I am happy to say that this year I am actually looking forward to Christmas! Last year it was so-so for me, and while I did do our usual things as normal, it didn't seem right to me. But this year I think I have the Christmas spirit. I think maybe because I am not so focused on it, and have left everything for the month of December. We won't be putting up our tree till next weekend, or the beginning of December, and I am happy about that because it kind of starts the "Christmas Season".
While I am on the topic of Christmas though, I wanted to talk about traditions we have with our kids and family.
When I was a little girl, my dad's twin brother had a long time girlfriend. So much so so that we actually referred to her as "Aunty". Every year, even a couple years after they split up, she would come to our house and make a gingerbread house with us. I've since started that tradition with my children, and it is something we look forward to every December. I usually buy a Wilton one, and then also pick a pre-assembled one from Safeway. The kids and I spend an afternoon decorating them and eat as much candy as we put on the house. This year I was lucky to find a "gingerbread village" kit at Michael's. It has 5 3-4" tall gingerbread houses that will be a nice compliment to our large one.
Another tradition we have is making Cinnamon Ornaments
Cinnamon Christmas Ornaments
The recipe that I use is
* 1/2 cup ground cinnamon,
* 1/3 cup applesauce, and
* 1 Tbs. Tacky glue
Mix in bowl and stir until well blended. Work mixture in hands for three minutes to form a ball. If it is too dry, add applesauce, if too wet, add more cinnamon. Knead ball on cinnamon-sprinkled surface until it holds together well. I roll this out and use cookie cutters for the shapes. I also use a drinking straw to cut a hanging hole. These can be air dried for 24 to 48 hours. Turn several times. They can also be baked in a slow oven.
And we can't forget baking. Oh the baking I do! Shortbread, Gingerbread, chocolate chip, no-bakes, apple pie, fudge, truffles, chocolate pie... all sorts of wonderful tasty treats. We usually decorate sugar cookies too, but I'll be phasing that out this year as no one ate them last year, they only wanted to decorate. And we LOVE to decorate Gingerbread men.
Every year the kids get a new ornament for themselves. I haven't bought them for this year, but I usually let them pick something out. Last year they got mini nutcrackers. Maybe we'll make an ornament this year.
Other traditions include my mom coming to visit around SinterKlass (I am a 100% pure, bona-fide Dutch Girl), putting a Christmas orange in the kids' stockings, buying a new Hallmark ornament each year, and driving around one night in December looking at all the pretty Christmas lights. And we always, always, open our gifts on Christmas morning.
I'd love to incorporate some new traditions this year, so share with me what sort of traditions you have with your family? Is there anything new you are wanting to try this year?