Below is a list of things we have done on or around Christmas this year. These are things we may have also done in years past, or we may want to do them again in the future. Thus, the title: Christmas Traditions, Old and New.
I get my kids all dressed up sometime in November and attempt to take a family picture. Sometimes the girls all have matching dresses. Sometimes they don't. Sometimes the final family picture is worth blowing up into an 8x10, framing and putting it on the wall. Sometimes the picture is duplicated several times and sent out with Christmas cards and then, later I think...."why did I do that?"
We bake cookies!
We make donuts on or around Christmas day. I think I'll be making them tomorrow (Dec. 27th). We first started this tradition several years ago when we lived overseas and buying donuts was never an option. Having homemade donuts was even more special there.
This is when we have our "special" meal. This year Shane made Shrimp Gumbo and I'm pretty sure we will make this our traditional Christmas Eve dinner. The 3 littlest ate mac and cheese and they were happy with that. All of the rest of us were happy too, cuz that meant more shrimp for the rest of us!
Shane and I let the kids open one gift on Christmas Eve. This Christmas Eve we had my mom and Shane's dad with us so we let the kids open up their gift from Grandma. Then, I caved in a bit and let them also open one gift from their stockings. Then, later I caved again and had Isabel open a DVD simply because I wanted to let the kids watch it so the house would quiet down a bit.
We play cards during Christmas break. This Christmas we actually played on Christmas Eve, Christmas day and now as I type this Shane and I are playing Rummy with our 3 oldest. This year Shane taught me, Christian and Aubrey how to play Hearts. We also played some Uno since that is a bit easier for the younger kids. At one point on Christmas Eve Shane's dad was playing with some of the kids at the dinner table and my mom was playing with 2 of our youngers in the living room.
We watch the movie: The Nativity Story. Oh, how I love that movie. I really appreciate how well they stick to the real Christmas story as told in the Bible.
On Christmas morning we do NOT get up early. The kids wake up around the same time that they normally do and Shane and I sleep as long as we feel like it. :) Then, Shane reads the Christmas story. This year Aubrey read from the book of Luke and Shane read from the book of Revelations.
Then, we open presents! We do the -everyone gets a gift and then we all take turns opening one present at a time- method at our house. It's a little slow with 8 people, but that's okay.
Update: I am now playing Hearts with Shane and the two oldest girls. Since I just recently learned this game I just did something really wrong, but thought i was doing something really smart and I acted all cool about it only to be reminded that I couldn't do it....and was thoroughly embarrassed.
The evening of the 25th:
We go to our friend's, the Clarks, house. Zoe is the oldest child in the family and her birthday is December 25th. So, every year, since we do not travel for Christmas and because Aubrey is one of Zoe's best friends, we go to their house to help celebrate. We have done this for 5 years now. My, how time flies!