Christmas Traditions

Sunday December 12, 2010
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The Christmas season is in full effect around here.  The tree is up, the lights are up outside and at least 2 rooms in my house are full of Christmas cheer (the other rooms are full of junk).

I attended a Christmas brunch with my mom’s group in early December and it got me thinking about all the things I love about Christmas time.   The focus, of course, is the birth of Christ — and we try hard to keep that the focus.  But there are many special activities and events that make this time so wonderful.  And when we’ve done something more than once, it becomes a tradition in our house.

So, I thought I would share some of our favorite Christmas traditions.  Here they are, in no particular order.

Chop down our Christmas tree.

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I love going to a tree farm and running around and finding the perfect tree.   A difficult task in our area, as I prefer Fraser Firs and they don’t grow well in these parts.   I’ve found one place that has them, but their selection is limited and you need to go early — like Thanksgiving weekend.   We didn’t do it this year, so alas, we went a different route and got our Fraser Fir from Costco.  It’s attractive but next year I hope to hit the tree farm again.

A just-for-kids Christmas tree


We have a small, artificial kids tree that has colored lights and can be decorated any way they like.   Each year, I give the kids their own special ornament, which they can hang on their tree — along with any other ornament they might bring home.   I like this arrangement because it lets them have some control and allows me to maintain control over the big tree (white lights, ornaments of my choosing).

Advent calendars

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We love advent calendars.  We have three  in our house, plus our neighbor usually give us a chocolate one, plus we always make a countdown chain.   My favorite is a Kurt Adler Magnetic Advent Calendar that I got a few years ago.  The kids love opening the boxes and taking out the characters.  I love that it is a manger scene.

Holiday Baking

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Every year I get excited to bake goodies.  We give some to neighbors and friends and well, lets face it — I we eat a bunch too.   I also host a Cookie Exchange party in late December, which is a lot of fun.

Decorate a Gingerbread House

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The kids love doing this each year – can you blame them?

Visit the Botanic Gardens

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We didn’t make it last year but I am determined to get there this year.  They have beautiful displays.  It can be crowded on weekends but we try and go on a Tuesday or Thursday, when they are open until 8pm and have live music.

See a Nutcracker Performance


It is a tradition for my daughter and I to go each year.  There are many nutcracker performances in our area — we usually go to the one put on by Ballet Nova at the TJ Community Center in Arlington.  Next year, we may include the brothers and check out a puppet version in Glen Echo, MD.

Check out Holiday Lights


We drive out to Centreville each year to check out the Fesitival of Lights, at Bull Run.  We put the kids in their Christmas jammies, pack hot chocolate and enjoy the displays.

Advent Devotionals

Our church puts out wonderful advent devotionals each year.  This has been a great time of fellowship and worship for our family.

Attend a Live Nativity

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A church in our area has a live nativity each year – they re-enact the manger scene, complete with live animals.   The kids love it and are looking forward to going again this year — even though it will likely be in the rain.

Christmas Eve Activities

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Our Christmas eve tradition is to have dinner and fellowship at Grandad’s house, then attend a Christmas Eve service.  His street lights luminares each Christmas eve, so it is fun to participate in that.   Then we head out for church.   In the past we’ve gone to our church’s kid service, which is fun, but high energy.  This year I think we will attend a more low key, traditional service instead.

Christmas Day at Home

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We really enjoy spending Christmas Day in our own home.   The morning starts with monkey bread and stockings, then presents.  Later, the rest of the family comes over and we host Christmas dinner.   I used to love spending Christmas at my parents house, but now I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So those are just some of our traditions … what are yours?

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