Christmas is my second favorite holiday (Thanksgiving is more fun because no gifts) but I still love decorating my Christmas tree. I look forward to it as soon as the snow starts falling in Minnesota. For me, it’s a time to time to remember when I acquired each ornament. I might have a slight ornament addiction. When I go on trips I try to find an ornament and jewelry to bring home from each location. But that’s another story.
My Mom who passed away before Christmas last year always made Christmas special for us when our family moved around from place to place (Army Brat Y’all!). She worked hard to make every Christmas no matter how far we were from home seem like the best Christmas ever and she always declared every tree, “The prettiest tree we’ve ever had”.
There are lots of ways you can make your Christmas special for your family. Starting with your Christmas tree!
While you’re bringing in or setting up your artificial tree sing “Oh Christmas Tree”. Since few of us can remember the actual words to this carol have everyone has to come up with an original verse to the song. This can keep everyone entertained while someone else works to get the tree standing up straight or all the boughs in place.
When you’re ready to decorate the tree, make a game out of the ornaments. Put all the homemade ornaments aside and work with those first. Start with the first family member and ask them who made the ornament, where did it come from? Once the details are out of the way, ask the crafter (likely a child) if they remember making the ornament. If you’re the parent, tell the child what you thought when you first saw the ornament. If your kids are older you can be honest if your initial impression was, “Oh no, please say that’s for Grandma!” or is that just me?
This leads me to the cold hard truth! There is always one ornament that is just ugly, or plain silly. Play “hot potato” with that ornament. Have the game master play music while you toss the ornament from person to person. Then have them randomly shut off the music. Whoever gets stuck with the ugly ornament has to say one nice thing about it, such as “well, there’s a lot of glitter on it and that’s pretty”, or “Dougie made it, so I like it”. It’s a silly way to remind children to find good in everything. It might even remind them that things are just things. It’s a good lesson for this time of year.
Some people use an advent calendar to count down the days until Christmas, and this is how it’s traditionally done, but if you don’t have one you can create an alternative version that’s just as fun!
Buy tiny handled gift bags at the dollar tree (I recommend this size). Buy 24 bags for each child in your house. Even my big kid (aka Dad or the husband) likes to get little gifts so he’s included too. Have the kids decorate and number the bags 1 to 24. As you decorate the tree, find space for each of these little bags. You can use a ribbon, ornament hooks or open a paper clip to hang each little bag on the tree. Each night, fill the right bag with a tiny prize or gift. It can be a piece of candy, a tiny ornament, a tiny toy, or a small eraser. This will be the first thing they run for when they wake up. Who doesn’t love a gift even it’s a small one.
This last one is one I came up with when my ultra catholic mother-in-law gave me a pope ornament for my Husband and my first tree. Since I’m not Catholic and I’m really not a fan of the pope (we can discuss that another time if you wish) but still wanting to honor my husband’s request that I “be nice” and hang the pope on the tree, I tied the noose Uh, I mean ribbon on the ornament and hid it deep in the tree. So deep my husband couldn’t find it right away.
Since that first Christmas, it’s become an annual tradition to hide the pope. Everyone in my family now knows about this and can’t wait to search the tree for him. Hiding a special ornament can be fun because in our case people end up really looking at the tree. They notice all the ornament in the process of hunting for the pope. Let the reminiscing begin!
Use these ideas to help create a fun new tradition in your house this year. If you have any other ideas or traditions your family has please share them in the comments below! I love to hear from you guys!
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