We have a couple of traditions in our house-- starting with Advent Calendars. While we were up visiting my parents in Missouri, I made sure to stop in at the local chocolate shop and buy a couple of Advent calendars for the boys....which I didn't remember until December 5th. (lol) The boys didn't mind getting to eat 5 pieces of chocolate to get started, but it gave my 4 year old the wrong impression-- because the next morning, he decimated 10 more chocolates...from his -brother's- calendar. Just means they had to switch calendars and he has the remaining days before he can have any more, and he was on chocolate time out for a couple of days (;
Then, we celebrate St. Nichalous night. It's a tradition, like the Advent Calendars, that my family picked up when I was a child living in Germany. Every December 6th, Santa checks his list, so we set our shoes by the front door, along with cookies and milk for Santa and a plate for his reindeer. This year, we left them apples, celery and carrots. This year, because of the small chocolate advent fiasco, Santa couldn't fill my boys shoes with the traditional chocolate-- so he made due with little puzzles, pencils and writing pads (: After my boys got their goodies in the morning, we headed out to wait for the bus, and they helped me decorate the palm tree. Last year, I used regular Christmas balls-- and when they fell off, they shattered...and when it rained, they all turned clear, silver or white (; So this year, we used Shatter proof, plastic colored ones, and it's working beautifully-- even through two storms so far!
We also got to celebrate our Shire Yule. Our local SCA shire has been doing it for 3 years now, and we greatly enjoy it. Everyone gets together the first Saturday in December with holiday potluck (My honey made delicious deep fried turkey!), gift baskets that anyone is welcome to contribute to, a Shire Tourney to determine the Shire Champion, and a yearly shire game. It started with Nine Mans Morris. Last year's was Five Field Kono. And this year's was Fox and Geese. All really cool medieval games that the shire folk can take with them to events and play if they get bored.
I realized the night before Yule that I didn't have Christmas cards to share, so I spent about 15 minutes and created a family portrait for this year's cards and printed them out, with the following saying on the inside:
The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. ~
Today, I'm going to get the cards mailed out to our family and friends, as well as the few Christmas gifts (read Shutterfly.com calendars) out to all the Grandmothers, and then I'm going to get the Christmas tree assembled so that we can decorate it tomorrow.
The boys are really excited about getting to help decorate it, and this year, we're going to try out some of the new LED Christmas lights (: If it works out well, we'll be waiting for the day after Christmas sale to try to pick up more for half off.