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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Creating Lasting Holiday Memories

What are some of the things ya'll do every year that make new, positive and lasting memories for your children?

Many years ago, when we were very poor, we couldn't afford Christmas Ornaments, so I had this bright Idea to bake cookies with hooks in them to decorate our tree.  I had to fabulous Dutch Christmas Cookie Recipe, and hooks were cheap! 
Our tree was so pretty with all those cookies. But our baby Marcus, found out that they ornaments tasted WONDERFUL.  I caught him licking them, and  then, I saw ANTS! Apparently the ants thought they tasted good too! I think we were the only family on the block that had an ant poison jar under our tree. LOL
Over the years, we kept up that tradition, and we do it to this day, 30 plus years later.   We have always had assembly line cookie decorating day, and the cookies get put on the tree and then disappear with just hooks left. :)  It really is fun, and I have wonderful memories of this practice. 
It is something we all look forward to.

7 years ago, we started decorating Ginger Bread Houses.  It is now a tradition. Our grand girls have always come over to help, and this year, sadly (sniff) they won't be here, as they moved to Albuquerque.... but I'm sure they will do their own, and we can share pictures. :)

This year I bought two sets because the grandsons will be here to decorate.  I'm hope to have one for the girls and one for the boys.  I can't wait to see them get all messy and see those little smiles. :)

Here is a post from last year's decorating.

We love to make our own ornaments and we add to the tree each year.  For many years, most everything on our tree was home made.  Now it is a combo of purchased ornaments and home made.

The girl's tradition has been to buy a new ornament from Hobby Lobby each year. They get to pick one.  This has really, REALLY helped them in transitioning bad memories to good memories.  It is funny how little things like this done repeatedly, reboot the brain and teach us different responses over time, replacing our traumatic memory with good memories.  It does take time, but it happens!

I think keeping busy with planned activity is a good way to get through the season.  We like to sing Christmas music and the girls as well as the boys love to put on skits.  We have a big celebration at Church and this year we will all be participating. 

We try not to emphasize too much in the gift department, although we do give gifts.  We also like to do angel tree, or find a family in need and the children get to shoppe for that family.  It really is enjoyable to see them give.

Cooking is a big deal....and trying out recipes make for great bonding time in the kitchen.  This is something that is different with our girls. Our guys were great taste testers, but not that interested in Food Science. The girls however, love to cook. :)

I am really thrilled to see my girlies facing the Holiday season with excitement.  It is catchy, ya know. :)

4 comments:

Mike and Christie said...

A few other things we always do:

We have a great selection of Holiday movies that the kids can pick from to watch.
We always watch "It's a Wonderful Life" on Christmas Eve,after services, and drink Hot Cocoa.

We take an evening and drive around to look at Christmas Lights.

We go shopping the day after Thanksgiving, just to see the crowds. :)

We go to a movie at this time of year, as long as something good is playing. One year it was Charlotte's Web.

This year, it will be The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

We go to the area shopping centers to see the choirs sing.

We have an advent calendar that never gets old.

We retell the story of the Birth of Christ who is the reason for all of the season's celebration.

We sing Christmas Carols.

Hevel said...

One thing we used to do was to read through the gospel of Luke, one chapter every evening of December, reading the last one on Christmas Eve.

I used to sing at various Christmas events with two different acapella groups - over half of the members were Jewish, so we had no issues working on Christmas. I still love Christmas music, and hopefully this year I'll get to sing again at the company Winter Holiday Party. I am also in love with Straight No Chaser's Christmas album (especially thei rendition of We Three Kings of Orient Are and O Holy Night). Caroling is an absolutely favorite activity of mine.

Nowadays we make our own chanukiyot (the chanukiyah is the Chanukah menorah) for the boys' rooms. The mitzvah calls for a beautiful chanukiyah, and we have a silver masterpiece from the late 19th century, but beyond that every year we make at least one more. One year we made them from Coca Cola bottle caps. Then last year it was baby food jars decorated with window paint and filled with olive oil (the original way of doing the chanukiyah). The boys all got to light their own chanukiyot, and each of them gets to practice all the mitzvot associated with the holiday. And then we spend the week of Chanukah studying about the Temple. This year Efi and I are planning on assisting our kids in building Solomon's Temple from Gingerbread. :)

Annie said...

I like the idea of the cookie ornaments. We cut snowflake ornaments and hang them from the ceiling in the living room; that adds a whole new look. And we've made paper chains for the tree. I'd like to try the cookies.

I've always loved the story in the "Betsy-Tacy" books about the girls going downtown to buy one ornament for the Christmas tree.

But, Nastya has been so touchy about holiday stuff, that it has put a damper on things. We were doing and Advent Calendar, but it seemed to remind her that she needed to be dysregulated.

We've always listened to the audiotape of A Christmas Carol, or watched a good DVD of it. I do love that story.

Chiara Elena said...

Since we were 11 me and my friends make home made ornaments for the tree to exchange. At first we had only few of them so we usually decorated only the front of the tree. Now after 25 years my tree is overloaded with all the ornaments I got from my friends, think about it: 6 friends an ornament from each of them every years for 25 yrs... Soon I will need the rockfeller center tree!

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