Saturday, December 06, 2008

favorite thing friday

This is my favorite time of the year.

I love the Christmas holiday.

I love sharing in Goodwill.

I love decorating the house.

I love listening to and singing carols.

I love traditions.

This year, for the first time ever, the children really understand what is going on and they have been taking turns each day, placing a toy from our Advent Calendar over a date, indicating one less day remains before the great Holiday.

Adding a twist to the Advent Calendar countdown, is a relatively new tradition that our family has adopted. For the past few years, I have been picking up Christmas-themed books whenever I have seen them. Our collection of 25 books ranges from The Nutcracker and Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree to Tonight You Are My Baby and Room for a Little One.

(Unfortunately, I cannot remember all of the books that we have in our collection and because I didn't write down the titles before I wrapped them, if anyone is interested, I'll post our full list after Christmas. I suspect that each year I may opt to add or remove stories from the lineup, as the children grow older and the books grow wearier. Or, we find new stories that we might enjoy.)

Each night, after we count down one more day to Christmas on our Advent Calendar, I will read one story from our Advent Storybook, before one of the children is allowed to open a Christmas-themed book that I have wrapped up and placed in a large basket.

Once the Christmas holiday has passed, I will take all of these special seasonal books out of circulation and put them away until next year, when they will again be wrapped up in festive papers and decorated with bows. But for right now, I am loving this new tradition and the children are loving the significant increase to their library. Almost as much as they are loving the ritual that one person gets to open a present ... every night.


And while the children are ecstatic over all their new books, I am ecstatic that when Charlie went shopping the other day, he brought me home a present.

(Actually TWO presents).

This really is the most magical time of year.

What holiday traditions do you have that are a favorite in your family?


  1. This year will be my 23rd Christmas. Every year on Christmas Eve my family and I will sit around the Christmas tree and read The Night Before Christmas. We even did this one year flying from the US to Sydney. It will be a tradition that I will carry on even when I have children of my own.
    Also cherries and mince pies for breakfast on Christmas morning. And shortbread. All for breakfast. Yumm Yumm.

  2. Now that mine are teenagers, I actually use their old Christmas books as part of my decorating. I stand them up on the book shelf with little Christmas figurines around them.

    Did you buy "The Mouse Before Christmas"? The pictures in it are absolutely gorgeous. I still flip through it every year.

    Your new tradition is a great idea.

  3. Every year the day before Christmas Eve, my family bundles up and drive around my hometown, looking at Christmas lights. Then, because we're crazy, we stop and have ice cream when it's 40 degrees out. I love it.

  4. I am just starting the read a Christmas book every evening, advent countdown too! Although, I didn't wrap my books, since the boys are only 8 months old. In fact, I checked half of my books out at the library and am not going to buy any until after the holidays on clearance...
    Another holiday tradition - The Christmas lights parade! Everyone all bundled up and drinking hot cocoa and watching the parade - love it!
    The photo of your trips all grinning at the camera - AWESOME! :)

  5. I like your new tradition. And the "Advent Storybook" look really cute. Thanks for the tip.

  6. Oooh. I love the book idea!!!! I'm totally going to steal that when I have kids. It's so much fun making the books seem new and exciting each season because they get to open up extra presents. Very cool!

    I bet I could do something similar in a classroom... hmmm, the wheels are turnin'...

  7. I thought of you the other day because TJ's has gone an done something awful! They have covered the Candy Cane Joe Joes in dark chocolate!! How am I supposed to resist them now? When I went to buy my orange cranberry relish for Thanksgiving I was able to look at the display of CCJJs and say, "Hmm. Nope, I'm going to resist". When I read about them being covered in dark chocolate I was forced to go to the closest Trader Joes and wound up buying 5 things of cookies(2 boxes of regular Candy Cane Joe Joes, 2 boxes of the dark chocolate ones, and one tub of the plain old Joe Joes covered in dark chocolate).

    Trader Joes is evil, just plain evil I tell you!!!

  8. I love that you are doing the books wrapped up. That is really cute! We do the Advent Chocolate calenders from Trader's. Everyone loves chocolate!

  9. Last year was my first time every walking into a Trader Joes and I found those cookies and OMG... How can anyone not love those!!!
    My step kids ate the entire three hours (i'm sure my husband had something to do with it too!) I only got two...
    So I had to go back and get more!!

  10. We didn't have any traditions growing up, but I am adding this to the list of TO DO's when we have kids.

    Your looking really good too BTW! LOL

    Since we don't have a Trader Joe's, I've had to settle for some Candy Cane Oreos! Yumm!

  11. Leaving here in beautiful Northern Ca our favorite tradition is crab on Christmas Eve.

  12. I just happened upon your blog. I do love your idea for reading Christmas books, but I thought I'd leave a suggestion. If you are going to be wrapping and unwrapping 25 books every year, it might be a good idea to make fabric sacks for them, rather than throwing away all that paper.

  13. Oh, I envy your ability to wrap so well. I know at this young age it doesn't matter to the children, but I find myself paralized from doing these kinds of great traditions since I'm a wrapping perfectionist... who can't wrap!

    My favorite tradition? Wow, I would say decorating the Christmas tree while Christmas music is playing as we remember where we got each ornament from.

    P.S. I added you to my blogger list. I hope you don't mind.

  14. We always open new PJ's every year on Christmas Eve, to wear to bed and to have on for pictures in the morning.
    We haven't started the Advent Calendar yet, as the boys are only 2 - but I have the old one my mom made when my brother and I were children, wrapped and ready to go for next year.
    I start reading Christmas books every night, as soon as Thanksgiving is over (I also do this throughout the year, depending on Holidays and Seasons) - but I LOVE the idea of wrapping them all up!
    BTW - I have to echo the sentiments of a previous commenter... you HAVE to try the Dark Chocolate covered pepermint Joe Joe's! They even have crushed candy canes sprinkled on top... as a fan of the regular vanilla Joe Joes, these might turn me to the 'dark side'- delicious!

  15. Love your book idea! I ordered the Advent Storybook from your link (along w/ the matching advent calendar and a couple of other books!). We'll play catch-up as soon as it arrives.
    I also pack away all holiday books and bring them out about 3 weeks before the various holidays. Next year I'll be wrapping my Christmas books in fabric sacks (thanks previous commentor!) and using your idea of opening one each night~ I might purposely leave The Night Before Christmas out of the basket until the last night!

    Any way I could BEG you to mail me some Joe-Joe's?!? I've never stepped foot in a TJ's and there aren't any around! I feel so left out!

  16. Hi! Me again~
    I just found this site and thought of you. Check it out!:

  17. That should be:


  18. Seriously great time of year!! BTW I thought about you as I'm reading this great book. It's called Good Discipline Good Kids. I love it. Please don't underestimate it. You'll not feel guilty in disciplining your kids (teaching) vs punishing them. Check it out and let us know what you think.