Thursday, December 13, 2012

Holiday Traditions: Part I

I have a thing for traditions.  I keep adopting new ones and its getting a little out of control.   I. Can't. Stop.  I just love the nostalgic feeling that traditions create.  Plus it keeps me grounded in the midst of all the sales, the crowds, the material pursuit and general holiday rush that drives everyone mad this time of year.  

Dear boys,
I hope you always remember our family traditions and know how special they are to me. 
You are my merry, my wonderful life.
My whole heart,

Little trees and Christmas books.
We started this tradition with Max last Christmas and he loved it.  We used a small, real tree last year, but I found these football helmet trees for 75% off at Hobby Lobby in January. And they just happened to be Chicago Bears colors (I added the stickers). I couldn't resist. So I bought one for each of my guys. Sullivan is in heaven and loves to decorate and redecorate his tree with the small wooden ornaments.  I wrapped 25 Christmas books and divided them between the boys trees. Each night in December they get to unwrap a "new" one to read.

Elf on the Shelf.
Meet Fritz.
This is a new tradition for us.  We introduced the elf who Max quickly named "Fritz".
 Within an hour of reading the book about Fritz and placing him up on a shelf to keep him out of reach I caught Max staring intensely at him.  Hands on his hips, a little frown of skepticism on his face.
  Finally Max said, "Mom, is he REALLY real?"
(which sounded more like "WEALLY weal?" in his toddler accent :)
I said, "What do you mean?"
 "Is he a WEAL person?"
Trying to think quick, I asked, "Well...what do you think?"
 Still frowning he said, "His eyes don't bink" (Oh my ever-suspicious little guy)
The only thing I could think to say was, "That's a good observation..." ?!?!?
I'm not going to lie when he's asking me a sincere question so I've just been diverting his inquiries by throwing questions back at him. He hasn't cornered me again, though, so hopefully that's all on the subject for now :)
Sullivan, however, is taking Fritz at face value for the time being...
Pucker up, Fritz!
Regardless of his suspicions Max loves to see what Fritz is up to every morning :)

This one was Daddy's work :)
Tree farm.

Max brought his own saw :)
This is a tradition I've done my whole life.  Even when Billy and I were just dating we always went to a tree farm and cut down a tree.  I love the smell of fresh pine in the house.  Vacuuming up needles until then month of May doesn't bother me.  No one can convince me to get a fake one.  The past few years, though, I have gotten a little more conscious about the fact that...we're cutting down A PERFECTLY GOOD TREE.   Any other time of the year or under any other circumstance the idea of it is horrifying.  So now we plant a tree each spring to wash away our guilt.  It's sort of...a new tradition (<---See.  I have a problem.)
Decorating our friendly tree.
Visiting Santa.
Max's relationship with Santa has gotten progressively worse each year.  He thought ahead, though, and drew "pictures" of the things he wants...a guitar, a harmonica and bowling game.  He stood as far away as he could and handed the pictures to Santa.  Then he stood there nervously while Sullivan panicked on Santa's knee.  Classic.
Brothers helping brothers.  Max said he was worried that the other little boy was going to "knock Sully over" :)
Watching the trains.  The after-Santa activities were a much bigger hit.
Personalized Christmas Card Envelopes.
This one was 100% Max's idea :)  He wanted to help me while I was addressing the last of the Christmas card envelopes, so I let him color on the ones I hadn't put address labels on yet.  He worked so hard on each one and was so proud when I let him put his works of art into the mailbox. I couldn't believe I didn't think of this myself!  A fun way to add a personal touch to our Christmas cards.  This should surely be a new tradition!

And the whirlwind of holiday traditions doesn't stop there.  Part II is coming :)

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