Thursday, December 24, 2009

December Traditions

December is full of so many fun activities. We've loved creating some of our own traditions as well as celebrating traditions that were part of my childhood.
Every December we enjoy the fun holiday art the kids bring home and every December we pull out our Advent calendar. My grandma made this calendar for me and my siblings when we were little and I love seeing my girls use it now. Each day they pull out a little nativity figurine to place on the tree (a wise man, soldier, sheep, etc.) and then baby Jesus and the star on Christmas Eve. They were so excited to finish the tree this morning!

This was my fourth year going up to Addison's pre-school to help with Christmas cookies. It has become a fun little tradition for me regardless of which child is attending at the time.

One of my cute neighbors throws a neighborhood holiday party every December that we all really look forward to. We used to do a playgroup once a week but as the kids have gotten older it has been harder to get together and we miss it! It's always so fun to catch up with friends while the kids do crafts and play.

This month was also full of lots of school parties and performances (above is Addison with her favorite teacher during her holiday performance) and LOTS of lights. We've enjoyed the lights in our own yard and driving around looking at other lights at night. We always take a trip to "Christmas Card Lane" - a neighborhood of houses that are decked in lights with Disney paintings and themes. The girls love getting out of their seat belts and standing in the car with windows down and the heat on full blast. They run back and forth from one window to another... "Add, look! It's Ariel!" "Over here Ellie! It's Peter Pan!" People are out walking the streets with hot chocolate and everyone is waving and yelling "Merry Christmas!" Such a fun holiday atmosphere and one of my favorite San Diego traditions. We also always make a trip to the temple to see the nativity and lights. The girls get to be in pajamas with hair not done - as was the tradition when I was a little girl. :)

Kenny and I have started a little date night tradition of going to the Poinsettia Bowl together every December if we're still in town. We went last night and had a great time together. Utah was playing and won which made it even more fun. GO UTES!

This year we started a new tradition with "The Elf on the Shelf." I'm sure most of you reading this have done it with your family or have heard of it, but for those who haven't, it's a little elf that comes to visit every December to watch the kiddos and make sure they are being nice and not naughty. Every morning he is sitting in a different spot to watch over things and the kids can't touch him or his magic will disappear. Each night he heads back to the North Pole to report to Santa about what he has seen. My girls have LOVED this. They can't wait to wake up and run downstairs to see where he is hiding. I have LOVED this because it has been a major help in the behavior department. All I have to mention is that "the elf is watching" and any fighting quickly ceases. Brilliant.

Our elf has been so sneaky! Here are some of the places he has been hiding this month...
If you have little ones at home this is such a fun tradition to start! This morning my girls woke up and ran downstairs. I called them to see what they were up to and Ellie yelled, "We found the elf! And we put the star on the tree! And there are presents under our Christmas tree! We're having our own little party!" :) They are so giddy and excited.

We just made cookies and are anxiously awaiting this guy to visit! I don't know how my girls will sleep tonight. I don't know how I'll sleep tonight. What's better than being a 3 or 5 year old on Christmas Eve? Being a mom of a 3 and 5 year old on Christmas Eve.

Hope you all have a great Christmas and enjoy this special time with your family!


Craig and Kathy said...

I love reading your blog Erin! I love love love the Elf on the Shelf. I hope you have a Merry Christmas!

Josie said...

I totally agree, best thing ever to be a Mom of the little ones on Christmas! Pierce & Madi are super excited, as am I!!! I love the Elf idea, I'll have to try that out for next year. Great post, love all the cute pics! Have a wonderful Christmas!!! We can't wait to tell the kids we are going to Ellie's birthday at Disneyland!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(although I think truthfully I'm the most excited!)

Bonnie said...

One word comes to mind...Precious!
Kiss the girls for me...and Kenny. Oh how I miss you all.

Shari said...

I need that elf!!!!! Where can I buy one for next year?????

Merry Christmas Eve.

Erin said...

The elf is from the North Pole (of course!) but I hear he also hangs out from time to time in Hallmark and Barnes & Noble (and I'm sure you can find him on-line). :)

Malea said...

How on earth do we manage to manage our kids behavior 11 months out of the year?!! I have never seen the Elf on the shelf. But he will be hiding in our house next year. What a great way to keep things whimsical while helping the parents keep their cool during the holidays.

Hopie said...

I love traditions!!!!! We also got an elf on the shelf this year!!! It's been quite the fun guessing where he'll be the next day!!! Merry Christmas!!!

Kami said...

What a great month you've had!

Merry Christmas Erin and Fam!

Sara Ancich said...

We have a million traditions too, but to put them in writing for memory's sake is brilliant.

Thank you for sharing. And you are looking fabulous, I might add!

Dave, Gretchen, Cam, Abbie & Sadie said...

What fun traditions!! I love the way you capture EVERYTING with pictures!You are the best blogger!! WE have had the elf at our house,too!! What did you name you elf?? It was a fun little tradition to start! My kids loved it! So FUN!!

Natalie | The Bobby Pin said...

Super fun!

My grandma has always told me about those pretzel things - but I could never really figure it out. Your instructions totally helped! Thanks! I wonder what peppermint kisses would taste like

Pam said...

Stumbled upon your blog recently and, being a bit of a Christmas addict, I tend to head straight for those posts. =) Just thought it was funny that, although we've since had to leave San Diego, we were living there in '09 and were at the Poinsettia Bowl, too! Love your sweet blog!

Crystal said...

Love all of your ideas! If you have time, stop on over and share this linky and your elf activities in my linkup, too! I will be pinning all the elf post on Pinterest.

THanks, Crystal