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fun family traditions!

Monday, December 5, 2022

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas here in Minnesota!! As we continue to embrace the wonders of this hectic and, oh so, magical season, our attention turns to holiday traditions… those lasting activities, celebrations and adventures that keep us connected to our families, binding us together in priceless ways!

A family tradition is defined as a pattern of behavior that reflects and reinforces a family’s values, attitudes, or beliefs. Family traditions are handed down from one generation to another and reflect common values and a shared history. Without family traditions, many of the stories, beliefs, and teachings of a family would easily be lost through the generations. Traditions create memories, have an enduring impact and strengthen family ties!

As new Grands, we recall so many of the family traditions we created when our own children were growing up. These memories bring such joy as we reminisce and we are eager to share many of these traditions with our Littles as they celebrate Christmas each year. However, it is now our Middles turn to establish their own family traditions with their children and it’s our role, as Grands, to adapt, support and encourage them in every way possible!

At the same time though, we look forward to creating a few new Grand & Little traditions of our own! In today’s post, we offer an idea to consider as we all build new holiday traditions with the Littles in our lives! Then Laurie will share a favorite long-time family tradition as she takes us on a trip down memory lane!

As much as we love reflecting on our memories of past Christmases, we are beyond excited to create quality experiences with our Littles! As an added bonus you’ll give your Middles the gift of time - to go Christmas shopping, wrap gifts, take care of last minute preparations or simply catch their breath!

Jammie Night (or Sleepover) at the Grands!

What a gift this would be for everyone involved! Your Middles get an evening to do their thing and you and your Littles get an evening together (or even a sleepover) of fun and memory making!

Depending on the age of your Littles, here are some activities and adventures you could include in your evening of fun!:

🎄 Have something ready for everyone (Grands & Littles, alike) to wear! Matching pajamas or T-shirts, reindeer antlers, Christmas light necklaces or boas are some possibilities to add a festive flare to your brand new tradition!

🎄 Make a special dinner to enjoy together! As your Littles get older, they can help with meal prep, too! Here are a couple tasty options for you! (You’ll find the links to each recipe under the photo collage.)

Reindeer Sloppy Joes from Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons

Christmas Tree Pizzas from Premeditated Leftovers

Christmas Buffet Sandwiches from Inspiration Edit Candy Cane Spaghetti from Kitchen Fun w/My 3 Sons

Christmas Quesadillas from Yoquiero Brands

🎄 Plan a Grand & Little Dance Party! Lights off! Flashlights or glow sticks recommended! Make a Christmas song playlist and get the dance moves on! Here’s a link to a playlist that Grands & Littles might both enjoy!

🎄 Get a Christmas Bubble Bath ready for your Littles! Whether your Littles are sleeping over or not, a bubble bath is definitely in order! Depending on the age of your Littles, you can turn off the lights and add some twinkling lights (or even burn a candle or two) on the bathroom counter. Adding some red, green and white bath paints (for younger Littles) or Christmas bath bombs (for older Littles) or some holiday rubber ducks would make this time extra special! Then it’s jammies time! 😍🥰😘

🎄 Time for a game or two! If our Littles were older, this is a simple, no prep activity that we would add to our evening of fun!. There’s something about playing games with hot chocolate when it’s dark outside & there are Christmas lights on the tree that makes it feel special to Grands and Littles alike!

🎄 Christmas movies and popcorn, please! Again, this would be an activity to include if you have older Littles (or you could show a short movie to your younger Littles). This would be a fun way to share a favorite Christmas movie with your Littles - you could share some memories from when you watched a particular movie with their parents. One of Gramma Laura’s favorites was Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol! Watching it each year has become a family tradition! NOTE: You may also want to plan a separate night with your Middles and your Littles for a Family Christmas Movie Marathon. Imagine everyone in pj’s - cuddling, eating popcorn and watching family favorites together! 😍🥰😘

🎄 Snuggle in for Christmas story time! Sharing favorite Christmas books together… This may be the moment of Jammie Night that these Grands look forward to the most! Do you know the story, Mr. Willoby’s Christmas Tree? It is a memorable one from Gramma Laura’s childhood! Can’t wait to share it with Little L!

🎄 Camp out under the Christmas tree! Imagine the memories your Littles will have of falling asleep under the twinkling lights of your Christmas tree! If Middles are picking up the Littles at the end of the night, they can scoop them up to take them home to their own beds. If your Littles are spending the night, the older ones can do so in sleeping bags under the tree while your young ones can fall asleep, snuggled in a blanket before being moved to their beds. Nighty nite!

🎄 Holly Jolly Breakfast time! If your Littles have spent the night, you may want to plan a special breakfast for the following morning. Your Middles could even join in the fun! This sounds like a wonderful way to bring your Jammie Night to a close OR it could stand alone as a new Grand & Little tradition! 😍🥰😘 (Tap here and here for decorating and menu ideas we’ve found!)

This annual Jammie Night with the Grands could easily become a cherished family tradition for everyone involved!! We can’t wait!!

Like many young families, my husband and I faced the frantic pace of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day visits with extended family when we were first married. When our two children were born, we kept it up. I know many new families establish boundaries so they have the time for their own immediate family (which I truly support). However, it also was important to me that my children have those memories of gathering with extended family, and honestly, I did not want to miss any of those get-togethers either! We spent Christmas Eve with my family and Christmas Day with my husband’s, but for the first couple years of my children’s lives, we never had much of a celebration for the four of us. One year when my children were about two and four, I asked them if they would like to open our presents on Christmas Eve morning. Everyone agreed so we gave it a try, and it is now a tradition that still sticks in our house today. Over the years, people have looked at us oddly when they hear about it, but it works for us. Here’s why:

1. I always made a cinnamon roll Christmas tree for Christmas Eve morning. As soon as my kids were old enough, they took this over. This gave my husband and I time to shower and get ready, and gave them a job to take care of.

2. We then had a good three hours to relax with each other – no rush – and open gifts, allowing us to really focus on each other.

3. After we cleaned up, I would have time to put the finishing touches on Christmas Eve and Day plans – making food, gathering items to be packed up, etc., while the kids actually got to play with their toys!

4. If anything was broken, not right, or we happened to be missing something for a gift, we still had time to run to the store and fix the problem! It was a bonus when the kids were old enough to drive themselves!

We still opened small stocking gifts from Santa on Christmas morning, but we could easily do that and still get ready for the rest of the day.

Here is the moral of my tradition – find what works for you! Make sure you have time for your family – immediate and extended if that is what you choose – to be together and enjoy each other. Find what brings you joy and go with it!

Holiday Blessings to you and your family! ❤️

We would love to hear from you if you have a favorite family tradition that you’d be willing to share! After all, we all learn from each other! We look forward to hearing your ideas - feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page!

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Next Monday we look forward to sharing our thoughts on Grand Gift Giving and then the following week, our Merry! Merry! post will highlight fun ways to enhance your holiday celebrations with family and friends! Then we’ll end the year with our Happy New Year post before getting into a regular routine in January, with posts that are short and sweet twice each week!

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is less than three weeks away! The days are bound to fly by, but we’re going to do all we can to soak in each precious moment.


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