Many Merry Traditions of Kate and MiniThor

When I became a mother, Christmas became much more magical.  Every year the excitement and magic has grown along with MiniThor.  It is an absolute blast to watch him light up when we go see Christmas lights and to see his excitement growing as we count down the days left until Christmas!

The holiday season is a time for making memories.  Every year we make memories with our many merry traditions.  We would like to share these with you!  Maybe our traditions will inspire some new ones for your family.

  1.   Have an attitude of gratitude!    This time of year is great for reminding your children to be grateful for what they have and to teach them to say thank you for their gifts.  Reiterate that if someone gives a gift, that person took the time to buy or make that gift.  Remind your kiddo that it is the act of giving, not the gift itself, that counts most.  Therefore we should be thankful for the gift and say “thank you,” even if it wasn’t a toy from our list.
  2. Sending Cards to Soldiers:    This tradition started long before MiniThor was able to read and write, we’ve sent many cards filled with scribbles.  Every year we send a stack of cards to soldiers.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just a simple holiday greeting will make a difference and put a smile on a soldiers face.  I can’t even imagine how hard it must be to spend the holiday season away from home and family.  Here’s a link to one of the ways to send cards http://www.redcross.org/support/get-involved/holiday-mail-for-heroes
  3. Going to See Christmas Lights:    Our town takes lights seriously; the local power company sponsors a huge lights display in the park.  We love going to see this each year.  The best part is the only charge for admission is that you bring a canned food item to donate!  Last year, MiniThor said his favorite part of going to see the lights was that we donated food to someone who didn’t have enough.  That melted my heart into a puddle!  We also drive around to see Christmas lights in our neighborhood! 
  4.  Countdown to Christmas with Books:   Every year we count down the last week until christmas with reading a new Christmas book each night.  I wrap up seven Christmas books and label them with how many more sleeps we have until Christmas.  MiniThor gets to unwrap a book each night and we read it together.  I am really looking forward to it this year, as MiniThor will be able to read some of the books himself!
  5. Make Reindeer Food:  We added this tradition two years ago when MiniThor’s amazing preschool teacher (Shout out to Mrs. Christy!) made Reindeer food with his class at school!  We make “reindeer food” by simply mixing together oats and sprinkles!  Then, on Christmas Eve we sprinkle it out in the yard to help the reindeer spot our house and to give them a snack to enjoy while Santa is putting presents under the tree!
  6. Donate a Bag of Toys:    Every year I have MiniThor fill up a bag of toys for us to donate.  This had two purposes, primarily it is to instill kindness and teach the act of giving without expecting anything in return.  Secondly, this helps clear some space out in the toy bins for the new toys that will be unwrapped. Haha.
  7. Donate Canned-goods:  MiniThor absolutely loves doing this!  I am very excited that this year we will be able to donate through a food drive hosted by his school.  Also, our favorite comic book shop collects canned goods, how cool is that?!
  8. Handmade Gifts:  I want MiniThor to know that giving doesn’t have to be expensive, instead it should be an act of love.  By helping him make gifts for family members, he can give them something special and the act of giving becomes personal and exciting instead of the obligatory tone that sometimes accompanies Christmas gifts.
  9. Random Act of Kindness:  This is another of MiniThor’s favorite things; we don’t just do this during the Christmas season, but it seems like a good time to share this with you.  Do something kind randomly and anonymously.  This can be anything from leaving an encouraging note on someone’s car windshield to leaving a bag of groceries on the doorstep of someone in need.
  10. Open One Present EARLY on Christmas Eve:    This is a tradition from my childhood that I have been doing with my little guy as well!  He gets to pick one present from under the tree to open early!  It’s seriously exciting!  Plus, it’s fun to watch him try to decide which present to open early.
  11. Hot Cocoa Floats: this one is super neat and super simple.  MiniThor cannot have dairy, so no whipped cream on our cocoa.  Instead we top it with a scoop of (dairy-free) ice cream.  It slowly melts into the cocoa and makes a creamy beverage fit for the holiday season.  Plus, it cools down the cocoa which is helpful for little ones.
  12. New PJs:  one of our Christmas Eve traditions is to wear a new pair of Christmas Jammys!  This ups the excited on Christmas Eve, plus we look super cute in Christmas morning photos!
  13. Make Cookies (and leave some out for Santa) … This one is pretty self explanatory
  14. Grinch Night:  All of our cousins and aunts and the like get together one night during the kiddos Christmas break and watch the animated Grinch movie.  We share special green treats, make crafts, and play “pin the heart on the grinch.”
  15. Give a Gift (or two) that Includes Spending Time Together:  Among the toys, I like to include a gift that MiniThor and I will enjoy together, something that will have a bonus gift of quality time.  This could be anything from a puzzle to a craft kit.  This  year it is a fort building set and a wooden truck building/painting kit … But don’t tell MiniThor!

The most important thing is to spend time together, make memories, and enjoy the hope, love, and joy of the season!   

We’d love to hear about your traditions, feel free to leave a comment below!

Keep on making memories,

-Kate