Friday, December 12, 2014

A Harte Family Christmas

I thought, given the season, I'd share some Harte family traditions and fun.

We typically get a real tree each year. Then I put the hooks on the kids' ornaments and they hang them. I love looking at hand prints from kindergarten, old pictures and fun crafts they've made through the years.

I get gingerbread kits for the kids to put together. And trust me, they aren't that easy. Granted, I should have baked the gingerbread myself, but Betty Crocker doesn't live with us, and I'm super busy. Besides that, my boys would eat them before they'd ever become houses. Sadly, we lost a house due to poor frosting practices, but these three survived.

And of course we have a Nativity set. I love these Jim Shore figurines I got a few years ago.

What really matters, to the kids at least (geesh), is the Advent calendar. It costs an arm and a leg, but Lego remains their favorite. When I was growing up, my family used to get a secret advent friend (with only four in our family, it was pretty obvious who was who). Then for the season, you had to do something nice for your secret friend each day. A nice note, a toy, a kind gesture. Fast forward to the present day. We still work on kind gestures, but the Legos make every morning super exciting. I did mention I have boys, right?

And finally, on Christmas Eve we attend Mass. Afterward, the kids are quivering bundles of energy, and it's all I can do to get them into bed for the night--right after we set out a plate of cookies and a glass of milk for Santa and sprinkle some "magic oats" for the reindeer outside. Then I spend an hour or two wrapping presents. The next morning (at an ungodly hour), I am woken by eager beavers dying to open presents. We give thanks for all that we have, then they get to tearing through paper and boxes.

That's when I realize I have to take down all the decorations in a few more days and figure out what I want to focus on for the new year. Clean slate, I say. Every year. *grin* Bring on 2015!

No matter what holiday you celebrate, what are some of your traditions?

Happy holidays!

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  1. Marie...great traditions! We forego Mass at midnight because no one can stay awake and instead attend Christmas morning after the carnage of opening gifts. I like to make my kids stop, get dressed and go give thanks before all the feasting and more gift giving continues. Decorating Christmas cookies is big on my kids' list of traditions. Eating them is even bigger. And I allow them to open one gift on Christmas Eve (pjs). Creates all kinds of excitement even though they know what they're getting. I love your Jim Shore Nativity; I collect his Santas...they're so fun. Thanks for sharing and have a very merry Christmas!

    1. I should have been more specific. We don't do midnight mass anymore either. It's just too late. We do an evening mass, then I watch with glee as my kids stare longingly at the few wrapped presents under the tree. I put most of them out on Christmas day. Yeah, I admit, I don't trust my boys not to try to figure out their gifts. LOL We haven't done cookies much. Maybe we'll try that out this year. Haven't seen the Jim Shore Santas. Have to check into that too. :) Merry Christmas!

  2. That looks lovely! This year I found an event where you pay and get a pre-made gingerbread house. Then they had all the candy, cookies, crackers, etc. to decorate it with. I brought a tray to take it home. That's perfect for those of us who not only don't have time to cook but don't know what to get to decorate gingerbread houses!

    1. Oh, great idea, Shana. I like that much better. The set I got at Michael's looked terrific on the box, but putting those stale pieces together with that frosting wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. They kept sliding apart, even after a lot of goopy icing. The kids enjoyed it though. :) Merry Christmas and happy holidays!