Monday, December 13, 2010

Tis the Season.

Who doesn't love traditions? Christmas is like the world's most amazing tradition in and of itself. What would life be without Christmas?!, I ask you!! I feel so. sorry. for my Chinese piano student. For reals. We've had many conversations that continually revert to my stupefied display of Western ignorance as I ask (just one more time), "You have never heard Jingle Bells? I know that you don't believe in Jesus Christ - but Santa??? REALLY?! How Communist!!" (No pun intended.)

I'm sure she feels similarly towards me when she tries to explain the Chinese New Year celebrations. She details her own tradition of gathering with the family to make homemade veggie dumplings for the festivities, in which the conversation again reverts to another obvious display of Western arrogance as I raise my eyebrows and think "Sugar cookies are way. better."

Anyways, back to traditions. I love hearing about them, I love instituting them, I love looking forward to them....I simply love. love. love them. For a change-hater like myself, it is consistency in an inconsistent world.

Here at the Haack house we're busy establishing our own little traditions, while still enjoying the larger traditions of the bigger family we're so lucky to be a part of. This year, here are a few favorite ideas that make our season brighter, feel free to pass along:

1. Family Cocoa Night(s).
Add Christmas colored marshmallows, and your kids just might like you more than Santa.

2. Listen to Christmas music constantly. Tyler especially loves this (right hunnie? No?).

3. Wrap gifts while watching Christmas movies. Give the kiddies their own paper and let them practice wrapping any little trinkets you have on hand.

4. Christmas countdown chain.

This is a good one to keep Christmas focused on what really matters (Presents! ....No! Wrong!....Christ and service to others...duh! Invite your Chinese friends!). We had a Family Home Evening and wrote down 25 ideas for family and service activities. The girls are pretty much obsessed, and LOVE picking one link every night before bed to see what the next day's activity will be.
They range from simple to more involved:

- Deliver cookies to a random neighbor
- Family Bowling night (in our hallway, with cans)
-Color a picture for Nonna and Pop
-Buy a present for a needy child from a local angel tree
-Help unload the dishwasher
-Watch the Nativity Christmas video

Etc, etc, etc

5. Read the Nutcracker while listening to the Nutcracker while holding your very own Nutcracker (thanks to Nonna getting each of the girls their own little nutcracker ornament).

6. Go for a 'Christmas light' drive around your local neighborhoods. Have the family vote on the BEST house and drop a treat and a note off at the doorstep of the winner: thanking them for spreading the cheer for your family and congratulating them on winning the world's most important contest ever.

7. Read The Night Before Christmas before tucking your little sugarplums into bed on Christmas Eve. We love Mary Engelbreit's version the best.

8. Enjoy a cup of cocoa with your hubby on Christmas Eve right before you get all nestled snug in your bed (no "family" cocoa night this time). Look over your quiet Christmas home and count your blessings.

Then make out.
(where do you think the song "I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus" came from?)

Happy Tradition making!


Mrs. Officer Andelin said...

We always make ginger snaps on the first snow of the season.

I love the idea of giving an award to the best light display. We usually just drive around, but this makes it even better!


jenniferoharra said...

Hey Rachel! I love reading about your Christmas traditions and seeing all of your pictures! I am also a big Christmas freak, listening to Christmas music non-stop and watching Christmas movies every night. Luckily Shaun loves it too but even he can't handle me sometimes. I can't wait to have kids so that I can be even more obsessed. Amy will tell you that I'm the biggest dork ever. Have a very Merry Christmas!