Pocket Scrapbooking with Project Life

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christmas traditions with becky


Throughout this month of December, each of us on the team will be taking a turn in sharing something near & dear to our heart as we reflect on the magical season that is Christmas. You’ll learn of some of our favorite traditions and hopefully feel inspired as you continue to carry on your own traditions. Our hope is that you’ll feel an ever-increasing desire to cultivate that life that you want.

I’ll kick things off by sharing a few of our Christmas traditions. Today my family enjoys several traditions that are so special to us. Some are carried from my own childhood and some from David’s … and some are completely new to all of us! Traditions are wonderful! They help each of us to feel grounded in what is most important, more connected to those we love, and they serve as reminders that life is good. Most of us enjoy several traditions, especially during holidays. What I feel impressed to share is this:

Share your traditions!

Whether you are doing something that has carried on through a few generations or you’ve just started something new when your babies were babies… SHARE the origins! Share with your family what you know! Share why you do certain things during the holidays and what these traditions mean to you and your family.

My kids know that our numbered presents go back to their Grandma Allgaier (my mom) and that we didn’t start that tradition ourselves, but that we absolutely love it and I’m completely delighted to carry on the tradition. See those little square papers in my hands? Those are my mom’s original lists from who-knows-how-many-years-ago. It works like this: Christmas presents are labeled, but you won’t see anyone’s name on the wrapped boxes. Nope. You’ll see a number! A randomly assigned number … so that no one knows who is getting what! My mom keeps track of the numbers and her handwritten list, which she keeps very, very tight in her hand on Christmas morning. To kick things off, someone chooses a gift and announces the number.

Jonathan: Nineteen!

Mom: Let’s see here… number 19 is… Steven!

Then Steven opens his gift, we all ooh and aah and then it’s Steven’s turn to pick the next present. And it goes on & on until all gifts are unwrapped.

Another tradition from my childhood that has made its way into some of our more recent Christmases (but not every year): Homemade gifts! In my hands, you’ll see a picture of little Becky all snuggled up in my Grandma Johnson’s lap. I’m wearing a Christmas nightgown that she made me. My mom made us all sweatshirts one year (we won’t talk about that – ha!). I made my husband an extra-long fleece blanket one year. My dad made each of us kids a wooden snowman crate and I still put that out each Christmas. One year for our family gift exchange, the entire theme was homemade, so we each had to make whatever we gave, no matter who was receiving it. Definitely our most creative and meaningful gift-giving year ever.

Another tradition that comes to mind is that every time a gift was unwrapped, that trash (wrapping paper, box, etc.) would get tossed behind the couch. My brother, David, was oftentimes the “keeper of the pile,” making a scene every time he slam-dunked the trash. Can you picture kids playing in a pile of fallen leaves in the front yard? That was us in the trash pile.

And then there’s service. Acts of kindness are so very important to us to implement during the Christmas season as we reflect on the example of our Savior. There were a few years in my childhood where our family went to the local nursing home to sing Christmas songs, pass out bananas, and visit with the folks. Just about every Christmas, David and I “adopt” a family in our community, learn about their wishes and needs, go shopping with our kids to hand-pick some items, and anonymously drop off Christmas presents at their front door. As my kids know it — doorbell ditch! It’s one of our favorite things to do as a family. Since before we even had babies, David and I have collected a Christmas book every year and for a while, we were really good about writing that year’s Christmas memories on the inside cover.

Okay, so I have to stop somewhere. As you can tell, just writing about a few of our traditions has a snowball effect because I remember more and more. Let it be our goal to share, share, share as much as we can with our families, so they feel even more connected to traditions than ever before.


11 Responses

  1. Robin C says:

    I love the numbered gift idea!!
    I love unique ornaments and I buy or make them for me and my children every year, something special about that year, babies first, a sport they played, a vacation we took, etc. My youngest is a firefighter so lots of fire trucks, boots and helmets. When they got their own trees they had a head start on special memories. It’s also been fun over the years when someone else spots something that makes them think of us and they give us an unexpected gift (really two the thought and the ornament). Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!

  2. Phyllis R says:

    My mom, sister and I all live a few hours away from one another. Three years ago I started our 1st annual Christmas Slumber Party so that my boys and niece could make memories together with Granny (my mom). It has turned into the thing we look most forward to each year! We cram as much Christmas fun into one night and morning/early afternoon as possible. We wear our pajamas and silly hats or headbands, drink shirley temples, make ornaments (my tree is overflowing with precious handmade ornaments!), bake and decorate Christmas cookies, make Christmas crunch popcorn (popcorn with melted white chocolate, pretzels and red and green m&ms) to snack on while the kids watch Polar Express and have a little photo booth session. Last year fell on Saint Nicks day so they were able to make their wish lists together and leave them in their shoes on the porch after speinkling reindeer food on the lawn. The next morning they were so excited to find sweet treats in their shoes. Thisbyear we are going to make canbas paintings and include our dear sweet cousin to join us.

    The giggles and sillyness and photos are priceless.

    Ive been editing photos to make a 6×8 project life album to keep adding to our slumber party memories each year. :-)

  3. Nicole Norman says:

    I LOVE the numbered gift idea! And the idea of buying a new Christmas book every year and writing that year’s memories inside the cover. My husband and I have been married for 8 years but this is just our second year with a bitty girl and I’m ready to start incorporating traditions like this! Pinning to remember!!

    • Disney says:

      BION I’m imsepesrd! Cool post!

    • Merci beaucoup !Pour répondre à vos remarque et question, je suis réellement restée deux jours à San Francisco. Je tourne, fais le montage, écris le commentaire et le lis.Je suis très contente que cette vidéo vous plaise.

    • Nice post! Thanks for the tips and sharing Ogilvy’s research in an internet-marketing-sort-of-way.I feel like I need to disagree with your point on breaking the left margin. While the points you make are certainly valid, lots of A/B testing on several sites suggest that buttons/ads/CTAs/etc placed on the left margin are exponentially better for conversions. While it may disrupt a reader’s flow, it can be very good in the right situations.Anyway, it all comes down to testing; it might work for an individual’s situation, and it might not. They’ve got to test it to be sure. :)

    • Dear QCI really like this story. Its light, fluffy and breezy. I loved the way the two characters Just Dance in the end. Its so sweet.The perfect read for a cold winter night. I think this is one of your best stories thus far. Do keep on it.

  4. Nicole says:

    I love hearing about others traditions. It is a great resource and point of inspiration. We got some great ideas a few years back when becky and others shared on her blog which have now become some of our family’s new favourite traditions. Our kids love having their bedroom doors covered in wrapping paper on Christmas Eve and bursting through on Christmas morning . I like this one too because it keeps them in their rooms until 6am. We also have our Christmas story books wrapped up and the kids get to choose one to unwrap to read before bed each night. We also have the 12 lunch boxes of Christmas where the kids get a little Christmas themed treat to enjoy at school. We also have a Christmas joke of the day advent calendar which the kids really look forward to. We also participate in you’ ve been elfed (door bell ditch) at school (with the kids teachers help and permission) and in our neighbourhood. We have lots of other things but I thought I’d share a few because others sharing their traditions has had a big impact on getting extra enjoyment out of the Christmas season.

  5. Angie W. says:

    A few of our favorite traditions include the baking of my grandmother’s Czechoslovakian Christmas bread, Houska. I’ve even mailed it to my dad and great uncle so they have a taste of the family holiday favorite. The other traditional thing I do is create special ornaments for my niece and nephews. For their first Christmas I made them a decorative box to store them in and every year they get a new one. The idea being that when they leave home they will have 18-20 ornaments of their own to take with them. One of my other favorite tradition is to have seafood of some sort on Christmas Eve, a nod to my Italian roots. It’s usually a big pot of creamy clam chowder served in bread rolls, but we’ve done Cioppino, oysters, halibut, King Crab, etc depending on where we’ve lived and what is considered “local.” I’d love to see this thread posted on FB and IG to see all the different traditions that people have. Who knows? Maybe we’ll find a new tradition to begin. :-)

  6. Sean E. says:

    Our Christmas stockings have a large felt Christmas tree on them. Each year whenever we travel or have a significant milestone, we find a pin (you know, like Disney pin trading kinds of pins) or buttons or something similar which we then add as “ornaments” to our felt tree. Over the course of the year we can accumulate several pins, and over the course of several years, your Christmas stocking becomes a visual reminder of all the cool things you’ve done and places you’ve traveled. I can’t take credit for this tradition, as my wife’s family did it all through their growing up, but when we got married, we started fresh with a new stocking and a bare tree. This year I added a KU Jayhawks pin for when I visited Kansas City and took in a volleyball game and a Harry Potter chocolate frog pin from my trip to the Wizarding World. But I also have a chili pepper button from the time we lived in New Mexico when we were first married, and a duck button to represent my oldest’s first word (duck!). It’s so fun to look them over each year as we add our new memory-pins!

  7. Robyn G. says:

    I started Christmas journals for my kids on their first Xmas. Any relatives that are here on Xmas write something to them every year. It can be long or short but they all add up to wonderful memories!