Friday, November 25, 2011

Shifting to Christmas

Thanksgiving always passes too quickly. I love the holiday and what it represents – time with family and moments to reflect on abundant blessings. But it seems that the minute Thanksgiving plates have been cleared, thoughts turn to finding the perfect holiday gifts for family, friends and loved ones.

As a Mom, I take great pride in finding special gifts for my family to place underneath the Christmas tree. My hope is to not only get some items on the wish list, but to weave in some thoughtful surprises as well. Black Friday marks a big day in the rush to go out and capitalize on the deals and finding the perfect gifts.

All this aside, Christmas is so much more than about gifts, and the other things are what become cherished memories. My family has many holiday traditions. Some of these traditions have evolved as the children have grown a little older.

After we got out of the toddler stage, I would buy a little gift each day for the kids during the two weeks leading up to Christmas. They were small tokens such as a coloring book from the dollar store, a yo-yo, or marbles to introduce a new game. As you can guess, these smaller tokens of affection grew less interesting with the kids as they got older. So as not to break the bank but yet uphold a tradition, I changed the game a little. I now write a daily note of appreciation on why I love them so much, along with a clue about a gift that they will receive at the end of each week.

Other traditions we enjoy are decorating and baking for friends and neighbors. Each weekend in December, we find a holiday treat (or two) to bake. The kids really love this time in the kitchen with the holiday music in the background and dogs at our feet just waiting to catch a morsel! My daughter and I are actually working on our own family cookbook. We try out recipes, and “the keepers” we write out twice – one for her recipe book and one for mine. We go to these cookbooks often. As a keepsake, she has drawn pictures on the recipe cards. For example, if it’s a Christmas recipe, she’ll draw stockings or a Christmas tree next to the recipe. I know my cookbook will become even more special as the years pass.

This year, I’m going to implement a new holiday tradition for our family. I’ve created a calendar of events for the Vanderburg Crew and posted it on the fridge. We do something similar to this during the summer months when the kids are out of school – Friday Night Pizza Night, Game Night, etc. In addition to these types of activities, we’ll be headed to the Dallas Zoo via DART and are planning to stay at the Gaylord Texan and will take in the Christmas lights and ice exhibit while we’re there. I figured we might as well package all of this excitement to make it more memorable and give the kids things to look forward to. I’m all about packaging – and adding spin to make things more fun!

What Christmas traditions do you have?

Michelle Vanderburg is a Sr. Marketing Specialist for Texas Health Resources and Mom of two busy kids.

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