It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! I’m not shy about the fact that I LOVE Christmastime! It’s my favorite time of year for sure. Ever since I was a kid it was always the season I just couldn’t wait for. My parents did a great job of creating traditions for all of us kids and making the whole Christmas season the BEST time of the year. I remember going to get the tree the day after Thanksgiving, I remember roasting marshmallows over the fire (yup inside…my dad hated it but my mom always let us do…and that’s the same in my house today!). My mom used to make an advent calendar for us and every day in December we’d get to open one little gift. Sometimes it’d be a Hershey Kiss, pencils, erasers, stickers or stamps. I remember opening our one gift on Christmas eve that was always a new pair of pajamas and even though they were just pajamas it was the most exciting thing to open that one package! Chris has his own traditions that he remembers and we try to include both of our traditions into our own family. I think those are the things that make me so excited for this season.
When we first started our little family with just Abby I was so excited to start these traditions with her. I couldn’t wait to shower her with gifts on her first Christmas and boy did we! Then came Steven, then Magda, then Asher. All of the sudden we had 4 kids! The “I want, I want, I want” had just started to begin….then came the pressure. I can’t get them all of this?! Every commercial, every catalogue filled with goodies that all 4 of my babies wanted! All of the sudden Christmas became something a stressful. The fear of disappointing my kids was overwhelming! Then lets not even talk about Christmas morning, with all those gifts, the mayhem of trying to open everything in those fantastic packages that all toys come in, batteries in everything, a million pieces. I’m breaking a sweat even thinking about the aftermath of Christmas morning. Weeks later we’re left with more stuff…yup more STUFF and I’m left wondering why we do it to ourselves!
SO last year we decided to do something different. I saw it on a friend’s facebook that they were doing gifts a new way that year. Each child was getting something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. When I read it I knew we had to try it! So I told the kids that instead of making a list of all the things we wanted we were going to make a family list and everyone could put one thing that they wanted most of all on the list. The kids thought long and hard about what they would add to the list and eventually chose their one thing to add. Everything else I picked myself but used those guidelines to do their gifts I also added to the list a game to play. Our family loves games so I thought this would be a great opportunity to beef up our game choices!
I was able to do all of my shopping that year on amazon.com (Prime members so we get free shipping). I did it all in one night then wrapped them all when they arrived. I still enjoyed the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping (I know it’s crazy but I do like it). When I’d go out I’d keep on the hunt for perfect stocking stuffers. I spent the Christmas season doing exactly what you’re supposed to do, spending it with family, friends and your church.
I’m not going to lie, when Christmas morning came I was a little worried. I was afraid the kids would be disappointed. I thought they might think it wasn’t enough. That didn’t happen! It was just as exciting for them as every other Christmas morning had been. They opened their gifts and were thrilled to receive that one thing they REALLY wanted and loved all the other little things. After everyone opened their gifts each kid had their one amazing gift that kept them busy for the rest of the day. The Christmas explosion was easy to clean up and I was able to spend the rest of the day going to Church with the kids then enjoying the evening with my family. I knew that we had changed our Christmas forever!
Fast forward one year later to today. I knew we were doing it again but this year things are a little different. I decided this year I would let them each make a list and fill in their own things. I made a little fun printable list for them to fill in which made the whole process even more exciting for them. We popped some popcorn, made some hot chocolate and got to work!
I loved listening to them decide if they had been good or bad. The list was more like a letter to Santa. I had them think of something good they had done and something bad they had done. They all decided they have been good…what a surprise! One extra thing I added to the list this year was a gift for them to give to someone special. This was my favorite part! Listening to these kids trying to decide who they would give a gift to was the best thing ever. The fact they had such a hard time deciding just means that their lives are filled with amazing people which make me feel so blessed!
Since this new tradition is something I’m so excited about I thought I would share the printable version with you! So you can download it right here!
ChristmasList-Printable1.pdf (700 downloads)