Wednesday, November 07, 2007

WFMW: Traditions

I got some great ideas the last time there was a backwards WFMW so I just had to participate again.

This is my favorite time of year - I just love the holidays! Anyway, I have 2 toddler boys and we are wanting to introduce some new traditions this year.

So, my question is very simple...what traditions do your family enjoy for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas? I'm looking for some traditions that would be good to add in at the toddler stage but that would also still be fun when they are older. I would also love some fun activity ideas for toddlers during the holiday season!

Feel free to leave ideas, websites, recipes, or anything else that you think would be helpful! You never know, you might even be featured in a post if it's tradition we will be trying this year!

And I will tell you about one of our traditions that my parents started when I was born (I'm the oldest) and we are continuing with our children. Every year, we received a new Christmast ornament - it often reflected our interests for that year. It was usually a surprise that we got on the night of our tree trimming party (yes, it really was a party just for our family). When each of us leaves (still some at home) home, we take our collection of ornaments with us to decorate our own Christmas trees. It's so fun opening them every year and remembering.

Check out Rocks in My Dryer for lots more questions!


Jane said...

Last year someone posted the idea of wrapping up holiday books and then unwrapping them one a night and reading them. I am trying this with my class this year. I have a list of wonderful holiday stories on my blog, but most are a bit older for toddlers. Still, a trip to Boarders will find you with lots of options to start building your holiday book collection.

Playful Professional said...

Two of my Christmas traditions are:

Playing Bingo on Christmas eve. We either played with just our family or the entire extended family. Everyone buys (or parents buy and kids pick out) some small prizes within a particular price range and you play Bingo for a couple of hours Christmas Eve. I always (and still do) looked forward to playing.

My parents would let us open one present on Christmas eve, and it was always some type of pajamas. I loved knowing I was gonna get new warm fuzzy sweats :)

Julie said...

Every year at the beginning of the month of November I make a paper tree ( trunk and branches) and hang it on the wall. You can go to a teachers supply store and get the stuff they cover bulletin boards with. Then I cut out fall colored leaves (you could buy these too). Then everyday until Thanksgiving each family member writes (or I write) what they are thankful for on a leave and sticks it to the tree. By the time Thanksgiving is here we have a beautiful fall tree. And I have lots of memories to save.

My World (as I see it) said...

I just recently heard of this, and it sounded so cute. It is not a tradition that I have partaken in. . . however, one if I had children, I would definately consider. It is called the Elf on the Shelf.
Basically, you hide the elf around the house, and the children find him. He "reports" back to Santa on the children's behavior. . . .I thought it was extremely cute.

On a side note, this week has been insane - but promise to respond to your tag - hopefully tonight. :)

Heather L. said...

Yesterday I read on someone's blog about "pumpkin playdough"! Basically, it was the traditional cooked playdough recipe in which they had added pumpkin pie spice and orange food coloring! (If you don't already have a playdough recipe, I can send you one) This would be fun for kids at this time of year!

We always loved advent calendars -- especially when we were young. Some years we even made our own.

HopewellMomSchool said...

When my kids were little we did this [I've shared this elsewhere]
I wrapped a Kleenex box with Christmas paper and on green and red paper wrote out the name of a Holiday book [included Hanaukua and Kwanza, video or game or looking at pictures from past years or making something simple like ONE ornament. I also made a simple game that my kids [amazing at 11 and 13] still want to play [we've made it harder every year!] It's just a simple matching game cut out of red/green construction paper with Christmas and holiday words. Prizes are a little piece of candy for the one who finds the Christmas sticker cards [there are 4 of those--find two, get a candy]. We also do a "Treasure Hunt" for little stocking stuffer toys and gifts. We do this the Saturday after Thanksgiving and it helps with my son's holiday anxieties. Now that they are older the clues are much harder! This started due to how small their beautiful Christmas stockings are inside!!!! They love it and look forward to it. Last year they wrote clues for a treasure hunt for me, too!

Barbie said...

We have a few but one that all my kids enjoy regardless of age has to do with tree decorating. After we decorate the tree as a family we turn out all the lights but the ones on the tree and sit around as a family and sing Christmas songs together. Everyone gets to choose a song plus we add others in. Also, we give everyone eggnog in wine glasses (sippy cups for the little ones).

We have others too. I will think of them and get back to you!

LeeAnn said...

Growing up, we gave a present to each person in our family that we had made ourselves. They ranged from letters, pictures, a shower book (plastic-coated, typed pages of songs for the shower), hand-covered hangars, you name it. The only rule was you couldn't buy it.

Come to think of it, it's time to start that tradition with my family!

Andy & Angie said...

Here are some of our holiday traditions. We are hoping to add lots more.

1) We do the same Christmas ornament tradition with our girls that you described in your family.

2) New pajamas for Christmas Eve

3) Have one nativity set up with Mary & Joseph far away from the stable. Each day, move them a little closer. On Christmas morning, they are in the stable and baby Jesus appears as well.

4) On one special night to go look at Christmas lights, everyone gets hot chocolate in a travel mug/sippy cup and a little bag of popcorn for snacks in the car.

5) We hope to start this year: Reserve the night after Christmas as a fun family night to play new board games received for Christmas. We'll probably go out for Chinese on this night as well.

6) Thanksgiving morning - monkey bread for breakfast and the Macys parade

7) "Happy Birthday, Jesus" cake on Christmas Eve. This is a tradition that I treasure from my childhood.

Mama10EE said...

One tradition we always did as a family and that I will be starting with my 17 month old is making paper chains out of red and green construction paper. The day after Thanksgiving mom would have the strips cut and we would each get 32 (the number of days between Thanksgiving and Christmas). We would use a glue stick and loop the paper together and mom would help us make a chain of alternating colors that we could then hang on our dresser or in our room somewhere. Every day we ripped off a link as a "countdown" to Christmas. On Christmas Eve there is only 1 link left!

As a variation with older children you could have them write something nice to do every day on the countdown rings, or maybe on every 5th ring, OR something else I just thought could put a sticker or star on one or a couple of the links and if your child gets the star they get to be "in charge" that day (i.e. pick dinner menu, daily activities).

I love the new pajamas on Christmas Eve idea. I also started the new ornament once a year with my family once my husband and I got married. As we added couples into the family through marriage they got added to the ornament list!

(P.S.--I am a friend of Catherine Gillespie's from high school and linked to your blogs through hers)

SAHMmy Says said...

I asked about Christmas traditions on my WFMW as well--check out the comments for more great tips. My family always made a party out of the tree trimming too! We'd cut the tree down from a local lot Thanksgiving weekend, then drink eggnog and listen to Chipmunk Christmas and watch my Dad put up the lights and my Mom decorate the tree. She wanted it "just so" but let each of us put on one of our keepsake ornaments when she was done--then she'd move them to where she wanted them after we went to bed!