Monday, December 05, 2011

Some Szrama Traditions

Ok, this is one of those posts where I'm throwing random stuff out there and I want you to throw lots back!!  So here's the question:  what are your favorite holiday traditions?  They can be personal (like you always read through Dickens' A Christmas Carol) or familial, like going to Ace Mountain Farms to cut down your own tree on the 16th... whatever!  They can even be food-related... I just might not read those until I'm in my 3rd trimester. :)

Some that we've started in our li'l family are...
1. Advent wreath & candles at dinner- yes, you've all heard enough about that.  I will confess that our wreath is an evergreen wreath from Michael's, wrapped with some clearance Christmas ribbon from Hobby Lobby (I think).  The candles are all left-overs, and the chalice in the middle was a gift from one of my students my first year of teaching.  Each year I pop in a new tea-light and it becomes our Christ candle.  Simple, frugal, pretty, and it works!  As Eowyn gets older I hope to add in an Advent devotional or story book (like Gaarder's The Christmas Mystery).

2. Jesse Tree at breakfast.  Once again, enough said.

Szrama Family 2011 ornaments
3. Trimming the tree (AFTER Thanksgiving) -- for 2 years now Eowyn's been my buddy during this.  This year she was absolutely enthralled, and each new ornament she unwrapped was met with a breathless "Oh, Mommy, yook!"  {She also knocked over the tree, breaking some ornaments, but reinforcing the lesson that she must not touch the tree... "or Mommy be sad when I break you star."  Now she occasionally reminds our tree "Don't you fall over, Tree!"}

4. Family ornaments- each year we pick or make a Christmas ornament that represents an event from that year.  Our first year of marriage, it was our cake toppers (a knight & a maiden) threaded onto ribbon from our rehearsal dinner inscribed with our names & wedding date.  We have a a Hungarian coin on ribbon (2008), a pink "baby" ornament for 2009 (when Eowyn was born), an upcycled Christmas Eiffel Tower from '95 (2010), and this year, Ryan picked out a red double-decker London bus while we were in England. (I write the year on the ornament in permanent marker as well as writing it into our Christmas memories book.)

5. Kids' ornaments- as my mom did for us, we are starting ornament collections for our kids.  We pick one each year -- this year, Eowyn actually picked her own; a Queen Katherine bought in Westminster Abbey, London.

6. Christmas Eve gift bags-- on Christmas Eve, our children get to open 2 gifts, which are the same type every year:  a book relating to the past year in some way, and a new pair of Christmas jammies, home-made by Mommy (so far out of upcycled material).  I made 2 drawstring bags (one large, one small) out of the same fabric as the top of Eowyn's Christmas stocking, so that each year, she'll know easily which presents are hers to open Christmas Eve (cuts down on packaging waste too!).  I look forward to making bags & stockings in different fabrics for each child God gives us!

Eowyn's ornament from 2011:  England's Queen Katherine
7. Stocking pins-- this was something Ryan grew up doing:  adding a little something to his stocking each year.  Last year Eowyn added an Eiffel Tower pin (since she visited Paris twice), and this year she'll add a slightly-less glamorous potty-trained pin.  Hey, it was a big deal!  She can always pin it to the back of her stocking while she's a mortified teenager. ;)

8. Basket of Christmas toys & books-- so far we have only a few, but Eowyn loves them!  My favorite is a finger-puppet felt Nativity set my mom found for me while I was still teaching.  It's just perfect for little hands!

9. Christmas memories book-- this was a wedding gift from Ryan's grandparents (I think, right?), with spaces to record traditions, events, menus, gathering places, memorable gifts, and more each holiday.  I love that we have this record, especially since I'll probably forget which ornament was for which year, or which kid gave Grandma that... it's already fun to go back and read about our past Christmases together!

Ok those are ours:  what are yours?

Our Christmas Memories book, under the tree


Em V said...

Love all of these things!!! GREAT ideas :)

The Russells said...

These are all really great! Sadly, we don't have many Christmas traditions... now having lived in 3 different states for Christmas we find that we will always get a real tree and constantly have hot wassail in the crockpot for the spontaneous carol-sings. I love the Christmas memories book. ::borrowingbookidea:: Thomas and I have wanted to schedule Scripture readings and carols to sing (in an Advent calendar sort of way) throughout the season, and I think this is a great way to incorporate it without taking too much time.

ddavis said...

Love the Christmas memories book- might have to steal that one!

1. We wait till Dec 1st to decorate the Christmas tree together (Cole's birthday is Nov 30th and we do lots of streamers/balloons for birthdays) while listening to Christmas music and eating Krispy Kreme donuts (the only time we ever buy donuts)
2. Jesse tree devotion/ornament after dinner each night. My favorite tradition!
3. We find a way to give to a child in need and let the kids help pick out the toys for that (ie: the Angel shoeboxes, this year our church had ornaments with a child's gift wish we could fulfill, etc.).
4. put out lots of manger scenes including two plastic ones that the kids can play with
5. decorate sugar cookies - one of my favorite holiday memories as a kid
6. pajama ride to see a lights display - Hollywild or Roper Mountain
7. My aunt gave me this pickle ornament that I will hide on the tree Christmas eve after kids are in bed (it's green and blends in) - the first to find it the next morning gets to open the first gift
8. A really nice breakfast Christmas morning including cinnamon rolls, bacon and fresh fruit
9. Read the Christmas story before opening gifts Christmas morning
10. Ben and I try to find a Christmas concert to go to together - this year we will get to see the Gettys AND Andrew Peterson!

Eowyn's Heir said...

These are great!! Keep 'em coming! :)