december traditions

I can't believe it is already December! I'll be honest, I had kind of forgotten that today was the first day of December until yesterday afternoon. Grayson reminded me that our elf, Doodle, always comes back on the 1st AND we could start unwrapping our 25 books of Christmas. You know what that meant? All 25 books needed to be wrapped. oops. So I went to bed at midnight last night.

I really do love this season & experiencing it with kids is just so much fun. Even at age 8 (and sometimes acting way too cool for school), Grayson still believes in the magic of Christmas and gets so excited for December. I love it!

He is my traditions kid. He loves a good tradition and remembers everything year to year. Most of his personality traits are from his daddy, but that traditions loving part? That is all his mama. I love hearing about Christmas traditions that other families do & thought I would share some of ours! 

One of my favorite things we do in November to kick off the season is fill up our shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. We have done this each year with our kids & I think it is a really simple way to teach them about giving. We typically let the kids pick the age and gender of the kids that we are buying for and they pick out the items for their box. You can even add tracking to your box and in a few months, you will find out where your box went! Two years ago, we came back from our beach trip with a letter post marked from Africa. It had a hand written thank you note AND a picture of the sweet girl that had received our box! Our kids thought that was so neat. 

This year I really wanted to volunteer as a family with a local organization. It can be hard to find a way to serve with young kids, but after searching, I discovered a local ministry that we can help with! GraceWorks is in Franklin and each year they have volunteers sign up to shop & deliver Christmas dinner to a local family in need. We will be doing this a few days before Christmas and I hope it will be something we can do each year! 

One of my favorite traditions is our 25 books of Christmas. This sounds a little overwhelming, but if you stock up on books after the holidays, it really isn't bad! We now have collected way more than 25 but I wrap our favorites and it is a fun way to countdown to Christmas. The kids take turn each night opening a new book and we read them before bed throughout the month! Some are new books, but my favorites are the ones that I had when I was a kid.

Today was one of my most favorite things to do in December: the Franklin Christmas Parade! I have always loved downtown Franklin and it is especially charming at Christmas. The parade has the local high school bands and a bunch of businesses with fun floats. It ends with Santa Claus and fake snow...fake snow and downtown Franklin...it's magic!

We have so many more--Doodle the elf, drinking hot chocolate and driving around looking at Christmas lights, decorating the trees together, the candlelight Christmas Eve service at church. Truly, I could share so many special things that I hope continue to be special to our kids. Things that they request to do when they are young adults and come home for Christmas. Those are the traditions I hope to create!

So now I am curious...what are some things your family does each year that are special traditions?