Countdown to Christmas

 “How does/did your family countdown to Christmas? Did/do you have any special family traditions?” This question is something that I would ask but I don’t recall what I was thinking about when I asked it. In fact, when I think of how we countdown to Christmas nothing special comes to mind. My family has a lot of traditions when it comes to the Christmas season. I suppose that they are all in a way counting down to Christmas Day.

It all starts with a letter to Santa. Even Jessica, who is now 22 will sit down and write a letter. These letters get placed under the tree the night that it is decorated. The next morning, in its place are gifts from the Elf. The tradition of the Elf goes back to BEFORE my childhood. It comes from my father’s side of the family. There is an Elf that sits on the tree (you know the Elf on the Shelf? It looks nearly identical to that), this Elf holds his legs close to his body but if at any time his legs have fallen then that means that someone did something they shouldn’t have and he had to run to the Northpole to tell Santa. If he told Santa then you wouldn’t be getting any gifts from him on Christmas. (This NEVER happened but everyone was always extra careful to not jump or run in the room with the Christmas tree so we wouldn’t make the elf drop his legs). On the night that the tree went up the Elf would bring a small gift for all the kids in the house. This gift is like a little preview of Christmas. When I was little the gifts from the Elf were often small things like those little wooden airplanes that you can fling with a rubberband or a Christmas coloring book with crayons. When my siblings and I got a little older our gift turned into tins filled with candy. My kids usually get a tin with candy or a book to read.

We also have the decorating day gift. Each year on decorating day my kids get one new decoration. We started this tradition just a few years ago. They’ve gotten musical snowglobes, statues, and ornaments for the tree. We even got new snowman mugs and a gnome cookie jar. They look forward to these gifts every year now. I look online for after Christmas sales to get something for the following year. As soon as it arrives I will wrap it and put it up until the following November when we decorate. It can be a lot of fun this way because I will often forget what exactly it was I bought.

Each week leading up to Christmas , after Halloween we’ll have special movie nights. This week we’re having A Charlie Brown Christmas night. We’ll watch all the Charlie Brown Christmas specials. Next week we’re planning to do Polar Express night. We’ll wear our pajamas, make hot chocolate, and they will each get a little pin to wear that says “Believe”. Their favorite movie night is Grinch Night. We play games, watch the movies, read the book, and have a Who feast.

We don’t do advent calendars or anything like that to countdown to Christmas but we do have a LOT of fun leading up to Christmas. What fun traditions do you have during the Christmas season?


About Angela Schroeder

Angela Schroeder is a single mother of three. She was born and raised in Iowa in a river town known for its pearl buttons. Having four siblings, she never lacked for someone to play with. As she grew older, she found herself pulled into books and writing more and more. Her parents are her heroes, her siblings her confidants and tormentors, and her children are a wonderful blessing. Church is important to her children and her. They enjoy the friendships they’ve made with the people there. Writing has always been a passion. Her first experience was in fifth grade when she went to a one-day writing conference. After that she knew it was something she wanted to pursue.
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6 Responses to Countdown to Christmas

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    I think the elf tradition in your family — which predates any of the elf / shelf business I’ve seen so much of recently — is pretty cool. But, frankly, I don’t “get” all the hoopla about the new / contemporary Elf business. Some aspects of it seem almost sinister to me… but maybe I’m looking more at the satirical memes than what is presumably the actual intent / practice.
    I’m confused.
    I guess we’ll learn more about my own Christmas traditions on Hound day, assuming my brain cells can re-gather some of those memories.


  2. Elaine Cantrell says:

    I don’t like the elf on the shelf either. Too creepy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Those sound very much like the preparations of my childhood, Angie.
    Your family was ahead of its time with the Elf!

    Liked by 1 person

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