Our Christmas Activities

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The Christmas season is always so fun and filled with TONS of activities! I felt like we didn’t do as much this year as in year’s past…but this is really our last Christmas ever with a BABY so from here on our bring on ALL THE FUN.

Every year we visit Hobby Lobby and the kids get to choose a new ornament for their Christmas tree in their rooms. We have learned to go EARLY in the Christmas season to avoid them being sold out! We actually went on my birthday this year (Nov 1st)

A newer tradition we’ve developed over the years is to set out a basket on our fireplace with ALL of our Christmas books in it. It sits out all season and the kids LOVE this. They read and read all the time. 

They love it so much that I’m tempted to keep a basket out year-round with books in it and trade them out each season/holiday? Anyone do this?

This year was a sad change for our family. Every year since Kye was born we’ve visited Hambrick’s Tree Farm to cut down our Christmas tree. We learned this year that the farm was closing so we debated what to do moving forward. 

Our options were to drive 45 minutes each way to cut down a tree at the nearest tree farm (an option we may explore once ALL the kids are old enough for it to be worth it), OR go get a tree from Lowe’s or some other location where they are already cut, OR get a fake tree. 

We opted for fake. If we couldn’t cut it down ourselves we wanted to get something EASY. We decided to go ahead and get a tree from Hobby Lobby. I researched a bit and everything I read said that you want to spend some decent money on an artificial tree so we wanted to buy one in person and know it was good quality. 

We were hesitant about the whole fake tree thing but we LOVED IT. SO much easier. SO nice not to have a mess to clean up. SO awesome not to have to worry about watering it or it dying! 

Excited to put all the decorations on the tree! We keep it simple with family ornaments that we have collected from all of our vacations. 

Yay for Spear getting to help!!! First year taking part in the decorating ๐Ÿ™‚ 

Tess was a little tree expert ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

Last year for Christmas Grandpa and Grammie got Kye a Star Wars ornament and we set it up this year on our tree and it’s hilarious! It goes off anytime we walk by it (you can see it here and here). 

Finished product!

Our annual tradition is to decorate the tree, and the house, and then drink hot chocolate and watch a Christmas movie to officially launch the Christmas season. I’m really focusing on allowing Kye to have more rites of passage as being an older child. This year he got to drink his hot chocolate out of a holiday glass!

Zach and I have our special Santa Mugs!

I really wanted to have a few gifts out under the tree for Spear’s party so Katie came over to celebrate my bday and helped Zach and I wrap a bit. We put them out and Spear was instantly drawn to them. I’m talking non-stop constantly going for the gifts. 

I’m not typically a big fan of a lot of baby-proofing as I’d prefer to train my children to have proper boundaries. However, when it comes to Christmas gifts it’s so tricky because they WILL be allowed to open them at some point. So I didn’t want to discipline him for going for the gifts and then cause him to be confused when it was time to open them on Christmas morning. So I busted out our baby gate and opted not to put out all of our gifts this year! 

He was NOT a fan!

I wrote this post this year explaining how we do gifts. It’s one of our favorite annual traditions! This year we had to split up the Target gift buying and the Dollar Store stocking outing. 

We did Target first and all took turns dividing up to choose gifts for each other. This was the first year that all three older kids were REALLY into the gift buying for each other. I wasn’t having to come up with ideas, they truly chose the gifts on their own and put lots of thought into what the recipient would truly enjoy!

Glad we didn’t try to combine it all because Spear was OVER IT. 

He was much happier at his first Steak and Shake dinner!

This year was a milestone year with Kye and we started a new older kid tradition with him. We let him stay up late one night and help us wrap gifts and we watched Elf together! It was mine and Zach’s first time seeing it too and we really enjoyed it! 

You can read about the changes for Kye this year and how we’re making sure he still has the Christmas spirit in this post. 

Since we spend the night at Mrs Charlotte’s every Christmas Eve we just decided this year, due to Spear being into everything, to pack up gifts as we wrapped them to go ahead and get them over to her house early. I was okay about it and it made wrapping easier because I didn’t really care how pretty they looked and didn’t mess with bows either!

It was still really important to me though that the kids got the chance to SEE all the wrapped gifts before they got loaded up. So the mornings after Zach and I would wrap, the kids would come down for breakfast and read through all the tags I wrote to get excited and have that anticipation! 

(Tess was THE most into it this year! She was SO EXCITED)

Our church had a Legacy of Faith Sunday this year and it was super powerful. We were able to recognize people whose lives have impacted our faith. It was awesome to see Uncle Spear’s, Ashleigh’s, and Tripp’s names up on the screen and hear them read aloud. So thankful for these three and the impact they had on my life and my walk with the Lord. 

Out of all the kids, Tess really had the most excitement about Christmas this year. She was ALL about helping sort the gifts and reading the tags and she especially loved getting to open all the Christmas cards!

We had another night where we went to the Dollar Store to do our stocking shopping and got dinner then looked at Christmas lights. This year we switched up the stocking purchases a bit and had each kid pick out a gift for each other person in our family and then we all kept the gifts secret from each other and had to GUESS who bought us what when we opened them on our Christmas morning. It was Kye’s idea and it was SO fun! 

Zach and I monitored the kids and let them shop down the aisles solo. Next year we’re going to bring totes or gift bags or something so we don’t have to worry about anyone seeing what others have bought! 

Again, I was overjoyed with seeing the kids truly put such thought and care into each gift! 

Yay for dinner at CFA with SANTA COW!

All those Disney character meet and greets have made Spear our youngest child to warm up to Santa Cow! He loved him!

We went to look at lights and let the kids sit in our laps to look at the houses with all the lights coordinated to music as well as while we rode around a neighborhood where all the houses have decorations. Spear was wide eyed and really liked it!

I loved seeing Kye and his excitement even with the changes he’s experience this year. He snuck in the baby gate to get to read all the tags and had fun guessing what each gift would be! He was all about the small packages in hopes of games for his Nintendo DS!

I was very, very disappointed to not get to meet Santa at Disney Springs and Zach was super sweet about making sure we were able to meet him locally. We have heard that our local credit union (Southeastern Credit Union) has an AWESOME Santa AND Mrs. Claus so we were all thrilled when it worked out for us to attend…and especially that Daddy got to go with us! 

Y’all. If you’re local then BE SURE next year to visit Southeastern Credit Union at Christmas time. Oh my GOODNESS this was THE best ran event we’ve ever attended. Everything was SO cute and SO well thought out and SO FUN!

Santa AND Mrs Claus!!! They were AWESOME!!!

We made raindeer food

And ornaments

And decorated Christmas cookies

AND got to eat popcorn and drink hot chocolate…all for FREE!!!

We even ran into Casey there and these cutie cousins were excited to see each other!

Leading up to Christmas I like to get all the baking DONE. The kids are all such awesome helpers and we’re at the level now where really I’m pretty much hands off in the entire baking process. Kye can lead the rest and everyone can TRULY do it! I mostly just supervised, help them figure out the measurement math when doubling a recipe and cleaned up!

My greatest Christmas gifts!

We went over to Mema’s for a little celebrating with her and all the BFF cousins had so much fun together!

Every year our elves, Hermey and Snowflake, come to visit us starting on Thanksgiving and all the way through December 24th. I didn’t take photos of everything they did this year but here are some of the highlights of their fun: 

They always kick things off with muffins for us on Thanksgiving morning!

They often surprise us with little gifts! Like this Melissa and Doug Advent Calendar!

We had a ton of rain this year and school was actually canceled due to so many roads being dirt roads and muddy and the buses couldn’t drive down them! The elves surprised the kids with the news…here’s Kye’s reaction, and Britt’s reaction!

The lead up to Christmas is always SO FUN. Anticipation makes the joy even more special and I always count my blessings during this time of year. Seeing the kids’ excitement is a reminder that I’m living the BEST years of my life RIGHT NOW and I soak it up all I can!

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journeyofphood

Hey Y’all, I’m Emily! I’m a stay at home mom and consider parenting to be my passion. Disney is my happiest place and I love making memories as a family together. I’m a big believer in transparency and share all of my real-life moments as a mother of four.

My work has been featured on Today Parenting and Babywise.Life. I’m also honored to be a member of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network.

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