Here's to You, December! + Our Family Christmas Bucket List for 2017

Where did November go? And how is it almost 2018?! Is it just insane that a new year is just around the corner?

December is always such a fun month. I have so many fond memories of Christmases as a child! Here are a few of my favorite Christmas memories and traditions:

  • Every Christmas Eve, we'd go to my "adopted" grandma's house for a big ol' Christmas party! She always got us kids awesome gifts! But before opening the gifts, we would walk across the street to the nursing home and go Christmas caroling to the residents there. One year, we stopped at a resident's room and we found out that she and her late husband had authored and illustrated children's books. She let us have a book from her collection and I actually still have that book to this day!
  • One Christmas, our Pastor's daughter put together a Christmas cantata for all the teens and kids. It was so much fun singing with the other kids for our small little church! And someone recently posted that video on Facebook! It cracked me up! Especially as the time stamp was 2000! Almost everyone in that video is married now!
  • My parents always took us around town looking at all the Christmas lights. There was one house in particular that we enjoyed passing! This person decorated his house as though Santa and the elves threw up everywhere, haha! Each year, the guy kept adding more items... blow up reindeer on the roof, giant Santa's and elves in the yard with gingerbread houses galore! Think of the scene from Lampoon's Christmas Vacation where Clark lights up the house PLUS all the other things on steroids I mentioned. I remember my parents muttering to each other about how ridiculous it was and how high his electric bill must have been. Regardless, it was always fun seeing how he'd top the previous year.

Those are just a few Christmas memories out of the tons of other ones I have. Christmas has always been such a special time of year for my family. Now having my own family, Dan and I want to start our own traditions and create our own memories for our little family. I put together a small December bucket list and I am hoping we get the chance to do everything on our list. :-)

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1. Check out the Christmas Lights around town! Because, why not! 

2. Go to the Wonderland of Lights Show. So this is pretty cool! You tune your car radio to a certain station and drive through the lights show... the lights will blink and dance to the music. I think Elli will REALLY enjoy this!

3. Build and decorate a Gingerbread House. Y'all. I'm so excited about this! I loveeee decorating gingerbread houses! And Elli is now old enough to enjoy this little activity.

4. Decorate our Christmas tree. My husband pulled out the Christmas tree this weekend, but we didn't get a chance to decorate yet! Hoping to decorate this weekend... we'll probably either pop in an old Christmas movie or listen to some Christmas tunes while decorating.

5. Do a Christmas craft with Elli. I saw this cute Christmas tree card tutorial on Facebook and thought this would be a good one to do with Elli! Basically, you trace your child's hand on green cardstock and when you hold it upside down, it's the "tree." I'm thinking we could make a bunch of these to give to the grandparents and aunts and uncles for Christmas.

6. Get pajama photos of the girls by the tree. I don't know how well this will be executed, but I've always LOVED seeing family Christmas photos where the kids are in pajamas! (I'm so weird, I know!) But my parents bought Abby her first set of Christmas PJ's and these would be perfect! I also recently took a photography class and I want to practice my new skills. We'll see how this goes......... I'll do a follow up post after I do it!

7. Go through our stuff and donate. We have been abundantly blessed and we have a lot of stuff that we really don't need. There are a lot of families out there that don't have a lot and my heart hurts for them. We have a ton of gently used clothes that we could give away and we also have a ton of canned goods we bought earlier for the "hurricane" that we won't use up. We are planning to donate these items. I also want Elli to understand that Christmas isn't about getting stuff. It's about giving to others.

8. Read the Christmas story from the Jesus Storybook Bible. My kids are still a little young to sit and listen to a whole story, but I want to start this tradition with them as the grow older. Maybe next year we will do it with an Advent calendar, but this year, we'll start reading the Christmas story a week before Christmas. Elli still hasn't comprehended what Christmas is about (neither the present part, nor the part about Jesus coming to earth). All she knows is that there is a giant tree in our living room!

9. Make paper snowflakes and hang them up! We don't get snow in Florida, so we're bringing snow to us. Did anyone else make paper snowflakes as kids? I always thought they were so fun to make.

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This next one is really just for me...

10. Watch the When Calls the Heart Christmas Movie! Y'all know I'm obsessed with Hallmark and When Calls the Heart. I've talked about it a bajillion times about it. But I have waited FOREVER (it seems) for the new season of When Calls the Heart and I am UBER excited for the Christmas movie premiering Christmas evening! Honestly, family, if you're reading this, I don't need anything except two hours of silence to watch my movie. :-P 

This last one is more for me and Dan...

11. Go to Bellingrath Garden for the Magic Christmas in Lights Tour. Okay, y'all. This is kind of a big deal for me. When I was a teen, my youth group would go to Bellingrath to see the lights, but I could never go due to a school concert (I was in the orchestra) or a basketball game (I cheered). So, I NEVER got to go! When I was in college, my parents went one year with their Sunday School class and said I could tag along, but, I didn't want to go without Dan. Dan and I got married, and every year we would say we would go, but we never got around to it. When we started making plans for December, I told Dan, WE ARE GOING TO BELLINGRATH! He laughed and said, "You've been saying that for the last seventeen years." YUP. I need to go see this place that I've heard so much about. If we don't go this year, I'll probably lose my ever loving mind and just give up. ;-)

So there you have it! I'd add "Build a Snowman," but #floridaprobs. :-) I'll try to post some updates on my Instagram story as the month progresses!

What are some of the things your family does during this Christmas season? Let me know in the comments!