xmas in july :: traditions

One of our family traditions at Christmas time is to count down the last 12 days with books. As the gifts start to pile up around the tree, our girls have a real hard time keeping their hands off! So they love this little tradition because it gives them a chance to dig in. We wrap twelve Christmas books and put them in a big gift bag. Each night before bed, they get to take turns picking a "gift" from the bag and unwrapping it. We read the book as a family and it really builds anticipation for the big day.

As parents we love the tradition because it gives us a chance to spend time with the girls and it is free! Well, I guess the books cost something in the beginning, but I'm sure most of you already have Christmas books on hand. Once you have them, it's free every year there after.

Every year, we specifically set aside 'Twas the Night Before Christmas to read on Christmas eve. Nothing like talking about Santa hours before he's going to visit our house! We read the book and then set out his decorated sugar cookies, which we make and frost earlier in the day. The girls go to bed with images of "sugar plumes dancing in their heads".

While we are on the subject of Santa, I'll share a couple more traditions we do. These fun traditions really add to the magic of Santa. We put out "reindeer food" in our yard to make sure Rudolph and the rest of the gang stop at our house. We give our daughters a ziplock bag of oatmeal and glitter mixed together. I make little tags that say:
Sprinkle on the lawn at night,
The moon will make it sparkle bright.
As Santa's reindeer fly and roam,
This will guide them to your home!

You can find several examples on the web; just search "reindeer food". You can make extra to give as gifts. Kids just LOVE recieving them! Now remember, you have to sweep it up so the kids don't see it and really think the reindeer ate it.

Another fun trick... We all know Santa and his sleigh land on our roofs right!? Well, how about laying an extra shingle out in the yard. Then in the morning, "stumble" upon it with your kids. Say something like "Oh no, the reindeer knocked off one of the shingles from the roof!"

To really bring the Santa magic up a notch, stick a tuft of white fur onto your fireplace bricks. Say "Poor Santa, he ripped his clothes on our fireplace while he was coming down the chimney. I'm sure Mrs. Claus will sew it back together."

And lastly, don't forget to eat the cookies the kids left out for Santa. That's never a problem in our house. I've usually got that "taken care of" before the kids are actually even asleep!!! Come on, no judging. They have frosting on them - what did you expect me to do? Leave them there for a hour!? Impossible for a frosting addict!

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