Thanks everybody who posted comments on their own family traditions, and those of you who emailed me privately as well. I think I've got this "tradition" thing comfortably analyzed and confidently ready to implement. YEAH!
So...tomorrow is Dec. 1. Poor girl keeps saying "I dunno when Christmas will get here?"
Since she has no idea when Christmas will actually get here - I came up with the following idea:
Today, Kenzie and I will make a paper chain. I'll list a single activity on each chain-link. Each day when Doug gets home from work, and as an incentive to finish and expedite eating dinner:
she'll pull off a link, and watch the chain get smaller... We'll do the silly activity on the link we remove each day. I'll take pictures, of course. Hopefully, this will build excitement and understanding for our 2.5 year old - about WHEN the holiday will -actually- arrive.
I'm calling it an advent chain - as advent means:
• arrival that has been awaited (especially of something momentous)
• the season including the four Sundays preceding Christmas
Activities (one a day & in no particular order, except the last few):
Take annual photo of family reflected in Christmas ball (I'm envisioning this for our Christmas cards, but we'll see...)
Paint everyone’s toenails Christmas colors
Have hot chocolate with candy cane stirs
Star gazing at night (with hot chocolate, blankets, and heavy clothes)
Plant paper-white bulbs in handmade christmas vase.
Have a picnic under the Christmas tree
Write letters to Santa
Play Daddy's drums to some Christmas music
Wrap a toy and take it to a charity christmas tree
Dance like crazy to Christmas music
Watch a Christmas movie with popcorn
Take a drive to see Christmas lights
Make a snowman out of paper (or snow)
Learn how to say Merry Christmas in sign language
Hang paper snowflakes from the staircase bannister garland.
Make peanut butter pinecones to feed birds.
Paint Kenzie's face like Rudolph.
Make a Santa Claus.
Color Christmas pictures for the grandparents & cousins.
Pick & wrap present for our pets.
Make an Elf out of paper.
Make art from our Christmas cards
Make Christmas Candy or cookies.
Read a Christmas story, open one gift, and leave out milk and cookies for Santa. (Christmas Eve).
I think this will be fun for her. And then...I think this is how the real deal is going to go down:
We'll open one gift on Christmas Eve, the rest to be opened on Christmas morning after Santa has visited. She'll get a stuffed stocking and a big ticket item from Santa (in addition to some small stuff, because I've already purchased a plethora of gifts. I am however, one of those parents, who doesn't wish to make the event overwhelming and overstimulating. So, we haven't gone too overboard on the gift purchasing).
After opening presents, we'll make a special Christmas breakfast of Moon Eggs (a recipe from a friend). After breakfast - we'll head to Nana & Poppy's for their shenanigans. We'll have an early Christmas on the 16th with my side of the family to get things kickstarted...and escalate the wrestling match over leaving the current gifts under the Christmas tree.
And, as I was typing this - I glanced over to see the first flurries fluttering to the ground. It's officially snowing. The gal's asleep so we'll head out to play in it once she awakes. This however, was her in the freezing rain (a.k.a. sleet) that was plummeting us last night... The snow is becoming more significant, quickly.
Ah, sweet, sweet, Kansas. We're not in California anymore Toto....