As each Christmas comes, I find myself adding another tradition to our family.  Is there such thing as too many traditions!? I have memories from growing up that I love to reminisce on and some that we did not do that I want to be sure to do with my own family.  Last year I shared 3 traditions and I can’t believe we only had 3, or maybe that is all I could remember at the time.  What is even crazier is that I was wrapping up my maternity leave with Rayne at the time! Time flies!

Here are my top traditions with room to grow on! 

1. Getting a real tree. 
Each year since Erik and I started dating 7 years ago, we have had a real tree in our home.  Growing up we had a fake tree which I can totally appreciate mainly for the mess that a real tree leaves behind.  There is nothing better than going for our annual tree search as a family!

2.  Elf on the Shelf: 
Last year was our first year to have Chippy.  He is back this year and arrived on Thanksgiving day.  Each day is fun to hide & seek out where he could be.  The trick is coming up with new and fun ideas for Chippy.  Right now, its just a matter of finding the highest place to put him that won’t be close enough for the kids to touch him.

Christmas Pictures & cards: 
This is my all time favorite thing to do!! I love getting the family dressed up to capture the memory of our family from year to year.  I love putting time into finding the perfect Christmas card and send out cards to everyone I know.  This includes the President of the United States.  Some years I get a response back so its always worth the extra stamp to send one to have a memento from that year.  Getting Christmas cards is also a huge joy and makes checking mail SO fun!!  Here is our picture from 2 years ago:

Advent Calendar:
This is actually a new one for us this year.  I saw a deal back in July for these cute Advent calendar supplies and snatched them up from HERE. I tried to coordinate the activity inside each day to work for our schedules.  Some of them include eating Snowman pooh, which is just funny way of saying a mini marshmallow snack, reading a Christmas story or having pictures taken with Santa.  So far its pretty fun!  I started it on December 1st.

5. Collecting an ornament:

This is a tradition that Erik and I started when we were first dating as well and the hope is that each year, we give the children a new ornament that goes into a box specific to them and one day when they are old enough to move out and have a tree of their own, they can take their family memories and traditions with them.

6. Pictures with Santa
This is probably on everyone’s list around the world.  I feel very fortunate that there is a Santa who comes to the same spot every year that we have been lucky enough to have the kids go see.  He’s as real looking as you can get and I think he makes it more believable for the kids.  Funny thing is that last year I learned that when this Santa isn’t playing Santa, he is actually a bounty hunter! Here is a picture of Ryan the 1st time we saw him.

7.Family Heirlooms
This is the most precious part of Christmas aside from celebrating Jesus’ birth in my opinion.  I adore my family heirlooms.  I don’t have many to speak of but the ones I do have mean a lot… maybe more so because the people who gave them to me have passed away and meant so much to me.   I wish I had a picture to share for this tradition in my home and will make a note to share it again next year.  My grandmother on my Dad’s side was called Granny.  She had a place setting that reminded me of a hunt scene mainly for the colors.  When she passed away, I just asked for 1 plate or 1 piece and was blessed to get the whole set.  I use them for every Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I have my own china in a cabinet I’ve never used but REALLY adore bringing Granny to my table every year.  I also have an angel that I got from my grandfather from my mother’s side this past year before he passed away.  She is sitting on top of our tree for the 1st time this year.
We also have 2 candlesticks from Erik’s Mother’s side of the family that we will use to light our Christmas dinner this year.  I just love passing on the love they gave me to my family now.

Army Christmas

This tradition will not last forever but its worth mentioning for memory sake.  Erik is a Staff Sergeant in the Army and every December Drill, they pull the immediate families together to have a lunch together.  This was the 1st year they did it in a casual setting.  Normally the men/women are dressed in their Green Uniform Suit.  This is our picture from last year—WOW we have all changed so much.. mostly the kids!
Here is my collage of pictures from this year, as you can see in the top right, Rayne was NOT enjoying this Santa ONE BIT!
Army Johanson Journey

I hope you have some traditions to share.  Each year I think of something new and will add to it in next years post.  I am fairly confident I have forgotten to list one or more here. 
Tomorrow is the 1st day of the Review Extravaganza!! Hope to see you then!
Johanson Journey Review Extravaganza

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Katie @ Creatively Living said...

We have a LOT of traditions and some years I get to them and some I don't. I had a mom of 5 (that I really respect) tell me this year that she didn't feel bad stopping some of her traditions in years past. That made me feel a sense of relief. I already know a couple I don't think I'll be doing next year. :)

Neat to see you're an Army wife. We were active duty infantry for 10 yrs and are doing the Army's Chaplain candidacy program right now in the reserves.

becca said...

I love the whole Elf on a shelf idea

Mrs. Match said...

I love your traditions! I love your idea of collecting ornaments for each child and giving it to them when they are grown up. I'm going to do that too! Wow your little ones have grown so much. I can't wait for next year when we truly become a family and start traditions that will last for years to come!