My parents were really big on traditions, especially during the Christmas season. I knew when I was young that when I had children of my own I too would pass on these traditions and start some new ones as well.
Now that James is 2.5 I think he's ready to experience some Christmas fun! I have to say, I'm just giddy with excitement for him - I think he's going to get such a kick out of everything I have planned!
In addition to our usual Christmas traditions (decorating the tree, drinking cocoa while watching Christmas movies, driving around looking at lights, etc.), we'll be adding these next two to our list for years to come...
25 Books for Christmas
I got the idea from The Picky Apple. Here's what you do: individually wrap 25 Christmas themed books, number them (this is optional of course) and each night have your child open one for the family to read together. How awesome is that? It incorporates so many things I love - family time, books, Christmas, and wrapping presents!
If you don't have very many Christmas books, do what I did and check out your local thrift shop or 2nd hand bookstore. I really lucked out and got 19 books for a grand total of $1.50!! Of course some are more used than others, but James won't care.
The Advent Calendar
I bought this years ago - long before we were blessed with James and I'm thrilled to finally put it to use! I was very inspired by Nicole's post and decided to incorporate aspects of it into our calendar.
The pockets are fill with little baggies and inside each baggie is a sticker, some M&M's and a short prayer. James is sticker crazy and I'm sure he won't object to the M&M's, either! The prayer is my favorite part - admittedly, while we whole-heartedly believe in and love God and consider ourselves spiritual people, we don't actually do a whole lot (outside of attending church) with James. This is an excellent way to bring Christ into our home each and every day this season. Going forward, I plan on doing something similar to this with James throughout the year, so he's always reminded of God's love.
Can I just tell you how much fun I had putting all of this together?! All my husband said was, "wow, that's a lot of work", but to me it isn't work at all! James is SO worth the effort and, like I said, I've been dreaming of doing these kinds of things since I was just a girl. :)
Update: I wrote this post a few days ago and we've since implemented both of these traditions and let's just say they've been WELL received by Mr. James! He asks about the Advent calendar all.day.long. and tears into those wrapped books like a pro!