Why do my kids have to grow up?!?

Amy @ Set Free said...

I agree...SO cute! But I'm glad your mom "saved" you...that's unconditional love right there!! :)