By Paula St. Amour, Belleville, Michigan
(From the Christian Womanhood December 2016 Issue)

Christmas for our family of seven is completely different every year, yet it is still the sameThis year will be our fourteenth Christmas since we were married, but our twelfth different treeWe have two themes that we have repeated, but other than those two, we have done something different every year.

In our house, Christmas shopping starts on the first day of January, and we are done shopping by Valentine’s DayWe shop overstocked items on clearance and save ourselves quite a bit of money! Every year on Thanksgiving, we decide on our theme for the following Christmas so that way we can keep an eye out for our new Christmas ornaments and decoration items throughout the yearSome years we have to make all the decorations; other years we can buy decorations already done, but most of the time we do a mixture of the two. Some years we have tons of decorations all around the house and other years only the tree is decorated; it basically depends on the theme we pick and what we find throughout the year.

After we finish dinner on Thanksgiving Day, we pull out our artificial tree and our decorations, and we get the house ready for the holiday seasonBy time we go to sleep on Thanksgiving night, our house is ready for Christmas. Even all of the gifts are put under the tree, wrapped in paper or gift bags that match the theme as well. The following list contains the themes that we have done:

2003: Burgundy and gold poinsettias

2004: Blue and silver (My husband is a Detroit Lions fan, but we lived in Indiana, and Lions products were not easily found.)

2005: Country Christmas

2006: Pink (I found purple lights on clearance after Halloween 2005 for $0.10 a strand, and when I plugged them in, they looked pink, so that’s what we went with.We also had our first daughter in January 2006, so the theme worked perfectly.)

2007: University of Michigan

2008: Star Wars

2009: Snowmen

2010: University of Michigan

2011: Starbucks

2012: Star Wars

2013: Lights on the wall. (I was sick this year, so Craig cut a poster board into the shape of a Christmas tree and taped it to the wall. The kids made paper ornaments and fake gifts and taped them to the tree. It was great!

2014: Minion

2015: Mario Brothers

And for 2016 we will be doing a “Super Hero” tree!

Our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day traditions are something that we love! Every year on Christmas Eve, we make pizza for dinner, and then we bake Christmas cookies. After the cookies are done baking, the kids all get to open one gift.Inside this gift is a new pair of PJs, a snack (popcorn, trail mix, fruit snacks, etc.), and a new video. The children put on their new PJs, pop some popcorn, and then we pack up a few plates of Christmas cookies and load into the van.

We drive around to look at the Christmas lights while listening to our favorite Christmas songs. We will also pick out our favorite houses and then go sing a few Christmas carols for the residents and present them with a plate of cookies. When we get home, we start a video marathon of the new videos we purchased. The children have never made it to the second video. Once they go to sleep, a board game is placed under the tree, and breakfast is prepared and put into the crockpot and turned on low.

On Christmas morning when the children get up, they can help themselves to breakfast, the new videos, and the new board game that is under the tree.

Once Craig and I are up, we read the Christmas story together and then open stockings. After stockings are opened, one hour later, the children can open one gift each. We open one gift every hour until the gifts are done. This schedule allows the children to open the gift, thank the person whom it is from, assemble it, play with it, read it, put it away, make something, etc. This tradition makes the fun last all day long instead of just a few crazy minutes at the beginning of the day.

Start making fun holiday traditions in your family this Christmas!