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<p>Looking for ideas since I can't think of my own traditions... (mods, please move if this is wrong place, Holiday Helpers didn't fit)</p>
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<p>1)  This is the first year we have a Christmas Tree and don't have a topper yet. So I'm wondering what you have as a topper?</p>
<p>     I feel like I want something meaningful, not just a star bought at Walmart.</p>
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<p>2) Since I'm going all out this year and kids are 4 & 5yo, I'd like to have a family tradition, but can't think of anything meaningful. Ideas, what are your traditions?</p>
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<p>Thanks!</p>
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<p>1.  We have a generic star topper we bought at K-Mart, but I love it b/c it looks exactly like the one we had at parents when I was little.</p>
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<p>2.  This year we went to the Christmas parade, had cookies and cocoa while we decorated the tree and we're going to drive around and look at Christmas lights while having cookies and cocoa.</p>
 

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<p>Why not make your own topper?  That would a wonderful addition and so meaningful year after year.</p>
 

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<p>We have a snowman topper that's wearing Packers gear.</p>
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<p>We decorate gingerbread houses (or will if I ever get the darned things put together), make Christmas sugar cookies, have a holiday open house for the neighbors, drive around and look at the lights and this is the second year we'll be heading to the mountains for a few days before Christmas to sled and play in the snow.</p>
 

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<p>We just have a generic star that we bought at Canadian Tire. I like it. We also have a Swarovski crystal star that my MIL gave us, which we use, as well - it's hard to describe.</p>
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<p>Traditions?</p>
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<p>We have a special Christmas morning breakfast (a skillet dish, with ham, onion, green pepper, hash browns & corn, covered in melted aged white cheddar, with scrambled eggs).</p>
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<p>We open PJs on Christmas Eve (new last year, and stolen from these forums).</p>
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<p>We do an activity advent calendar, which includes several crafts, baking, Christmas movie nights, getting the tree, driving around to look at lights, etc.</p>
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<p>We always sing Christmas songs in the van on the way back from buying our tree.</p>
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<p>We make pinecone bird feeders and then go for a nature walk to hang them. We usually make them the day before the Solstice and then hang them on the Solstice. I may do it all on the Solstice this year, though.</p>
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<p>hmm...not sure what else I'd call family traditions...we all get a stocking, and the kids are given a time when they can wake us up, and we'll all come downstairs and open them.</p>
 

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<p>I made a topper for our tree out of a special ornament and some ribbon. I attach it with some wire. Maybe you could use some nature items you collect or artificial flowers and make a topper.</p>
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<p>A few years ago dd and I made cinnamon dough ornaments. When we get them out each year dd says "it smells like Christmas now!"</p>
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<p>On Christmas Eve for the last few years we have been decorating cookies. Last year I ran out of energy to bake another batch of cookies so we decorated plain store bought gingersnaps which was fine.</p>
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<p>Dd no longer believes in Santa so we each play Santa and fill someone else's stocking. This year I get to fill dh's , dd gets mine and dh gets dd's stocking.</p>
 

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<p>we don't really celebrate christmas per se, but here is what we do related to the holidays:</p>
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<p>our decorations are all recyclable or natural so that they can go into compose. a christmas tree, btw, qualifies in this. :) i just hate storing stuff. :D when we were in PA, we would go for a hike in some woods near our house and pick up pine cones, evergreens of various sorts, stick, branches with berries and such. i then go home, and use jars (from the recycle bin) or my usual vases that i own (and use all year round). or bind them into wreaths or sprays or garlands, and just decorate as much as i would like. I would also fold ornaments (origami) out of various paper that i had around (old wrapping paper, home made paper, newspaper, paper bags, etc). then i use whatever string i have to hang them in our bouquets or wreaths or what have you. :)</p>
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<p>at the end of the season, jars and paper are recycled, all of the greens are put out into compost or just out in the woods again. </p>
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<p>because it is summer here, we went and picked flowers (<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pohutukawa" target="_blank">pohutukawa</a>) and brought them home and put them into amber jars, and then artfully put driftwood and shells around it. i use the driftwood and shells all year round in different artful ways. so, not really stored.</p>
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<p>since we are travelling this christmas (literally a road trip), i'm taking a paper-star chain and some candles, and will cut flowers once we are where we are, and put them in a jar that i find in the recycle bin. decorate our table, be able to put it away when we are finished (since we'll be at a hostel). </p>
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<p>as far as traditions go, the prep and clean up are a big part of it. my son, now two, loves to go out and pick flowers and carry them home, trim them up and help decorate. of course, we man the sharps, but he does help and really enjoys it. :) he also helped me create wrapping paper for the gifts, by coloring on some brown paper that we have. and he helped me wrap the presents. he also gets excited going to the post office to post them. </p>
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<p>since we live so far from family, we are considering doing a vacation during the christmas holidays, as this would allow us to not worry so much about our business (business really slows down), and instead take a nice, relaxing holiday in the summer. we are excited by the prospect.</p>
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<p>so, that's us. :) for now anyway.</p>
 

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<p>For our topper we just have a generic star we bought at Target.</p>
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<p>Our traditions include:</p>
<p>Getting pjs/christmas movie/book from the "elves" christmas eve night, and drinking hot cocoa.</p>
<p>Letting the kids open their stockings as early as they want on xmas morning (as long as the sun is up)</p>
<p>and having a good breakfast in the morning.</p>
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<p>We also listen to christmas music a lot, and dance around. We bake a ton of cookies to give away, and spend lots of time looking at lights.</p>
 

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<p>On Christmas Eve morning, we go out for breakfast.  On Christmas Eve evening, we go to a church service.  My kids really look forward to both of these traditions.</p>
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<p>1. We have no topper this year - didn't last year either (noone complained except mil.  this year all our decorations are packed due to clearing out the house for sale so we're just making new paper decorations, we may or may not end up with a topper).  Eventually I'd love to make one, I do have some interesting vintage toppers that MIL used to use and one my mom once made, I'd love to make my own sometime though.</p>
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<p>2.  our 'traditions include:</p>
<p>the making of certain cookies every year (and usually some new, fantastic other dessert)</p>
<p>decorating some kind of cookie (often my sister makes gingerbread cookies & we decorate together when she comes)</p>
<p>watching favorite holiday movies (elf, love actually, and favorite dr who xmas specials) a lot, probably weekly</p>
<p>having an extravagant breakfast xmas morning</p>
<p>mostly having my sisters and parents visiting at the same time (since they're all from out of town now)</p>
<p>we get santa pictures done, at the same place (usually the same 'santa' which is pretty cool)</p>
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<p>we also get some kind of small gift that dd hands out to everyone (this year it'll be boxes of instant pudding and little bags of almonds) with her santa hat after all other gifts are finished</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>HollyBearsMom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1284950/2-christmas-tradition-questions-mods-move-if-not-right-place#post_16109623"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Why not make your own topper?  That would a wonderful addition and so meaningful year after year.</p>
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I thought about that, but, again, no ideas.... ;) I am crafty, but I just can't think of something that reflects our family/town/lifestyle.</p>
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<p>Maybe I'm putting too much pressure on myself! But I feel like I need to have something meaningful since this is our first real tree.</p>
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<p>For traditions, I did find this one idea, that I do like - found it in Real Simple magazine - to trace the kid's hands onto the tree skirt and do it every year.</p>
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<p>Thanks for your responses, keep them coming!!</p>
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<p>Our topper has changed from year to year. We started with a wire star I made out of a coat hanger. *lol* When the kids were toddlers, they made creations (for lack of a better word) to put on top of the tree. Last year I found a Santa tree topper at Goodwill for $1 and he's perfect. He's an older style Santa, very nature-based in design, and we all love him, so he's our keeper.</p>
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<p>Yule is our primary holiday, so that's where most of our family traditions have evolved. We've kept Christmas as a cultural tradition and spend most of the day visiting family. For Yule, we keep an advent calendar and count down. It's a square from a felted wool sweater with a spiral needle felted onto it, and 21 stars. Each night we light a tealight candle and move it to the next star. When we reach the center, we'll light a tealight on every star and leave them burning until the kids go to bed. In the morning, we meet a bunch of friends at a park with some great overlook views while it's still dark and play musical instruments and yell and make a lot of noise to welcome back the sun, and then we have breakfast together and go sledding if there's snow.</p>
 
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