This time of year has me thinking about traditions.
As a classroom teacher I loved traditions. In fact, one tradition I always did with my students was having "Ellie the Elf" leave a book each day beginning Dec. 1st. Each day we would come into the classroom to find a new book (usually a holiday related book) left by Ellie. We had a big stocking that each child took turns pulling the book from and then I would read the book for our special read aloud. The kids would leave notes for Ellie and Ellie would leave notes for them. Ellie really helped us improve as readers and writers, not to mention add joy and fun to our classroom.
When I became a mom, Ellie began visiting our home as well. -) For ten years now, a book has been brought each day for my children leading up until Christmas. They look forward to Ellie coming. Sometimes it was a brand new one, sometimes a library book Ellie had checked out for them, and other times a used book Ellie had found at a used bookstore- but always a book and a special surprise. It also meant a special moment where I got to read to my children these special gifts. This tradition lives on today and my children are already talking not just about Santa coming, but Ellie the Elf coming and wondering what books she will bring.
As a family we of course also have our favorite Christmas movies, Christmas letter tradition, Christmas cookie making time, giving to others, pajamas for Christmas Eve, and the going out into the woods to get our Christmas tree and then of course the decorating party where we hang the angel. Many of these traditions were not possible living abroad, so I think I am even more excited for this year when we get to do them all again. The joy of the season is real and we can choose to get stressed, busy, and overwhelmed, or be mindful, present, and remember the little things like traditions are what mean the most to our children. I wonder when Ellie and Santa will no longer be longed for... but until that time comes I am going to treasure this season, these beautiful moments with my children and I hope you do, too. Childhood is fleeting and honestly, to be around children during this time of year makes my heart full. It is in their questions, their little excitement, their ideas for giving not getting, that really brings this season to life.
My holiday wish for you is that you truly treasure the traditions and this time with your little ones.
What are your family traditions? Share them on the comment space below!