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Sunday, December 4, 2011

[Post] 2011 Virtual Advent Tour

Today is Day 4 of the Virtual Advent Tour, and that means it is my day to share a little bit about Christmas from my eyes with my readers.

Growing up my family didn't have a lot of money. My father was a truck driver and was on the road a lot of the time and my mother had to work what ever part time jobs she could to bring some extra money into the house. So needless to say our Christmas was rarely about the actual gifts we received. For us it was all about the small things we did every year that made us feel involved in the family traditions.

Christmas Tree
Every year we made some handmade decorations for the Christmas tree including the following:
  • popcorn garlands
  • paper ring garlands
  • baked and painted salt dough ornaments
  • crocheted ornaments
Also every year each one of us added a new ball to the tree that my mother wrote on that listed our name, year, and what number Christmas that was for us. I was only 2 months old when my mother made me my first Christmas ball. I still have it somewhere.

Also, my mother had these awesome bubble tree lights from when she was a child. Only one string had survived but we made sure it had a prominent spot at the front of the tree where we would see them easily every year. They were so cool because after you plugged them in they took a few minutes to get warmed up, but once they were, they just bubbled away happily until you unplugged them again before going to bed. I used to stare at them for hours (in between turned pages of my current read).

Other Traditions
Besides the tree traditions we had a few other traditions that made us happy. One was the chocolate advent calendars. No matter how bad a year we were having we each were given our annual Christmas chocolate advent calendar. The chocolate rarely made it through the whole 24 days, but it was a comfort just having the little doors to open every night before bed. Added to this we also did the 12 nights of Christmas marked with the lighting of one Christmas candle. We would sit there and stare as the little candle melted into a little pool of wax on a tinfoil covered side plate.

I think two of my favourite traditions were actually gift related. The first was the fact that my parents always allowed us to open on of our gifts on Christmas Eve (usually to keep us distracted until the following morning). We could open any gift of our choosing as long as it wasn't the "main" gift. I remember one year getting a picking basket (like the ones with apples etc in them ) filled with Barbies and Barbie clothing, and my brother got a similar basket filled with dinky cars, and we just messed around with those all night until we were exhausted. It was awesome.

The second favourite tradition was where no matter how old we were, we always got colouring books and crayons in our stocking. The stockings were always left in our rooms so we could open them and enjoy them until our parents managed to crawl out of bed Christmas morning. I always took the time to colour at least one page as neatly as possible after receiving them. Even after I moved out of the house my parents continued to make a stocking for me, and my mother ensured I always had my own colouring books and crayons...even after my son was born and started receiving his own.

What family traditions do you remember fondly from your childhood years?


  1. When we were kids we used to fight over Advent Calendars... Nowadays I just use this to count down the days. :)

  2. I love all your family traditions! Those salted dough ornaments are beautiful - I have some from a school project and they certainly don't look like these. It's special that you remember all the important things from the holiday - the traditions and not the gifts!

    We also got crayons and coloring books every year.

  3. Thanks for sharing your traditions!

  4. I think it was a brillant idea to get a coloring book and crayons in your stocking on Christmas morning! Your parents were wise to start that tradition! Keep you a bit occupied while they got to enjoy a little more sleep!

    Sounds like you had wonderful Christmases as a child! The best gifts are always the time spent with family enjoying getting ready for Christmas or spending the day together! Seems like your parents did a great job of celebrating even on limited incomes that they had and I'm sure there was so much love in your house at Christmas time!


  5. That's really sweet! What great traditions you had.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing your family traditions, and for participating in the tour!

  7. Thanks for sharing these traditions with us! I really like the colouring book and crayons idea.

  8. I always loved getting colouring books and crayons at Christmas! It was a tradition for a long time. Hmmm, sort of thinking I might hint at this to my husband now. ;)

  9. I love the coloring book! My daughter still loves to color - even at 19. Wish I had thought of that 19 years ago :). Many of the best Christmas traditions and memories are not high dollar items. Thanks for sharing your family Christmas.

  10. I agree it is the small things that really make Christmas special. kaye—the road goes ever ever on

  11. Ok......As usual, you have made me Bubble or should I say Blubber over with love and pride that you did notice those small things I tried to make special. I hope you carry on some of these. I love you always and forever! You are a spectacular person and daughter!!! <3

  12. Ok......As usual, you have made me Bubble or should I say Blubber over with love and pride that you did notice those small things I tried to make special. I hope you carry on some of these. I love you always and forever! You are a spectacular person and daughter!!! <3