One of the great things about having your own kids is starting your own traditions. We've started some traditions for Christmas that I thought I would share. Hopefully you'll find something you like and get to start it for yourself. This way you'll have time to get prepared.
First is our Christmas countdown. Very easy to make, and rather frugal too. (Frugal is my new word. It sounds so much better than cheap.) Get toilet paper rolls and cut them in half. You'll need 12 tubes cut in half. You can also use the tubes from paper towels. Paint half red and half green. Hot glue onto a piece foam board, in the shape of a tree. Cut out the tree. I get treats at Dollar Tree. I'll get a bag of Christmas chocolates and a package of stickers. Fill each tube with 1 or 2 treat, cover each one by stuffing with tissue paper. Each day starting December 1st, Paige gets to pick one tissue paper to pull out. Our own homemade Advent calendar. The best part is it's reusable year to year. I made ours last year, and I'll be stuffing it tonight to use this year.
Second is our letter to Santa. I know, that's nothing special, most kids write a letter to Santa. Our twist is how our letter is delivered. I didn't like the idea of mailing a letter to end up in the dead letter office. I wanted Paige to believe that Santa really got her letter. My solution? Our special letter garland. I made this from foam Christmas shapes on a plastic cording. We write the letter to Santa, then place it on the tree with the special garland around it. The special garland tells Santa he has a letter ready to pick up. Santa then leaves a letter in return. I found the foam shapes on clearance at Oriental Trading last year for 97 cents a package of 500. (I love to clearance shop for Christmas around Easter time.) The plastic cording came from Michael's, also on sale. You could make your own from popcorn or by making a red and green paper chain. Or maybe you can find some foam shapes at your local craft store.
Third is our matching jammies. Each Christmas Eve Santa brings us an early gift: matching jammies for Mommy and Paige. To pull this one off you need to shop early. Target has a great line of Nick & Nora sets. You can usually find a few sets that come in toddler, little girl, and Mommy sizes. This year we're getting this one. Santa will bring them early that day, and we'll put them on after nap. We wear them while we complete the next section of traditions: snacks for Santa and the reindeer. Santa is easy, we make him cookies. Our Santa doesn't drink milk; he's lactose intolerant. And he hates the taste of milk. Our Santa drinks Coke. We set out cookies and a Coke for Santa. For the reindeer we make reindeer food. It's simple and easy to make. Grab a large mouth bowl. We use our popcorn bowl and it's perfect. Mix in some regular oatmeal and mix with either sugar sprinkles or glitter. I like the sprinkles best because they'll melt away with a rain. The glitter stays in your yard forever. Once you have it mixed, spread it on the ground where you think Santa will be stopping in the yard. this way the reindeer can eat it while Santa delivers the gifts. The sprinkles helps the reindeer to find the oatmeal. Our squirrels eat the oatmeal and the sprinkles melt away, so it's good for the animals. If you're feeling extra generous, fill that empty bowl of Reindeer Food with water so they'll have a drink also.
Our suggestions may not fit into your family at all. That's OK. You can create your own traditions that are right for your family. Come up with something that the kids will love and you'll enjoy doing with them. Have fun with it!