Friday, November 21, 2008

Christmas Traditions

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

Recipe 1:

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?


Mama Bear said...

What an AWESOME post!! I might steal the idea...hehe.

For my family (when I was wee...well, until we all started moving out anyway, LOL), Christmas Eve was the big night.

We had dinner (faspa which is German for a cold supper of buns, jams, cheeses, meats, and treats like baked goods etc) and ALWAYS had chocolate milk (the kind you buy in a jug, not the powdered or liquid mix) because we never got it usually otherwise. Mom would set the table all fancy (fancy dishes, silverware, candles even!) and we'd have dinner.

Then we'd clean up and Mom would put out baked goods and other treats (those rings with the white balls on them from Karls!!!) and we'd read the Christmas Story from the Bible, and then us kids would do some sort of 'play' or year we did a troll Christmas! LOL

Then it was present time! We'd open gifts, hang out and play with our new stuff, eat treats, visit, whatever, and then go to bed.

In the morning it was our stockings before church!

There's more but I'm taking over your comments section. LOL I might do a post...I'll link back if I do!!!


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