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Some Christmas traditions have been passed down for generations.
Baking cookies. Opening just one present on Christmas Eve. Going from door to door singing Christmas carols. Wait, do people still do this? I would LOVE IT if I opened my front door and found carolers! Especially if it were NSync singing “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays”. My sister and I still totally rock out to that song. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t love that.
Now, we are starting our own Christmas traditions.
My son Avery is 2 1/2 now and he isn’t quite there yet, but he is just beginning to understand Christmas. Case in point, when I asked what he wanted Santa to bring him this year he said, “Breakfast”. But he does love Santa, lights, ornaments and all of the other fun that Christmas has to offer so we are starting to build a few of our own Christmas traditions and I wanted to share them with you today:
Chop down our own Christmas Tree.
Growing up, we always had fake trees and Kevin and I actually used my family’s old fake tree for the first few years we were together. Two years ago, we decided to try out a real tree and I loved it. Everyone made me think that it would be a pain in the ass and I’d be cursing the fallen needles all winter. As long as we remembered to water every day, it really didn’t lose many needles.
Until we made our drive up to the Knobs of Southern Indiana last weekend, I had no idea there were tree farms where you could chop down your own Christmas tree and I was beyond excited when Kevin told me about Meyer Tree Farm. They even gave us a saw, which, of course, Avery wanted to carry (don’t worry, we didn’t let him). We made our way through rows and rows of trees before finding the perfect one. When Kevin asked what size tree I wanted, I said, “Big” and he came through like a champ.
It’s been unseasonably warm for December, but there was still a chill in the air. I didn’t want to put Avery in his big puffy jacket because he isn’t very mobile and I was worried he would get hot with all the traipsing around through the trees. Recently, the Cozey7 team reached out to me to see if I’d like to try their TrailHopper children’s sleeveless coverall and I knew this was the perfect chance to test it out! It is warm and fleecy, but easy to move around in. And he looked freaking adorable, so that is always a bonus. It’s basically a performance blanket that you can zip your child into and it won’t fall off. I can’t wait to break it back out for some winter bike rides and hikes. You can check out all of their children’s and adult products here.
I think this visit to Meyer Tree Farm will be an annual one for sure!
Decorate the Christmas Tree while we watch Elf.
Elf is my absolute favorite Christmas movie. I can watch it over and over (and over) and I still crack up every time. When Kevin and I moved in together, we made a tradition of watching Elf while we hung the ornaments on the tree. We only have one TV in our new house and the tree and the TV are in different rooms, so this year I pulled up Elf on the iPad while we decorated. Avery didn’t really like decorating the tree because it was too “pokey”, but he did a great job unwrapping all of the ornaments and handing them to us to hang up.
I love, love, love our ornaments. We both have some ornaments from our childhood, a few homemade ornaments, some we picked out together and some that Avery chose, as well. It is the perfect mish-mash of our lives and I love that it isn’t all perfect and matchy-matchy. That just isn’t my thing. Speaking of ornaments…[Tweet “If you don’t laugh at Elf, you deserve to be on the naughty list.”]
Go to Target and pick out Christmas ornaments for each other.
Don’t ask me why we chose Target. Probably because they have a huge selection of ridiculously cute ornaments. Each year, Kevin and I go to Target together and take off on our own to pick out the perfect ornament for each other. For some reason, we’ve ended up with a lot of furry woodland animals. I guess we have a thing for nature. This year, we let Avery choose one ornament for our whole family. He went with a storm trooper and, given his current obsession with Star Wars, I think it represents this time in our lives perfectly. Every year when we place that little storm trooper on the tree, I will remember my little toddler who turns everything into a light saber.
Go for a Christmas Bike Ride.
This tradition is weather dependent and we have yet to do it since Avery was born, but he is old enough now that I think we might give it a go this year if it isn’t too cold. Kevin and I met cycling and it was a huge part of our pre-baby lives. We don’t have as much time now, but we used to bundle up and go for a Christmas bike ride through town. It was a nice way to work off some of those holiday indulgences and it gave us some quality time together doing something active together that we love.
Take a trip to look at Christmas lights on Christmas night.
We spread our family Christmas celebrations out over the weeks surrounding Christmas, so we don’t have many obligations on Christmas day. That means we can spend the majority of the day just the three of us! Charlestown, Indiana (a nearby town) has the cutest little town square and they set up a huge light display that is set to music. Just down the road at the park, there is a walking path with even more Christmas light displays. For the past few years on Christmas night, we’ve driven over there (usually in our pajamas) to check it out. Avery loved it last year, but I think he’ll be even more into it this time around.
Teach Avery our true meaning of Christmas
We are not a religious family. I can’t speak for Kevin, but I would say we are more spiritual than religious. I do believe there is something out there that must have created this universe and I do think there are things in this world that we can’t understand or explain, but I do not believe in god in any traditional sense. I am perfectly happy to accept that this is something I may never understand instead of spending my life trying to find a way to explain it. That being said, I don’t think you have to be religious to appreciate the true meaning behind Christmas (or to be a good person in general, for that matter), and I am doing everything I can to keep that meaning at the forefront of our Christmas celebrations. More important than gift-giving or tree-chopping, is the spirit of love and giving. I can’t say Avery’s grandparents will follow suit, but we try to keep the gift-giving to a minimum. We’ve been following the four gift rule:
- Something you want
- Something you need
- Something to wear
- Something to read
It keeps the gift-giving under control and ensures that we don’t just get Avery a bunch of Star Wars toys. As he gets older, I plan to implement a few other traditions in the spirit of giving. I recently saw this awesome idea for a reverse Advent calendar on Poor as Folk. Basically, you fill a basket with one item for people in need each day in December and then donate the items at the end of the month. I also want to include him in some volunteer opportunities (any suggestions?) and really talk to him about giving back.