Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Our Christmas Bucket List

My favorite time of year brings so many fun things to do!  I love to do some of the same things with the kids each year.. some cost no money.. some just a little... and usually one special day. But each thing we do creates a fun memory... one we all look forward to each year. Here is our Christmas Bucket List...some things we do every year, some are new to this year!

1. Christmas tree up Thanksgiving weekend & a new ornament for the kids. I love this tradition and so do E & L. We put the tree up and they love to decorate it. When we have finished decorating, Paul and I give them their new ornament. They get so excited to see what it is. I always try to have it be something they tried to do that year or something they were really into. If you missed our Christmas tree post this year, you can catch up here

2. Our elf's arrival and a North Pole breakfast. Percy arrives sometime between Thanksgiving and December 1 each year. 
He comes with a yummy breakfast straight from the North Pole, ready to report to Santa and play some mischief!

3. Advent Calendars... they love the little chocolate ones... our elf always delivers them on Dec 1.
He is bringing these this year.....and it's the one time a year I allow a little piece of chocolate with breakfast!
4. A visit to Santa to deliver their wishlists. My kids always love writing their lists.. it is usually over hot cocoa and flipping through the toy catalog! They make their list...check it twice and we hand deliver it when we go to see Santa,

5. Annual Gingerbread Party and Adopt a Family. This is my most favorite holiday tradition. Five years ago Ella and I started hosting a gingerbread decorating party for some of our good friends and neighbors. The girls come with their moms wearing their Christmas best for an afternoon of decorating!

Each year we partner with a local organization to find a family in need of a little help for the holidays. We gather the family's wishlist and with the help of our guests coming to the party we do our best to make Christmas a little brighter for someone! Usually the week after the party we take the kids to deliver all the presents wrapped and ready to go! 

6. St Nicholas Day. We always celebrated this growing up and love carrying this tradition on with my two.  On December 5th, we leave our shoes out by the door and St. Nick drops in a special treat while we are sleeping.
7. Ice skating and hot cocoa! There are a few great spots around us that offer outdoor skating and we go at least once in December.

Of course you can't ice skate without hot chocolate, so we have to plan a stop for that after....

This is a fun coffee shop where you can make indoor S'mores
I just don't recommend a paper napkin for removing sticky marshmallow!

8. Christmas Movie night! One night in December we will do our Christmas movie night. Now, we watch Christmas movies almost every night, but one night is extra special. We will get in Christmas PJs and camp out in our family room to watch and eat fun snacks! This year I think it will be Home Alone 2-Lost in New York.... I just love that movie!

9. Drive around to see the lights. This is usually an impromptu night... we jump in the car after dinner and drive around a few neighborhoods near us, listening to Christmas music on the way. Always fun to see some of the displays people put out!

10. A special holiday afternoon... Polar Express Ride,.. The Nutcracker.. .a Christmas play. It's always nice to spend the afternoon doing something special or fancy. This is a pic of us doing the Polar Express Ride a few years ago. This year we are heading to see a Junie B. Jones Christmas play at our Theater of Youth. Getting dressed in your Christmas best to spend an afternoon at the theater makes for a pretty special holiday memory! We can't wait!

11. Neighborhood traditions. We are so lucky to live in a neighborhood with great neighbors that have become even better friends! Since we have moved in, there's a group of us that have a cookie exchange a few days before Christmas...I love getting lots of different cookies and only having to bake 2 kinds! And last year one of my neighbors organized a caroling night for the kids. It was so fun!!! Hoping we do it again this year!
I just love the magic of this season and try to fit in something special whenever I can! What are some of your favorite traditions? I always love seeing the magic of Christmas... share what you do!
We will be back with some of our favorites from the week on Friday and some tips on how to stay on track with your eating during these busy few weeks. I hope you will join us....there's always room for one more at our family table.

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