That is partially because I grew up in Papua New Guinea, and she grew up in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Now, we don’t do things exactly like either of our families. We’ve mixed and matched Christmas traditions and come up with our own. Christmas at the Ford house tends to be a fairly frugal event.
Today, I’ll share some of our favorite traditions, and I’ll be anxious to hear if you have any traditions you’d like to suggest.
When my wife and I first got married, we discovered that we had different families of origin (gasp!). Growing up, we had different Christmas traditions.
7 Creative Christmas Traditions
1. Every family member participates in giving, receiving, and serving over the Christmas break.
Giving: We take our kids to town, and each of them pick out a gift for their siblings and mom and dad. It’s fun watching the kids search for the perfect gift. (It’s fun for the first 20 minutes, and then daddy says, “OK, it’s time to hurry up and pick something.”) Our kids buy the gifts with their own money (more on that later).
Receiving: Of course, like many families, our kids each get gifts at Christmas.
Serving: Each Christmas, we plan a service project as a family. For the last few years, we’ve joined our church as we go to the hospital for caroling and handing out small gifts to the patients. From there, we invite everyone back to our home for a Christmas movie and snacks.
2. When our kids turn three, they get a piggy bank and a job at Christmas.
Talk about lame parents, eh?
We give the kids three jars. They are labeled giving, saving, and spending.
At the end of the work week (jobs right now are feeding the dogs and turning on the security lights), each working family member gets seven coins. They put two coins in each jar. They determine where to put the 7th coin.
They use the money in their ‘spend’ jar to help buy their Christmas presents.
3. Homemade Christmas Gifts
Living in PNG, we were forced to start giving homemade gifts since there was such little selection in the stores here.
We’ve loved it.
I share some of the ideas and gifts we’ve done in the post on homemade Christmas presents. (By the way, this is by far one of my most popular posts, and this time of year, it is viewed by over 4,000 people each day!)
4. Carols and Christmas Songs after evening devotions
Every night before bed, we do family devotions. Starting in December, we start singing Christmas carols together after we pray. We’ll turn the house lights off and only have Christmas lights on.
I wonder about the long term impact of this. Are our kids going to have difficulty separating the secular and spiritual elements of Christmas?
5. Camping Out Christmas Eve
On Christmas Eve, we build a fort in the living room. (Think sheet over the dinning room table). The kids sleep in the living room on Christmas Eve.
6. The Legend of the Christmas Wolf
Last year, I made up a Christmas legend about a wolf that goes into houses in December to eat all the sweets. As long as everything is in plastic containers, the Christmas wolf can’t eat them.
Once a week or so, we go on a Christmas wolf hunt trying to ensure that there aren’t any signs of the Christmas wolf being in our home.
7. Christmas Countdown Chart
My wife made a pocket chart out of paper with 31 pockets for the month of December. She put a small piece of paper with a colored star on it in each pocket. Every day, one of the kids gets to take out the star. When they find the only yellow star, they’ll know it’s Christmas Day.
What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?