Holiday traditions: Mistletoe, Christmas carols, Santa Claus.
My sisters and I grew up with our own special holiday traditions: opening up one present on Christmas eve, having hot cocoa while my mom read "Twas the Night Before Christmas", and making tamales on Christmas day.
When my son was born, I wanted to create a special holiday tradition just for the two of us; one that would allow us to celebrate the season every singe day! But, what could we do that would stretch twenty-five days?
I contemplated this in the months leading up to our first Christmas. One evening, as I was reading my son a bedtime story, I remembered all the Christmas books I had from my teaching days. After he fell asleep, I rummaged through boxes of books and papers, until I found them! With books in hand, I married my love of Christmas and literature and created our very first holiday tradition: 25 Nights of Christmas Books.
Here are nights one through six for this year's 25 Nights of Christmas Books ~
Night 1: Little Critter Merry Christmas
For our first night, I asked my son to peruse our basket of holiday books and choose one he would like me to read. Of course, he chose Little Critter! He loves this book series, though we often have heated discussions over what type of critter these books are about. I say Little Critter is a porcupine, but my son insists he is a hedgehog :-) No matter on this night because my son delighted in Little Critter's mishaps, especially when he wraps himself up in tape!
Night 2: The Christmas Ship
The illustrations in this book, alone, make it a magical holiday treasure! The stunning light-infused illustrations take you back to a more simpler time. Then, there's the story...it's a story of Christmas magic and how even the grinchiest of people deserve kindness. Having been asked to help deliver presents by Santa Claus himself, the town's toy maker discovers a little stowaway on his ship as it takes flight on the wings of Santa's magic.
Night 3: The Christmas Lizard
The Christmas Lizard takes us on a wondrous journey through a Christmas Tree, meeting a variety of ornaments along the way! Each ornament shares with the lizard their interpretation of the meaning of Christmas. It isn't until he makes his way all the way to the top that he discovers the true meaning of this holiday :-)
Night 4: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Night 5: Dollar Store Board Books - The Christmas Mouse and Holly Jolly Christmas
Picking up supplies to mail overseas to soldiers, my son found these Dollar Store board books and insisted on taking them home for our sixth night of 25 Nights of Christmas Books.
Night 6: The Animals' Christmas Eve
This Little Golden Book is a holiday treasure. In rhythmic prose, it tells the story of Baby Jesus through the perspective of a stable full of animals. My son loves helping me read this book, as it has a counting element, presenting each animal in ascending numerical order. Gotta' love a book that multi-tasks :-) By the way, the ending will tug at your tear ducts!
Since that first Christmas, we have created more of our own special holiday traditions. Every year, I take my son to the store to pick out a new snow globe and another Nutcracker to add to our growing collection. We also embark on a special holiday-related activity every day. Each morning, my son opens an envelope on our Advent Calendar to reveal that day's event, ranging from donating food to our local food bank to driving around town looking for Christmas lights.
I would love to hear some of your special holiday traditions and how they have brought meaning to the holiday season! Please share in the comments below!