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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Holiday Traditions from our Smarty Moms & Dads

By Rachel H

Merry Christmas Eve! (My favorite day of the year!) Today we are continuing on from Tuesday's post, which shared traditions from this year's Smarty Moms and Dads ...

Julie G - Years ago when Owen was four (he's now eight), I had a student, Conley, who was in the High Point Ballet's production of the Nutcracker. Several of my students, Owen and I got all dressed up and attended the production. For Owen, this has become one of his favorite traditions. In years that followed, Conley continued to have roles in productions of the Nutcracker and her family invited many people to their home for a pre-party. Owen just loved running through their home and counting the many nutcrackers - over 50 of them if I recall. We would then board the bus that would take us to High Point to watch the show. He loved watching "his ballerina" dance across the stage gracefully and beautifully. Sadly enough like all children do, Conley grew up and last year, she had moved on to Wake Forest and was no longer in the production, so we visited the NCSA production. Owen was disappointed, and this year, we'll be returning to the High Point Ballet's production. The High Point Ballet's production is more intimate, with prettier sets and costumes, and much funnier in my son's opinion. They also have a children's performance where the audience can actually meet the dancers. Owen feels that his little brother, now four, is finally ready for the big show. I highly recommend it.

Another of our favorite traditions is attending the annual Santa Parade in our neighborhood. Two families have been hosting this annual parade since Owen was a baby. One of the hosts shared that her family used to put this on for neighbors when she was a child. Now that she is a mom, she has invited other families to do the same. Neighbors come out on a chilly Saturday evening around 5:00, typically the Saturday before Christmas. Canned food is collected for one of the local food banks. At 5:15, the sirens from the local fire department are heard rounding the corner. Santa follows the fire truck in his white convertible adorned with Christmas lights. It is truly a sight! A step ladder is plucked from the car and the children line up to share their deepest desires with the best Santa in town. Other children visit with the firemen and actually get to sit in the truck. What three year old doesn't love that! It is a simple, fun way to ring in the holiday that my children (and I) have grown to love. I certainly appreciate the tradition for our family and I know my boys do.

Kristie Touchstone - A few years ago, we wanted to start our own tradition at Christmastime with our triplets Adam, Abby and Andrew, now age 7. We wanted the tradition to focus on the reason for the season so I went on a hunt for an Advent calendar or something similar. What I finally found after two seasons of searching became our tradition. It is a wooden box with a nativity scene on it with 24 tiny doors around the perimeter of the box. The nativity ‘scene’ itself is a painted magnetic surface without any people or things on it. Behind each door is a wooden figure (with a magnet on the back) that belongs in the scene: the star of Bethlehem, Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, three wise men, sheep, etc. In addition to taking out one figure each night in December and placing it on the scene, my husband came up with a sentence or two explaining the significance of each figure. The kids take turns each night opening a door, reading about its significance and then placing the figure on the nativity scene. At first, my husband or I did the reading, but last year they started doing the readings themselves. It is a special time for our family each night leading up to Christmas and it reminds us all what the season is all about.

Julie Wagoner - Each year, we take the girls shopping and they each pick an ornament for our Christmas tree. We encourage them to pick something that will help us remember their year, but really the choice is theirs. Their ornaments are marked with their initials and year and are stored in their own special box. They love being given their box each year to hang their own special ornaments as we trim the tree. It is always a wonderful trip down memory lane as we take out each ornament from previous years. This year my eight year old could hardly believe that in 2002 she chose a Blue’s Clues could she have ever been into Blue’s Clues? Her ornament choice this year was a sparkly peace sign. The four year old chose a Belle ornament this year, which is ironically the same thing the oldest chose when she was four. Four must be the height of the Disney princess obsession! And our two year old chose a Santa ornament this year to help us remember how she literally ditched us all and ran to get to Santa’s lap. I am sure we will laugh about that all over again each year as she takes out her ornament to hang on our tree.

Maythi Calvert -
Our favorite holiday tradition is making a gingerbread house. Growing up, my Mom made one every year - from scratch!! She made homemade gingerbread that we would then cut out using a pattern she had. We did bubble gum tiled roofs, stained glass windows with melted candy, snow-covered trees, and a mailbox! I don't have the time or energy to do it quite the same way, but regardless, we make one each year. I just usually buy the boxes that come with gingerbread, icing and candies and then we add a little special touch here and there. We play Christmas music & drink hot cocoa. We look forward to doing it every year.

Sarah Hahne For the past 6 years, our family has visited Lil' Grandfather's Christmas Tree Farm in Laural Springs, NC during Thanksgiving weekend. Our friends introduced us to the farm back when the group of families only had 3 children. Six years and 7 children later, we still visit Lil Grandfather's with friends and family. In addition to picking out the perfect tree, we always look forward to the beautiful drive to North Wilkesboro and the horse rides, hot chocolate and a hay ride once we arrive. In recent years we have stopped for lunch at an adorable coffee shop/restaurant/book store Talia in downtown North Wilkesboro. I look forward to continuing the tradition with our friends and family over the years.


Nan said...

Kristie - where did you find the advent box?

Allison T. said...

Sarah - We go to Lil' Grandfather Mtn. every year, too! My kids love sitting on the bails of hay while drinking their hot cocoa and watching The Polar Express or whatever Christmas movie they have playing!

Kristie said...

Nan - the one we have is called "Kurt Adler Wooden Nativity Advent Calendar with 24 Magnetic Figures". I just looked it up and it is available on The website I originally purchased it from does not carry it anymore. It is well-made and durable. We have ours sitting on a metal easel.

wii raquettes said...

I too do the christmas eve pj's my mom always did it and this year I are doing it with our family. Growing up I always made sugar cookie cutouts and painted them with frosting. I plan to continue this tradition with my son this year he won't really get into it, but I am starting it anyway. My mom and I spend one whole day making christmas cookies and when my son gets older I will let him help and be a part of it.

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