Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A Christmas Tradition You Need to be Doing With Your Kids

I'm sure you've seen the seemingly endless Christmas traditions posted across the internet.  Things to do each year, make each year, gift each year.  There are so many awesome ideas out there- which ones to choose (because we can't do them all)?  Have no fear my friend, I'm here with a tradition that is both easy and useful and you can be as creative with it as you please.  The best part about it?  Your child gets to keep the tradition going as they grow and leave the nest *please excuse me while I go cry at the thought* 

I grew up in a household that cherished those "meaningful" ornaments.  You know, the ones from special events we attended, places we have been, passions we have or even ornaments that remind us of those we love the most (like my boxer dog ornament that reminds me of my late dog Buddy).  My husband is completely foreign to this idea and I'm in shock.  He came into our marriage with a Purdue University Santa, a miniature stocking with his name in glitter glue (from college) and... wait for it... a jock-strap ornament.  I kid you not.

That is why I beg you to start this tradition with your kids TODAY.  Don't waste any time, don't wait until next year and for the love of Christmas, don't buy a jock-strap ornament.

It's simple really.  Here's what you do:

STEP 1:. Think of something important that happened in your child's life that year.  If they are old enough to discuss, let them tell you what they cherish most!

Last year, my little guy took his first flight (actually his first several)!  He was a champ and actually won over about half the airplane with his adorable-ness.  He is such a social butterfly.  I had a little trouble finding a bare wood airplane (I wanted the older looking airplanes because I just think they are more cute) but eventually found this one at Hobby Lobby for under $2!

STEP 2: Design your ornament to fit the details of the occasion (or simply purchase if you aren't interested in getting creative).  I wanted this ornament to have as many details as possible so I first painted it to resemble scenes we might see in Colorado (where we went on his first flight).  The bottom half is the ground and the top half is the sky.

On each side I painted mountains and trees and clouds.  Disclaimer: I am NOT gifted at painting but I'm really proud of this.  I think I was channeling Bob Ross when painting my "happy little trees".  If you don't understand that reference, don't tell me or I might feel old.

Since the ornament is so small, basic designs work well.  No need for tiny details.  This is good news if you have zero art skills like myself.

Hello Colorado mountains!

The dusty little clouds are my favorite part!

STEP 3: Using vinyl and your cutting machine (or letter stickers or handwriting if you prefer) add the final details such as: date, location, type of event, etc.  I also covered the vinyl with Mod Podge to get a better seal so it doesn't peel off through the years!

In this particular shape (airplane) this was the hardest step to accomplish.  I don't know how many times I stuck that date on trying to get it centered and straight, especially with that slanted font!

STEP 4: Have your child place their ornament on the tree every year.  This is a great opportunity to remind them of what the ornament means, a funny story behind it, etc.  When your child grows up and moves away, let them take all these ornaments with them.  That way, they not only have a start on collecting their own ornaments but they have a little piece of home with them wherever they may go.

Don't worry, you'll still have plenty of ornaments from them throughout the years that you get to keep as well!

Looking for another easy tradition to do each year that incorporates this one?  Pack a "Christmas Eve Box" that your child can open on Christmas Eve.  There have been many variations of this online but here's what we include:

1. Pajamas (to wear that night!)
2. Slippers
3. Christmas-themed book
4. Their special ornament from that year

{This was my son's Christmas Eve box last year.  He was just over 1 year old}

What do you think?
Whether you create the ornament for them, involve them in the process, put it in a Christmas Eve box or not- this is a tradition you have to start immediately.  As a 27 year old with years of meaningful ornaments, I promise you that this will be an investment well worth your time. 

This year, I've collected sand from his first trip to the ocean and will be filling a clear ornament with it.  Then of course I will have to vinyl up the outside of the ornament with the details!  What would some of your kids' ornaments look like?

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