Updated on January 21, 2016
Creating Holiday Memories
There’s something really special about the holidays once you have kids. There’s nothing like watching your child discover the magic of Christmas. In some ways, it takes me right back to my own childhood memories around Christmas, complete with a dad that dances to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” every Christmas morning (he still does this even now). But there is something totally different and incredibly special about seeing the lights of the Christmas tree twinkle in the eyes of your son (or daughter). This past weekend we decided to really get into the Christmas spirit. Here’s a little run down of the things we did, many of which are sure to become annual traditions.
We started our weekend with putting up the Christmas tree. I’m a die hard real tree fan. If at all possible, I want a real tree in my house for Christmas. Growing up, we never once had a fake tree for Christmas and that’s one of my family’s traditions that I’d like to continue with my own kids. There wasn’t a whole lot of fanfare surrounding the acquisition of the tree this year. In previous years, we’ve gone to a friend’s ranch and cut down our very own tree. This year, King Dad went out Saturday morning and came home with a tree. And you know what? That was just perfect. The Heir was thrilled when King Dad walked in the front door with a tree and he just couldn’t wait to get to the decorating. After unraveling the tree, we decided to let it settle for a day before we decorated it.
Once the tree was in its stand, it was time to hang the stockings on the fireplace mantle. For The Heir’s first Christmas, I ordered us custom embroidered stockings from a great little etsy shop. Of course now I needed one for Petit Prince too! Lucky for me, the shop is still running and still making the cutest stockings. The Heir loved seeing the stockings go up and quickly identified who each one was for and proudly shared his new found knowledge with King Dad.
That evening we decided to go to ZOOLights. ZOOLights is an event at the Calgary Zoo where the grounds are covered with Christmas lights and there are winter activities happening all evening. We’d never been to ZOOLights before, but with the “warm” weather forecast for that weekend we decided it would be fun to give it a go. It turns out we weren’t the only ones with the same idea, but despite the crowds it was still a lot of fun. The Heir loved the dinosaur lights and got to try maple taffy on snow for the very first time. Even Santa was at ZOOLights, so The Heir and Petit Prince had a chance to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas this year. We all had such a great time that we will definitely be making this an annual tradition!
Sunday was St. Nicholas Day, so we started the morning with special presents for the boys. On the eve of December 6th, you leave a shoe outside your door, and St. Nicholas leaves a present in the shoe for you to find in the morning. Of course, I woke up on December 6th and realized I’d completely forgotten to put the shoes out and drop the gifts. Oops. Luckily The Heir didn’t know it was St. Nicholas Day, so I quickly put out a shoe for him and one for Petit Prince and put their gifts on them. The Heir was already eating breakfast, so we asked him if he’d noticed anything outside his bedroom door and suggested he go look. Worked like a charm! The Heir was super excited to open up his gift to find a Lego Star Wars sticker book. Petit Prince got a fun dinosaur onesie. Smiles all around!
Next, it was time to decorate the tree. It turns out our tree is just a little bit bigger than what we’ve had in previous years. By a little, I mean a LOT. We were going to need more lights… I quickly whipped out to the store to grab a couple more strings of lights, and then we could decorate that tree. I don’t do a theme or specific colour when I decorate the tree. Instead I put up ornaments that have been given to King Dad and I since we were kids. My mom has given me an ornament every year since the year I was born, and when I was finally spending my Christmases with my own little family, I got to take that box of ornaments to my house. King Dad has a similar box of ornaments that he’d made or was given by his mom over the years too. I love this. This is a tradition that I’ve adopted too. Every year, I buy a special ornament for The Heir (and now for Petit Prince as well) and one day I will box them up and send them off with each of the boys when they have their own families. For The Heir’s and Petit Prince’s first Christmas, I ordered special custom birth announcement ornaments from Elephant Tales on etsy. The Heir loved putting ornaments on the tree, and made it very clear that he loved his Christmas tree. You could really see the excitement over Christmas and Santa building as he examined each ornament that went onto the tree.
Once the tree was done, King Dad headed out to put the lights up outside. And with that, we found ourselves right in the thick of the Christmas Spirit. The next thing is to get ready to host Christmas dinner at our house. This will be the second time I’ve done it and I’m really looking forward to it!
Are there any traditions from your childhood that you do now with your own kids? Have you started any new Christmas rituals?