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Well, here we are... two days (well, less than two days, really) from Christmas already. I can't believe how quickly December has flown by. It seems like I just finished cleaning up the Halloween streamers, carving the Thanksgiving turkey, and now it's about time for Christmas dinner!

It's been a busy time, for sure, and it's so easy to let the hustle and bustle of the season take away from what's really important in my life this time of year. Though we're on an extremely tight budget this year, I really wanted to start introducing special traditions to Balian this Christmas. I know that he's way too young to understand all of the things we do and the reasons why we do them, but he's pretty darn smart, and I know that if he sees us doing certain things, he'll remember them down the road... or will at least have memories from pictures. So, I thought I'd share a few our our Christmas traditions with you, and hopefully, you'll share yours in the comment section!

The Advent Wreath

We have two different advent wreaths that were given to us as wedding gifts, and I hold them both close to my heart. One is a traditional German advent wreath- wooden, with four tiny red candles. I never light this one, because you can't buy replacement candles just anywhere! The second one is a lovely pewter ring, which holds four tapers- three purple and one pink. One candle is lit each Sunday of the advent season as we 'watch for Messiah.'

The Advent Calendar

We had an advent calendar growing up. Each little square or pocket holds a special little treat each day. It's a cute countdown to Christmas day. This year, I made a ginormous advent calendar our of felt squares and ribbon so Balian could begin this special family tradition. I filled the pockets with things like socks, a bath toy, etc. We've enjoyed pulling out a new surprise each day.

Putting Up the Christmas Tree
We buy a freshly cut tree every year, and this year was no exception. We brought it home, strung the lights and decorated the tree while listening to Christmas music and sipping cocoa. Balian helped us decorate the bottom of the tree, and he's been leaving the tree alone, which I find pretty amazing! I love decorating the tree as a family!

Sending Out Christmas Cards

Okay, this is my tradition, alone. I like to have a Christmas-y snack and address all of the cards. I have a handy organizer that helps me keep track of who we've sent them to and received them from in years past. Love doing my cards- and I'll always send them out!


I am not a great baker, but I just can't help but get into the spirit of baking during the holidays. I have one or two things that I make really well, so I stick to those things! Traditionally, I make Russian Tea Cakes, white trash and spanakopita for Christmas Eve, but this year, I added German Spitzbuhm to my holiday baking repertoire! Balian has been enjoying eating my cookies!


I have a holiday tradition of shopping with my dad the week of Christmas. We just take a day and hit the stores together... usually consists of me helping him pick some things out for my mom, which is fun for me. This year was a little tricky, because we had Balian with us and dad has a fractured knee, but B was a trooper and so was dad. Missions accomplished! I seriously treasure that time with my dad, though... and hopefully, Balian will feel the same way when he is a little older!

Christmas Eve Dinner

Okay, so being as crazy involved as both mine and Sacha's families are at church, Christmas Eve is always an insane time! My dad and Sacha are both at church from like 4 pm to midnight on Christmas Eve. The rest of us are usually there from 8 pm to midnight or so. We all offer music for the Christmas Eve services at church. My dad is our organist and music director, so he pretty much lives at church all the time, anyway. Sacha is playing with an instrumental group this year for the early service, and all of the rest of us are singing and ringing handbells at the late service. Okay- I don't ring bells, but I am singing the last prelude solo before the service begins, proclaiming the Savior's birth... can't wait. Anyway, in between the two services, we make a mad dash to Sacha's grandparents' house for Christmas Eve dinner. Our families come together to laugh and eat and take lots of goofy pictures, and then we all madly dash back to church in a huge hurry! It's nuts, and insane, but we love it... it's like, okay- Christmas is really here!

Christmas Day

Christmas Day happens differently every year. This year, Sacha, Balian and I will spend the first part of Christmas morning at our house, just the three of us. This is really important to me. We have our family traditions, but I also want us to make our own family traditions- on our own. We'll read the Christmas story together from the bible, and open our gifts together. After that, we'll head back to Sacha's grandparents' house, where his extended family will be waiting for us, and we'll eat and open gifts. Sacha and Connor will build a Lego and the rest of us will keep eating and talking! Later, we'll head to my mom and dad's house, where we'll eat some more and open gifts with them! I love Christmas with my parents because we come up with insane to and from tags on our presents... that's the best part of Christmas Day... reading and laughing at those silly tags!

Christmas Vacation

Every year, my family packs up and heads to a North or South Carolina beach for a week of family vacation, the day after Christmas. This year, instead of heading east, we are heading west... to Oklahoma! Oy, vey! We're driving to Tulsa to visit my sister Britt (yes- the one who reviews stuff for this blog!) and her husband Cory. I'm not looking forward to the 16 hour drive, each way... but I cannot wait to see my sis- I miss her so much! I also can't wait for Balian and Cory to meet one another... that'll be cute and sweet. And... when our family is all together, crankiness and silliness will abound, for sure!

And the very best thing about Christmas for me is celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And for the first time, I can appreciate Christmas from Mary's point of view, because I am a mother. I cannot wait to be in our sanctuary with 5 or 600 of our closest friends, candles high in the air, singing 'Silent Night.'  

For unto us a child is born...

I love traditions. What are some of yours?


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