Monday, December 11, 2006


I finally got the Advent calendar put together Friday night. Um, yes, I was 9 days late. We got the Playmobil one again this year, which the boys LOVE, but which takes a good 45 minutes to an hour to put together. It comes with 24 boxes that have to be assembled, then each of the pieces have to be found for each box, and some of those need assembly as well. When the boys woke up Saturday morning, though, and saw that it was ready to go - they were thrilled and it was all worth it! I just wish I had done it on time. I purchased it back in October, but just never had (or took) the time to put it together.

I also just got out the box of Christmas/Advent/winter books that we have. I put them away in mid-January, so it's a nice surprise when I pull them out at the beginning (or a week into) Advent. In years past, I've wrapped them and kept them in a basket - this year I just put them out in the basket. I try to pick up a couple new ones at the after-Christmas sales so there's always at least one new one to enjoy each year.

We have an Advent wreath that I leave on the table throughout Advent. I think I'm on my 3rd right now -- I still haven't found one that I *love*, but this one does the job. The boys like to blow out the candles, so I usually light them multiple times.

Another tradition I like to say we have are Christmas cookies. However, I haven't baked any in 2 (or is it 3?) years. Ouch. I am a good cook and a great baker . . . but I have lost my desire the last few years. I intend to make cookies this year -- I have a wonderful collection of cookie cutters, and everyone loves the Kris Kringle butter cookies my mom and grandmother have made for years. Another favorite cookie are the peanut butter kisses. Perhaps if I plan on just those 2, I can make it happen. The first year B and I were together, I baked 7 different kinds of cookies!

One tradition that won't be lost this year is the luminaria event at the Desert Botanical Gardens. We have attended every year since we moved here, and it is one of my favorite things to do around the holidays. The garden is filled with luminarias and we just wander through in the dark, listening to live music and munching snacks.

Another tradition of ours is decorating our front yard with lights and Christmas decorations. I feel lucky that our section of the street goes ALL out and every house surrounding us fills their yard as well. I love outdoor lights and last night on our way home from dinner we just drove through a bunch of neighborhoods looking at lights. Another of my favorite traditions.

We'll also go to Zoo Lights at the zoo this year, but we usually do that the last possible weekend, which is usually after New Year's. I need to check the schedule to find out the exact date so we don't miss it. We did miss it last year because C and my sister were both very sick last year after Christmas.

Another tradition is that we buy a personalized ornament each year for our tree, as well as ornaments for each boy. And, the boys get new pjs on Christmas Eve.

We go to mass on Christmas Eve. Growing up in the northeast, we always went to midnight mass, which happened at midnight. In the midwest, midnight mass usually happened at 10PM. The last few years we've attended the family mass, which is usually 6PM. We then come home, have a light dinner, open one present from extended family -- then it's bath, pjs, some final pictures, books, prayers and bed.

I am almost done with our long distance gift giving. I shipped so many things direct from the stores that I'm regretting the few things I purchased locally that I need to wrap, box and ship. But, once I get that done, I can focus on the boys and B. If all goes well, I can check that off the list by Wednesday.

What traditions do you have in your family? Post in the comments, or let me know if you make a similar post on your blog!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:26 PM

    Surviving! LOL

    I don't think that we've got any hard, fast traditions, Mel. We used to go to midnight Mass, but we decided we were too worn out to go most Christmas Eves. Last year I made cookies, about 5 different kinds and froze them, then put them in nice baskets from the dollar store and delivered them on Christmas Eve to our 9 neighbors...I'm trying to do the same this year. I've got two kinds of cookies made so far and any day now I'll be doing another...
    We've got the backpack thing for the homeless going new this year -- we're delivering four of them this Saturday morning in Toronto.
    We seem to alternate between a fake tree one year and a real tree the next, but that's not on purpose. Depends on energy level. We have a real one this year -- a beautiful Balsam fir. Really fat.
    Rob always likes to put up lights outside the house -- we have three santas, two snowmen, a soldier, an elf with presents, a candy cane and two tall candles and Joseph, and Mary holding baby Jesus. We have colored lights around the gutters and on the bushes too.
    We have turkey for dinner and a regular Thanksgiving sort of dinner usually.
    We don't open any gifts on Christmas Eve, all are opened on Christmas morning.
    We don't put Jesus in his manger until Christmas Eve or the star on the tree until then either...that's about it!

    Sorry it took me too long to respond. I'd read the post yesterday, but then didn't comment until today.

    God bless!


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