I love traditions. All the fun Christmasy things we do year after year, some dating all the way back to when I was little. It makes me so happy inside that my kids are now old enough to remember things we do year to year, and that they can get excited about them too.
I feel like sometimes the Internet gets in the way of traditions these days......do you know what I mean? We are constantly being bombarded with all the "best" "new" "fantastic" "MUST! DO! THIS!!" ideas. As mothers, we may feel like we simply must try ALL of these new fantastic ideas.....and maybe get caught up in the Internet's Christmas.
But I guarantee if you think back to your own childhood you have things that you did over and over each year....right? You probably used the same Christmas decorations and tree ornaments each year. Ate the same treats.You mother wasn't constantly checking her Pinterest boards to see what the next, new, of-the-moment activity would be. She relied on traditions. Now I love to try new things, but for the most part, we try to stick to our favorites year to year, throwing a new thing in to the mix every now and then.
One of my favorite traditions from growing up was our family Christmas date. We'd go to dinner and then to a store, and split up to buy gifts for each other. I'd get to pick out something for each member of my family. The best part was sneaking around the store and trying not to run in to my sibling who I was shopping for......we had to be sneaky!
Robby and I started doing this when we were first married. There is something so fun about shopping for the person while they are IN the same building as you. Over the weekend we jumped in the car and turned the Christmas music all the way up. We drove through the gently falling snow to begin our Christmas date.
We devoured our food at Bombay House, talking about Christmas as our bellies filled with spicy coconutty goodness. We headed to REI to start our secret shopping. Robby and I each took a Little and we ducked behind coat racks and dodged each other until we'd found the perfect gift. Then we swapped Littles and did it all again. We stopped for cupcakes and came home with happy hearts.
Another tradition we like to do every year is to make all kinds of Christmas treats. I love my kids in the kitchen helping out --I want them to remember these things when they are all grown up (please don't let that happen too soon.)
Peppermint Bark is so easy for little hands to help stir and spread, and boy do they love to crush the candy canes.
We came home from church on Sunday, threw on our jammies, and got to work on our peppermint treat.
12 oz white chocolate
18 oz dark chocolate
1 cup crushed candy canes (8-10 candy canes)
Here's a little help if you are interested--how to melt chocolate here
-Melt 12oz of the dark chocolate and spread it onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.
-Put it in the freezer until it sets up hard, about 15-20 minutes.
-Crush candy canes by putting them in a plastic bag and letting your kids whack them to pieces with a rolling pin (they will love you forever for letting them do this)
-Melt white chocolate and mix in crushed candy canes. Spread over dark chocolate and return to freezer until white chocolate sets up.
-Melt remaining 6 oz dark chocolate and drizzle over dark and white layers.
-Return to freezer until it sets up.
And just like that you have peppermint bark!
Some more traditions we look forward to are:
-heading downtown to see the lights
-making a gingerbread house
-this year we are trying something new and being "secret santas" for a family....we talked about our plan on our dinner date and are very excited
-acting out the nativity on Christmas Eve (in our new Christmas pajamas!)
What are some of your favorite Christmas Traditions?