I thrive on goals executed by way of lists, and plans, a little bit of structure I suppose.  Otherwise I’m easily distracted and I’ll get lost along the way in conversation or swallowed by the deep ocean that is Pinterest or, well you get the point.

So for the holidays this year (last year?) I was very intentional in being somewhat organized all the while making sure we connected as a family and made some good memories for the Christmas season.  Enter: tradition.

#1 – It all starts with the tree.

For as long as Jared and I have been married (7 years for those of you who missed that post) either his Brother or Dad have provided us with a beautiful, live tree.  I grew up with a fake tree and there’s nothing wrong with that but oh my heart has a big ol soft spot for our overgrown Charlie Brown Christmas trees.  This year was no exception (thanks Papa Nick).

#2 is of course decorating the tree which I recounted here

#3 was new tradition for us, picking out a new ornament for the tree (one for each of the kids and one with the year on it).  We packed up the kids one night, swung through Starbucks for some hot cocoa on our way to Target where the kids had a blast picking out there new little treasures.  The results did not disappoint.




#4 Letters to Santa, also in another post

#5 Bass Pro Santa.

Best. Santa. Ever.

(oh, and free)

They even bring in a merry go round

 #6 Christmas Eve at our house.  This in itself involves a bunch of traditions such as lasagna for dinner, a HUGE crowd of people (that pretty much describes our combined families, this year 42 to be exact) and a super fun white elephant gift exchange.  But what stands out the most to me is the one that we all roll our eye at and groan when it’s time to do it, but in reality it is awesome.  

Grandma Jenean sits down where everyone can see her and the kids gather around her.  She gets out the children’s version of the Christmas Story (no not the poke your eye out version, the baby Jesus one of course!) and the older kids take turns reading.  As each ‘character’ in the story is introduced we each bring whichever character we were handed out and place it on the nativity.  This year we got creative and put it up on the entryway mirror with figures cut out with Joy’s super duper cameo machine.

Happy Birthday Baby Jesus, and thank you Grandma Jenean for keeping it real.

#7 Last but not least – the gifts.  Go with me on this.  Have you ever walked into a store knowing what gifts you want to buy for your kids and literally the moment you enter it’s as though one of the guys from Men In Black waved that little flashy pen in front of your face that erases your memory…and suddenly your subject to absolute consumerism?


Huh. I swear it’s real.

So I decided this year to give myself hard core boundaries supported by bold ink lists and the following guidelines: Santa brings the kids 3 presents each and Mommy and Daddy do this one:

Something you want

Something you need

Something to wear

Something to read

I know, that’s 7 presents total per child which sounds like a LOT.  But in reality several of the gifts were $5-$10 or even free (for instance I made these towels for Grace and Jack out of towels I already had so their ‘need’ gifts were free).

So there you have it!

And that wraps up 2012.

I know, I’m a little tardy but if I had to sneak another tradition in there it would definitely be taking a mini staycation and not working/blogging through the holidays.

Happy New Year everyone!