I love this time of the year. Christmas is my favorite holiday. I love everything about it… the lights, the trees, the smells, the music, TV specials, the food, and especially the love of family and friends. The children’s excitement as they countdown waiting for Santa is contagious. (As a former educator, I remember teachers are also counting down to Christmas break…maybe not for the same reasons as their students!) And of course Christmas Eve services with the children celebrating the reason for the season – the birth of Christ.
Santa is usually a part of most family traditions. There is that precious first photo with Santa that must be captured. I remember as if it were yesterday- my first baby’s photo op with Santa. I grew up in York, PA and there was a parade to welcome Santa. He then climbed up the fire-truck ladder and went in through the window to a higher floor at Bon-Ton Department Store to Santa-Land where he would hold court until the big day! That first day was THE day to be downtown and get your picture taken with Santa! There was a VERY LONG LINE, but as a new Mommy it didn’t matter one bit! Of course, just as we were about 2 children away from our turn my precious 10-month-old angel fell asleep! I could understand for it had been a pretty exciting day getting up early Saturday morning, fed and dressed and racing downtown in time to see the parade. Determined to get this milestone picture (especially after standing in line FOREVER!) I told Santa she is just as beautiful sleeping so let’s go for it!
Getting the Christmas tree is another family tradition. We always have a real Christmas tree (hubby is not a fan) that we purchase the first Friday in December. Some years it was the second week of December. We always order pizza that night. Pizza was a treat when my kids were growing up, not like today where it’s commonplace. Hubby is in charge of putting up the lights on the tree (and he grumbles the whole time) and then he turns into the armchair supervisor (…” put some on that side, etc.”) Is there an armchair supervisor residing in your home? We laugh and tell stories about the ornaments. My own kids made some of the ornaments when they were in elementary school and some are ornaments my former students made or purchased for me! As the years pass we seem to laugh even more as we retell the ornament stories while decorating the tree.
There is an ornament for Chloe the cat (sadly no longer with us) that always evokes a funny Chloe story. Now there is an ornament for Lucy, the new cat that rules the house. Putting up her ornament this year made us all gasp – she’s been a part of the family for 10 years!
I added a new ornament tradition when the kids were seniors in high school (also a very long time ago). I purchase an ornament that highlights something that happened in their life that year. As adults they actually look forward to seeing what moment in time did I choose to immortalize with an ornament. It’s now my favorite gift to purchase for both of them.
Literacy At Work
The great thing is while we are enjoying our holiday and our family traditions we are supporting literacy at the same time. Story-telling influences language development, it provides a model of language that your little ones can imitate. It also develops listening skills (listening actively for they usually participate in the process). Story-telling helps the young ones to see pictures in their head and helps them remember these experiences. And you thought you were just decorating the tree! I’m sure many of you have favorite books that you read during this time of year as well. (If you are looking for holiday book gift suggestions pop over to my FB page).
My wish for you and your family this holiday season is to slow down and really enjoy each other. Share the stories that make up your holiday traditions. Yes...pull out those old Santa photos and share with the family. And take lots of photos of this holiday season to capture those precious moments. Preserve the memories by creating a book of your photos - Shutterfly makes it real easy.
Take a moment and share in the comment section your family's favorite holiday tradition!
I wish you all a joyful and peaceful holiday! I will be spending time with my family and friends creating new memories and reminiscing about the old memories.
So…..see you in the New Year!