5 Family Christmas Traditions

I always imagined the family Christmas traditions we would create when we had our own little ones. The magic and wonder of the season is so unmistakable experiencing it through my girls’ eyes. I cherish the fact that carrying out these traditions, forces us to be intentional and present as another year comes to a close. In each Christmas tradition listed below, there are several ideas of where and how to celebrate each one from all the years past.

Christmas Tree Farm

This was our first Christmas tradition we implemented, as it was carried over from my family. Memories of riding the horse carriage through fields of trees while we sipped hot apple cider under a blanket, was something I couldn’t wait to experience with my own little loves. Going to the Christmas tree farm is also the first Christmas tradition of each year, as we do this the day after Thanksgiving to kick things off as soon as possible (I just can’t before then). Unfortunately, I haven’t found a Christmas tree farm that takes you on your own personal horse-drawn carriage ride to pick out your tree, so for now, we settle for hay-filled tractor rides. If you happen to know of one, or you run a Christmas Tree Farm, here’s an idea for you and let me know!! We at least found one with horse riding this year – see the utter joy below…

 

 

2013 – The Kinsey Family Farm

 

2014 – The Kinsey Family Farm *Our favorite in the Atlanta area

2015 – Bottoms Christmas Tree Farm

 

2016 – Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest

 

Seeing Santa

More than booking an appointment at the mall (no judgement here), we like to make seeing Santa a special experience. When your children are young, you don’t know how they’re going to react to the big, jolly stranger. Each year, we choose a special family Christmas experience and are sure there will be an opportunity to visit Santa while we’re there. If they’re not feeling it – no biggie – their memory will be of the fun you had together!

 

2013 – Snow Mountain – Stone Mountain, GA

 

2015 – Bottoms Christmas Tree Farm

 

2015 – The Polar Express (Just Google to find one nearest you)

 

*Their reaction when Santa boarded the train! They didn’t actually want to sit in Santa’s lap or have their picture taken with him and that was totally ok – clearly, they’re perfectly happy just seeing him!

 

2016 – Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest – 1st year actually sitting and smiling in Santa’s lap (although they didn’t want to do it again when we saw Santa at another party)

The Nutcracker

This is a new tradition (and probably my favorite) started with The Kraze, inspired by my past.  I hadn’t seen the ballet in years, because I spent years on stage and backstage, performing it myself.  I dreamed of the day I would get to share my love of ballet and performance with my own daughter… and the Lord gave me TWO and they both love ballet! It’s got to be embedded in their genes because they’ve loved the idea of performing and being on stage since day one, and I get to tell them Mommy used to be one of those ballerinas… and if you practice really hard, you’ll get to be on this stage one day too! Every year, we make it a girl day, and they’re still talking about it from the year before!  This year, some of the older girls from their studio were cast, which was exciting for them to experience!

2014 – The Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker @ The Fox Theatre

 

2015 – The Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker @ The Fox Theatre

2016 – The Jacksonville Community Nutcracker

Christmas Eve

Sprinkling food for the reindeer in the front yard

I know everyone is worried about feeding Santa at every stop, but those reindeer have to be hungry from all that flying too!

Making treats for Santa

Of course… like almost every house in America. We typically let The Kraze decide what they think Santa would like, but after last year and the excessive amount of sprinkles being equivalent to eating gravel, I think Santa might just send a letter asking for something specific this year. Hmmm… what sounds good??

Celebrating Jesus’ Birthday

The heart of why we celebrate… Of all our “Christmas traditions”, this is the most important one we carry out every year.  I discovered the Sparkle Box last year, and it’s been a really fun way to help them understand what it means to give to Jesus, since Christmas is really about His birthday.  Jesus tells us, whatever we do for others (in need), we’re doing for Him.   And as my little preacher would happily tell you, “We give because God first gave to us.”

The Sparkle Box Book

Filling the box is all about getting the little ones involved.  We do a variety of things that are age appropriate for them to do on their own, as well as, things we can do as a family. Here’s a list of things we’ve done in the past and/or are planning to do this year:

  1. Bringing cookies to the fire station
  2. Bringing cookies to an elderly neighbor and/or a nursing home (it’s amazing how the presence of little ones brings a smile to their faces)
  3. A small gift to our closest neighbors (a good neighbor is a huge blessing)
  4. A small gift for a few extra special people at their school, especially the security guard!
    • For these small gifts, this has been our favorite gift to give the past couple years, and it comes out to be about $2 a pop!!
  5. Provide a Christmas meal for a family in need
  6. Little acts of kindness for the girls:
    • Send a card to someone
    • Wish someone Merry Christmas
    • Make your bed
    • Clean up your toys
    • Feed the birds
    • Pick out toys for children who otherwise won’t have any

Bonus: Atlanta, GA

Being from Atlanta, our Christmas traditions are rooted there. This is our first Christmas in a new city, so I thought I’d share some of our favorite things to do from our hometown. Most of them you can do in a city near you, if Atlanta isn’t within travel distance, but if it is – DO IT!  Maybe next year, I’ll share our new favorites, here in Florida…

Georgia Aquarium

Our membership to the Georgia Aquarium was one of the best parts of living in Atlanta, and every year we made sure to be there at Christmas time.  They do it right with lights, live entertainment (on the weekends) and an opportunity to have breakfast with Santa!

Scuba Santa

Georgia Aquarium – Festival of the SEAson

 

The Pink Pig

If you have children and you’re in Atlanta around the holidays, this is a must.  It’s a historical Atlanta Christmas tradition, and all the proceeds benefit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

2014 – Macy’s Pink Pig

 

Light Seeing

There are obviously a ton of great places to see lights at Christmas time, but the Atlanta Botanical Garden has a stunning display every year. Grab a warm drink at the Petit Cafe to sip while you stroll, and you’ll immediately feel the Christmas spirit.

 

2015 –  Atlanta Botanical Garden: Garden Lights

 

I hope you found these helpful, and feel inspired to fill your Christmas season with cherished memories to last a lifetime.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

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