Friday, 9 December 2011

Holiday Traditions

The holiday season is approaching us again and I wanted to share a few traditions Matt and I have started with each other.

Exchanging of ornaments

We started this tradition the year we moved in together. Anytime before December we purchase a Christmas ornament, wrap them up and exchange them when we put up our Christmas tree (the first weekend of December). Here are photos of our ornament exchange from our past 4 years together:

We hope to keep this tradition going when we have children;  to get them each an ornament which they can open on the day when we put up our Christmas tree. Our hope is that one day we will only be hanging the ornaments from our exchange and hope it's something our children will look forward to each year!

Forgoing Christmas Gifts

Matt and I made the decision this year to not do a gift exchange for each other. Instead, we will purchase one or two mutual gifts for ourselves that will benefit the house and help us with our renos and decorating. This is something we plan on doing every year from now on. We decided to do a stocking for each other to open up Christmas morning together, but the rest of the money we'd typically spend on each other will go towards the house and other family members. We've realized we don't need gifts to celebrate the meaning of Christmas. It's enough just being with friends and family around the holiday's and be thankful for having a wonderful life together!


Last year we started the tradition of giving back to others by helping our community or children or families in need around the holiday's by participating in local charities. Last year we did Samaritan's Purse where you fill a shoe box filled with toys and school supplies for children around the world in need. It was SO MUCH FUN! We loved going around to different stores and picking out things for the shoe boxes for the kids and dropping them off at the collection centres.

Our goal is to pick a charity each year that helps children or families in need. We want to continue this with our own children to teach them the meaning of giving back. We want them to know that Christmas is not just about receiving gifts - it's about spending time with those you love and giving back to others.

This year we did something a little different. During 2011, we have been raising money for the Children's Heart Network which was inspired by my little cousin Kaylie. At just 8 months old was diagnosed with a heart defect called Pulmonary Atresia.  She has had numerous surgeries since and in spite of her condition, she is a very happy, spirited little girl.

We had a charity yard sale this summer which all proceeds went to the network. We received lots of donations from friends, family and even neighbours for our yard sale. It was nice to see the community come together and give back to something so close to our hearts.

Advent Calendar

Another thing Matt and I decided to make tradition starting this year is make an advent calendar! Except instead of little treats or toys, we made up activities to do together. I don't want to spoil what our advent activities will be, but I will try to update weekly with what we do! :)

We took some festive scrapbook paper, cut them into circles and wrote our advent activity on the back. We decided to hang them off our Eiffel Tower which sits in in our living room!

So those are some of our most important tradiations that we have started and are carrying out through the holiday's!

What are some of your holiday traditions?

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