Every family has their holiday traditions. Maybe there are certain special gifts we can look forward to each year, or special way to celebrate our holiday. Growing up my mom always let us open one gift on Christmas Eve. It was usually a pair of pajamas to wear to bed that night. My husband knew he could count on a sweater from his aunt. He affectionately named her, “aunt sweater” because every year without fail she had a new sweater for him. How practical we become as parents!

Now that I am a parent I look forward to providing little traditions for my own kids. I hope it gives them something to take forward as they celebrate Christmas as adults. Maybe they’ll even pass these traditions down to their own kids. I try to mix in the warmth of the season, their personal interests and a little fun. Pajamas are practical, but opening a gift before Santa arrives is fun!

Here are 4 of our favorite gift giving traditions:

Book-A-Night Advent Count Down

Book a night Advent count down.

My kids really love this one! It’s basically a whole month of presents before the actual presents arrive. Each night before bed they get to open one book. We read the stories while eating Christmas cookies and sipping milk. Some nights they can’t wait to take their book to their room to look it over alone. In their rooms. In silence. I think I love this gifting tradition a little more than they do. I pick up gently used books all year from garage sales and the local libraries for a total of 46 books. The girls get a book a night from Dec. 1st-23rd. On Christmas Eve. they get to open a bigger gift of pajamas.

A Cookie for Me, A Cookie for You!

Cookies and cinnamon applesauce ornaments are great for Firefighters, Police Officers, Mail carriers and anyone who likes cookies.

We make and frost (poorly as pictured above) several dozen cookies to deliver to our local Fire Fighters and Police Officers. Not only is it a great way to show our gratitude, but this tradition also introduces our kids to important community members. They begin to understand who the helpers are and to not be afraid of the men and women in these uniforms.

Share the Craft Love with Friends

Fun little crafty cards for neighborhood friends.

My little family is really fortunate to live next door to some of the most wonderful people on earth! We like to share some fun homemade crafts with them. I traced each kids foot to make penguins and added colored paper for the belly, the beak and some googly eyes. We made them into cards and delivered personally. We made the trees  by gluing Popsicle sticks, fruit loops cereal and a pretzel to green paper. These are really easy crafts for the age 2-3 crowd.

Making Ornaments

Hand print snow man ornaments are great for the grand parents!

This is one of my favorite ornament gifts. Here is a quick tutorial from Youtube:

If you are giving these away to the grandparents or family you can even attach this little poem:

These aren’t just five snowmen
As anyone can see.
I made them with my hand
Which is a part of me.
Now each year when you trim the tree
You’ll look back and recall
Christmas of 2014
When my hand was just this small!

Each year we buy a new ornament for our kids to put on the tree. The point is to one day hand them a set of ornaments for their own tree in their home. We also make one hand print keepsake ornament. This way we’ll have a set of ornaments ornaments for our own tree when the kids take theirs.