I love a lot of things about the holidays — the decorations, the music, the celebrations. Our family's Christmas is casual and relaxing, the perfect end to a busy year. I'm a laid back mama and most of our family traditions were inspired on a whim — something that seemed like a good idea and stuck. I have four teenagers now and these are four of our favorite holiday traditions!
Our $5 family gift exchange. We pick names, head to Walgreens and choose a gift for $5 or less. There's a lot to choose from — shaving cream, silly putty, socks! (When the kids were small, we stayed with them in the store but made sure to pair up with the ones who didn't have our name!)
Letter from Santa. Our kids get one gift from Santa accompanied by a personal letter from Santa himself (me!). The kids read the letter out loud before they open their gift. (Dear Will, I've noticed that you are quite speedy, so I asked my friends at Nike if they could help me out…)
Advent Kindness Calendar. I have an advent calendar with a little door for each day. Inside I tuck a piece of candy with a note about a kindness for the day — things like "thank a teacher" or "say hi to a kid you don't know." Whether they follow through or not, I love the intention behind it.
Volunteer. Each year, we volunteer somewhere on a weekend, then go out to dinner. We've wrapped gifts at The Family Giving Tree (www. Familygivingree.org) and served food at the annual part for Help One Child., among other things.
What I especially love is that none of these traditions are elaborate or expensive but build gratitude, kindness and connection — the true joys of the season. Wishing you and yours a blessed holiday.
- Marianne Richmond