Sunday, September 13, 2009

The holidays are just around the corner!

So I realize that not too long ago another one of our blog authors did a post about summer traditions and I apologize for being repititious but the holidays have been on my mind lately and I have already started to plan and think about fun activities I want to do as a family. I am due with our second baby ten days before Christmas, so I am trying to stay "on top of everything" this year! :) We did several fun things last year, many of which I hope to continue, but you can never have too many fun ideas right? :)

So I am wondering what traditions/fun things you do with your family for Halloween/fall, Thanksgiving/harvest and Christmas/winter??

My husband and I have also talked about how we really want to involve our kids in some sort of service project each year and I would love ideas on how to do that with really young kids (our little girl will barely be two around the holidays this year). We do a sub-for-Santa or humanitarian project each year with extended family instead of buying each other gifts and it's awesome but it seems that it is such a big production (since our family is large) that sometimes the kids aren't super involved in it. So please share!! The holidays will be here before we know it!


Megan said...

With a small child (under 2), we do our church trunk or treat, and then last year we went to a family Halloween party. We also visit local businesses during the day for the city trick or treat. I think that is what we will do this year but I hope it evolves to trick or treating with friends and family door-to-door over time.

For Thanksgiving we go to whichever families house (we switch off every other year) for lunch/dinner and then try to visit the other side of the family after the big dinner since we live so close to both sides.

For Christmas, on Christmas Eve we get together with extended family and exchange gifts, play games, and hang out. Then at home we read the Christmas story, open one gift from each other and do the whole cookies for santa thing. On Christmas morning we open gifts and do a huge breakfast. Then we go visit family and hang out and just enjoy the day.

One of my favorite traditions though is for New's Year day. My family on my mom's side that lives close by all gets together at a local restaurant and eats breakfast. We stay for almost two hours talking and eating. This way we still get to celebrate the New Year, but those of us with little kids who need to go to bed at a decent hour on New Year's Eve still gets to do something fun!

I'm interested in the service project thing as well and would love to hear how others incorporate that into their traditions!

Heather said...

By way of service, we did something last year that my 3 year old loved! We found 12 different Christmas stories or thoughts. For each story, we found one little thing to go with it. For example, we did one about a train and found a little train ornament to go with it. The, for the 12 days before Christmas, we secretly gave the stories to the families we had chosen before hand. Maren knew we were doing something to help the families feel the Spirit of Christmas and she loved doing it without letting them know. I definitely want to do it again this year.

Shantel said...

I have decided to make a tradition of having a little family party at the beginning of each season. For example, I am currently thinking of activities for our Fall Fest. We will also have something like a Winter Wonderland party, Spring Spectacular party and sensational summer party. The names are still up in the air but you get the idea. At our fall fest we will have a fall like dinner, talk about the changes fall brings, etc. It is supposed to be a fun time for our little family to celebrate something different. I love celebrating the big holidays but I just like the idea of having something special for our family and having something that our kids look forward to. I hope this makes sense!

Jared and Delia said...

These are wonderful ideas. I love how unique and inspiring your idea is Shantel. Kids love to celebrate just as much as us. It is a great opportunity to teach as well. Thanks for that reminder. Our family is still young and we are still trying to establish new traditions. So this post is great. I can't wait to see all the ideas that people contribute.

We do all the standard stuff at each holiday. Too much candy at Halloween, a huge dinner at Thanksgiving, and presents at Christmas. I have been really wanting to add more to our traditions too by the way of service and just making them more meaningful.

We have never had an advent calendar but I am on a crafting kick and decided I wanted to design and make one for this year. My plan is to make a piece of the nativity starting with the stable, then all the animals, shepards, wise men, and so on until Christmas Eve when we put the star above and then on Christmas day we put baby Jesus in the manger. I think this will be a good way to remember the reason for Christmas everyday leading up to Christmas. We will probably do a Christmas scripture advent calendar with coordinating song too each night. Yeah...these are the ideas in my head. Wish me luck huh?

To make Halloween a time for service as well, we usually anonymously leave a festive gift on the doorstep of someone in our ward or neighborhood and tell them they have been "Boo'ed" with a message telling them to pass it on so it spreads to many families.

On Thanksgiving we go around the table and say what we are thankful for as we eat. I need more ideas. I hope a lot of people share!

We are far from most family so I need a lot of ideas for our small family. :)

Ben and Shauna said...

This is funny that this topic came up, I was just thinking of what traditions I want to do, yesterday! :)
For Christmas, I've heard of some people doing this, so I wanted to do it this year. Each kid only gets 3 gifts, and to represent that Jesus only got 3 gifts, (one from each wiseman) I start early for Christmas, and kids are so fun to buy for, so I go a little over board. So I thought this idea is fun, to try.
Also, Christmas Eve, we dress up as characters for the Nativity, (Mary, Joseph, the angel, even sheep, and donkeys, depends how many are there)and act it out.

For Halloween, we've done murder mystery dinners, with my siblings. Where everybody is a character, and dresses up, and then read your parts, to find out the murder mystery. Or we even have done it, that you don't even need to do the mystery part, just dress up, and eat together.

Thanksgiving, is mainly, the guys do a turkey bowl(play football) that morning, then we eat, share what we are thankful for, then visit, and take naps. Or when there's snow(which we haven't gotten enough for Thanksgiving these past couple years) Is get out the tubes, and sleds, and pull them behind the snowmobiles. We've done that on Christmas and New Year's too, it's a hit, the kids love it!