Over the past 10 years, I have tried to establish some holiday traditions that are non-negotiable — the things we do every year, even though at least one person from time to time throws a little fit. With a family of five, it is inevitable that there will be different opinions and thoughts. The goal is to rally everyone so we can all enjoy our family time and holiday traditions. A few of these annual traditions are: visiting Santa at the mall, making ginger bread houses, and the pajama fairy’s visit on Christmas Eve.
Visiting Santa always seems to be one of the most challenging activities that we do. With the kids spread out from ages 4 to 14, either someone thinks they are too old for Santa or someone suddenly gets too shy to go sit on Santa’s lap. But all of the difficulties of this activity have resulted in some of the BEST Christmas pictures I could ever ask for. We have even started bringing Grandpa with us. At the age of 83, he is a great sport and really enjoys all of the craziness that visiting Santa brings. Through all of the challenges of visiting Santa, it is something that we do every year. I know that when the kids get older they will appreciate and have fond memories of this little tradition we do. They just don’t know it right now.
The gingerbread houses have been a learning experience for me. Years ago we started out by having 14 people over, and that was when we even had to construct the houses! What was I thinking! I had bags and bags of extra candy for decorating, which resulted in quite a bit of excess candy and some really big sugar highs. As the kids would eat on the houses for the week after we made them, we had countless meltdowns and behavior issues due to the extra sugar until I would dispose of the houses in the trash. I now purchase pre-built houses and no longer get the extra candy. There is more than enough candy and frosting in the kit for the kids to have fun, feel like they are getting a ton of candy, and then we don’t have the week-long recovery and meltdowns from the sugar.
The Pajama Fairy is something that ALL of the kids look forward to every year! This tradition started out with my sister-in-law. The whole family is visited by the Pajama Fairy every Christmas Eve, providing all of us with new pj’s to wear while we open our presents Christmas morning. Usually the Pajama Fairy leads the kids on a scavenger hunt through the whole house looking for the pj’s.. After the gifts have been found, we all sit down and open them together and try them all on and get some great photos. The husbands don’t particularity enjoy this activity as the Pajama Fairy leaves them some humiliating, or less than flattering pajamas. (This is for the entertainment of the wives.) The husbands are good sports though and try them on and will wear them Christmas morning, with minimal complaining.
I hope that you all have started some of your own holiday traditions. As difficult as they are to follow through with sometimes, stick with them! You are creating great memories that the whole family will enjoy and look back at and laugh!