Inside: Create family memories and a Christmas tradition by choosing special ornaments for your kids to celebrate their year.
This was a big year for my family.
We moved cross country, we got a dog, my son started playing sports, my eldest couldn’t put down the Harry Potter series, and my youngest daughter has continued her dominance on the soccer field.
And I love to commemorate these big moments every December as we reflect on our family’s last 12 months.
And we love to celebrate our year and our accomplishments with a very simple tradition.
Every fall, we start talking about your year with our Gratitude Pumpkin that we create every November.
And then we continue our gratitude into December as we celebrate our year in review.
And we ask ourselves:
- What did we accomplish and get good at this year?
- What new skills did we learn?
- Where did we explore and visit and see and do?
- What big changes happened in our lives?
- What small changes occurred slowly over time that now is our new normal?
One way we celebrate our year is with one of my favorite family Christmas traditions that I’ve continued on from my childhood.
Why are family traditions important?
I don’t know about you, but I love traditions.
They connect me and my children to the past. And to past generations.
Traditions connect us to our family. Traditions ground us.
And when my kids are older and grown and moving out, these traditions will continue to connect them to us, their first family.
Because traditions build strong family connections, strengthen family relationships and create meaningful, lasting memories.
And family traditions give us something to look forward to each year… breakfast in bed on our birthdays, Back to School Fairies coming on the first day of school, and making Christmas crafts the morning after Thanksgiving in our pajamas.
One of my most cherished family traditions in December is how we celebrate our year with ornaments.
A Favorite Christmas Tradition:
Every year, I take the time to think about our year and I pick out one special ornament for each of my kids to commemorate their year.
I wrap their ornament and we give it to them the day we trim our Christmas tree. It’s the first ornaments on our tree each year.
Then as we decorate our Christmas tree as a family, we unwrap ornaments from years past and reminisce. We talk about my kids’ ornament collections and why we chose each one for them.
And when my kids are grown and setting up a home of their own, they’ll trim their Christmas tree with 20+ ornaments that tie them back to their childhood, back to our family and back to me.
Where to Purchase Ornaments:
I tend to purchase ornaments from one of these four online stores.
Personalized Ornaments for You (My favorite Scouting ornaments!)
Etsy for personalized ornaments
Ebay for older, more obscure, or more specific ornaments
Or, I find them at small little ornament stands in malls and at craft fairs.
How I Choose Each Christmas Ornament for this Christmas Tradition:
When I’m deciding on an ornament for each of my kids I think back over their year and try to pick the one ornament that sums up their year or what they accomplished.
And I ask myself these questions:
- What were they in love with/obsessed with? Think cartoon characters, favorite toys, Disney characters, etc.
- What new skill did they learn? Reading, riding their bikes, learning how to swim, etc.
- What hobbies/afterschool activities did they partake in? Did they participate in dance, scouts, sports, play, music, etc.
- What family vacations did we take? Did we go on a cruise, Disney trip, first airplane ride, etc.
Every year, my kids LOVE seeing what ornament I’ve picked out for them. And then they proudly hang it on the tree next to their older ornaments.
This year, shhhh, my eldest is getting a Harry Potter ornament because she has read and reread all the books this year and was Hermione for Halloween.
My son is getting a sports ornament because this year he played baseball, soccer and basketball and could not pick a favorite if he had to.
And my youngest is getting this soccer ornament because it’s her favorite sport she just can’t stop playing. With her elbows out at full speed.
And with these cute little ornaments covering my tree, our Christmas tree isn’t stunningly gorgeous or color coordinated with glass ornaments or sophisticated.
But every year my Christmas tree is filled with memories. Our memories.
And I absolutely love seeing our memories displayed amidst the twinkly lights.
So I predict I’ll have a hard time handing these sweet ornaments over to my children when they put up a Christmas tree of their own…
Maybe I should start buying duplicates of every ornament so I can gift the ornaments to my kids and keep a few of the memories for myself.
An empty tree and an empty nest would be too much to bear at once I think.
Thank goodness I have many more years of filling the tree until I have to empty it.