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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Pics from the Christmas Tree Farm, Two Different Tuesdays with Judith, Palisades Christmas, Blog Linkage AND Pinterest Stuff (Memorable Christmas Traditions)

Good Sunday evening!

RANDOMNESS #1 - We went on our annual Christmas Tree Farm adventure this year, and we were four strong... Mikie, Me, Austin and Roxie.

Pine Hill Tree Farm. We've been coming here for the past 22 years for all of our Christmas Tree needs, and so far, it has never disappointed.


Everything from wearing matchy-matchy clothes (totally unplanned)...


To visiting the very sleepy reindeer...


To the ever-so-fun tossing of the Christmas tree from the giant brother to the smaller, yet determined to catch it, younger sister.


Ahh.

Good times, good times.


Year 22 is in the books, People!

RANDOMNESS #2 - Yes. A few Tuesdays ago, Judith and I did our regular "thang" and hung out at a park.




Fun, but not at all Christmasy!


This past Tuesday, Aunt Ro-Ro was home, and we decided a Christmas Carousel ride would be festive.


Judith did NOT like the up-and-down reindeer carousel ride.

In fact, she dismounted her steed very quickly mid-ride.


And to get her mind off of the scary up-and-down reindeer, we made our way to the equally festive Mall Choo-Choo Train.

She liked it better, of course, but still no giggling or jabbering.


Roxie and I are firm believers in "getting back on the horse," but in this case, we tried Judith on the sleigh part of the carousel.

As you can see, she was totally relaxed and her fear of carousels is no longer an issue.

Christmas success!

RANDOMNESS #3 - This past Friday night, we attended our annual Palisades Christmas Party in Oneonta.


Roxie was all decked out in her festive sweater dress and socks.

And, yes. It really jingled.


Roxie, Courtney and Judith.


Josh making sure Judith didn't get too close to the fire, but still stayed toasty warm.


Sawyer won the award for Most Rockin' Santa Hat.


And Judith gave Uncle Austin a little extra lovin' for giving her countless shoulder rides.

Little Girl may not like riding up and down on carousel horses, but she most definitely isn't afraid of heights.


My cousins, Abbie, Tyler and Adam.


Parents-to-be Melia and Austin.


Cousin Monica and Justin.

All in all, it was a very pleasant evening. The fireplace was perfect.

The food was good.

The annual walk around the park looking at millions of lights delighted all ages.

And ending the evening with a giant game of Pictionary was fun, too.

As you can imagine, keeping the Christmas traditions going with several people no longer with us is difficult, but introducing our old traditions to a new generation is exciting and having some new guests made everything a little better, too.

Blog Linkage - It's my favorite blog post of the year. Click Nesting Place under My Blog List and scroll to the bottom of the page. You will see icon after icon after icon of homes participating in the Christmas Tour of Homes 2016. Take your time and ENJOY!

Pinterest Stuff

Memorable Christmas Traditions

Kindness/Service Elves - I recently went to a women’s activity at my church and someone suggested kindness or service elves. These are similar to the ever-popular Elf on the Shelf, but each day, the elves leave an act of kindness or service they hope the kids will do that day. It can be anything from smiling to everyone at school, making their sibling's bed or taking cookies to a neighbor. I love this idea because it focuses more on helping your children do good. The lady who mentioned it said once they started doing this, she felt her kids' greediness and bickering started to melt away.

North Pole Communicator - This is something we started using this year, and it is SO fun! It’s a product we bought from Hallmark, and it’s something we’ve really enjoyed doing every day. Basically, each day from December 1 to December 25, you can call the North Pole and talk with Santa, Mrs. Claus or one of the elves. The person you are talking to is obviously a recording, but it is created very cleverly so when you answer a question, their response is pretty spot on to whatever you say.

Ornaments of Christ’s Names - This is something I mentioned in my post about ways to keep Christ in Christmas, but I think it’s worth mentioning again. I absolutely love the biblical names of Jesus ornaments. There are 12 ornaments and each one has a biblical reference on it. It would be fun to put one on the tree starting 12 days before Christmas, reading the reference and then end on Christmas by reading Luke 2 as a family.

Christmas Book Unwrapping - I wrote a post about the best Christmas books for children a few weeks ago, and I mentioned this tradition. Basically, you wrap 25 Christmas books and put them under the tree. Each day leading up to Christmas, your family gets to unwrap one and you read it as a family together. This is a fun way to make use of all the Christmas books you have accumulated over the year, and I think it’s something the whole family can enjoy.

Open a New Game - This is an idea my sister started doing with her family, and I think it’s a great idea! On Christmas Eve, the family opens a new game and they all play it together.

Cookie Baking Day - While I make cookies all season long, it’s kind of fun to set aside a day or two where everyone bakes yummy treats together! You can do this to make plates to deliver to friends and family or just for the family.

White Stocking - This is another tradition I mentioned in my keeping Christ in Christmas post. It’s something my mom started doing several years ago, and I can’t imagine Christmas Eve without it. Throughout the month of December, there is a simple white stocking that hangs on the mantle. Everyone is encouraged to write down something that is their gift to Christ or something or someone they are thankful to have in their life. On Christmas Eve, my mom reads them aloud. It’s anonymous, but we always have fun trying to guess who said what.

Sleeping with Siblings on Christmas Eve - We did this for many, many years. When I was younger, it was especially fun, because we would stay up chatting in anticipation for the next morning. I have so many fun memories doing this, and it is definitely something I will encourage with my children! I usually ended up on the ground, because I was the youngest, but I was totally okay with it!

Sitting on the Stairs - When we wake up Christmas morning, we don’t just run down the stairs to see what Santa brought. Everyone goes to my parent’s room to sing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” and then we go and sit on the stairs. My dad goes downstairs, usually says something like, “It looks like somebody’s been here,” and starts a fire. I can smell the fire, and remember the feeling of anticipation on the stairs just thinking about it. After the fire is lit, he comes to the stairs with the video camera, and everyone runs down the stairs, down the hall and into the family room!

12 Days of Christmas - I’ve mentioned this a lot on our blog, but it’s such a fun tradition. Pick a family who you want honor during the 12 days leading up to Christmas. They can be someone in need, or just a family you want to make feel loved. We did this a lot growing up, and we did it anonymously. I loved when I was the person who had to “ding dong ditch” a family.

Christmas Bucket List - There are always so many different Christmas activities going on during December. While you can’t do everything, at the beginning of the month, you could sit down with your family and come up with a bunch of different ideas of what you want to do during the month.

Have a wonderful week before Christmas. You may see the Big Gold Van out and about this week. If so, stay clear. I'm in "let's finish Christmas mode," and you don't want to get in my way!

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. I have some pictures from our Oxford Christmas celebrated this past Saturday for my next post. Here is a little preview!


Matthew loves Judith...

And the feeling is pretty mutual.


Believe it or not, I like to capture "happy" when it is totally and completely spontaneous, too. Not just "smile for the camera."

Jared and Mackenzie were just happy...

And I love that.

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