I have teamed up with some really talented bloggers this holiday season to write about our favourite Christmas traditions. 2020 has been a tough one for many. Many Christmas parties have been cancelled, along with Christmas concerts, extracurricular activities and some family gatherings due to the pandemic. I know all these ladies agree with me when I say it is a year that family traditions feel especially important. I know our traditions will give our family a sense of normality even if the holidays are not quite the same. I am sure many families with be getting creative and starting some new traditions. If your looking for a new tradition to add to your families repertoire then we have you covered.
Christmas Traditions on Little Acre Farm
We have many Christmas traditions here. You see I come from a long line of Christmas enthusiasts. I swear the Christmas spirit is in my blood. We decorate the tree together while jamming out to Christmas tunes, we have a Christmas Elf on the Shelf that visits, and we love to head out to look at Christmas light displays, we decorate our house and our barn, bake an assortment of holiday goodies, we watch Christmas movies and of course we have a big turkey dinner on Christmas Day. But the one thing that we do every year that really kicks off the whole Christmas season here is hanging up our advent calendar.
Our Advent Calendar
It is basically a wall hanging with pockets and it goes up every year on December the 1st. I got this about ten years ago so I am pretty sure it is no longer available. But the truth is it doesn’t matter what your advent calendar looks like, it is the things you fill it with that really makes it fun. Before I found our current advent calendar I used to just put an envelope or bag on our dining room table with a surprise in it. It really doesn’t have to be fancy.
I put an assortment of things in the pockets of our advent calendar to be discovered each day in December. I like to fill some of the pockets with candy or a tiny gift but most of the pockets are filled with little hand written notes. On each note is a family activity planned for that day. These are the ones my kids love the most. I love it because we get to spend quality time together
For example some of the things I have written on the notes are:
- go for a hike and look for animal tracks (I put an animal track book in the pocket of the calendar that I borrowed from the library) this is even more fun in the snow.
- have a pajama day and eat breakfast for dinner
- go for a drive and look at christmas lights. ( I usually bring a thermos of hot chocolate. My kids like to count all the houses that have lights! My daughter just started highschool and she still does this with her little brother. It’s so cute)
- Have a family game night. ( if it is a weeknight we play something simple like jenga or Battleship and if it is a weekend we breakout monopoly or clue)
- eat extra buttery popcorn and watch a christmas movie ( Our favourite is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation)
- build a family of snowmen (obviously this one only works if you have snow. We have done this a few times with different variations. One year we built a snowman that represented ourselves, one year we built another family member and one year we built the whole snowman family upside down!)
- cut out paper snowflakes and decorate the windows with them (I just use sticky tac to stick them to the windows. My kids are 10 & 14 and they still enjoy this. They say it wouldn’t be Christmas without paper snowflakes stuck to the windows.)
- purchase toys to donate (my children really like this one and they put alot of thought into which toy to buy and donate.)
You can really do whatever you want and tailor it to your family’s interests. My kids really look forward to discovering what in the advent c. Another activity I always add to the advent calendar is holiday baking and one thing we look forward to making every year is Christmas Sugar Cookies.
Making Christmas Sugar Cookies is a Family Affair
I have been making Christmas sugar cookies every year with my kids since they were babes. My oldest is 14 and my youngest is 10. And they still look forward to the Sugar Cookie extravaganza every year. My husband even gets in on the decorating and of course he has made himself the official taste-tester. They love making the cookie dough, cutting out the cookies and of course decorating. My kids would always make one special cookie each to give to Santa on Christmas Eve. We would also usually give some as gifts. They are always so proud to give their creations to friends and family. I love how each cookie is unique. I thought I would share our tried and true recipe. It makes about 5 dozen cookies.
1 cup of unsalted butter 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 1/2 cup brown sugar 2 tbsps of milk 3 eggs 1 tsp vanilla 4 to 5 cups all purpose flour 1 1/2 tsps baking soda 1 1/2 tsps cream of tartar 1 tsp salt
Buttery Cream Frosting
4 cups icing sugar 1 1/3 cups of butter 1 1/2 tsps vanilla 6 tbsps of milk food colouring optional
FOR COOKIES, combine 1 cup butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until well blended. Add milk. Beat in eggs, one at a time. add 1 tsp vanilla.
Combine flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt in another bowl. Add to wet ingredients. Beat at low speed until combined. Chill for 1 hour.
HEAT OVEN TO 350℉. Roll out 1/3 of the dough at a time to about 1/4 inch thickness on a floured surface. Cut out with cookie cutters. Place 2 inches apart on parchment paper lined baking trays. Frost when cooled.
Bake for 6 to 7 minutes or until edges of are slighty golden. Cool cookies on a cooling rack. Make sure your cookies have cooled completely before frosting.
FOR FROSTING, combine confectioners’ sugar, 1/3 cup shortening and 1 1/2 tsps vanilla in a large bowl. Slowly blend in milk to reach the desired consistency. Then beat at high speed until smooth and creamy. Tint frosting with food colour, if desired.
Christmas day on our Farm
The last Christmas tradition I would like to share involves our Little Farm. I usually do morning chores before the kids get up on Christmas Day. Then we open gifts and eat a big breakfast. After that the whole family heads out the barn. We love our animals very much and we love to spoil them. Every animal on the farm gets a special treat on Christmas. The chickens get mealworms or cracked corn, the bunny gets lettuce or a carrot. Our goats and pigs get apple slices and cereal. The dogs get bones and our cats get a piece of leftover turkey. Then everyone gets pets and scratches. We love it and the animals love it. Once all the animals have had a sufficient amount of spoiling we head back in to get Christmas dinner started.
I absolutely love Christmas and I have a feeling you do too. As I said earlier this year is definitely going to be different. I think one way we can all cope is by keeping what Christmas traditions we have strong. Even if some of them may look a little different this year. Maybe even add a few new ones to spice up your holiday. Head on over to visit these amazing blogs to hear all about their favourite Christmas traditions.
“Our Christmas Traditions” with Chey from Living Like We’re Country
“2020 Christmas Traditions” with Alexa from Church Street Homestead
“Unique Christmas Traditions” with Miriam from The Tailored Nest
“Christmas Traditions with Big and Little Children” with Tani from Unraveled Motherhood
“5 Simple Homemade Holiday Traditions to Share with Family” with Meagan from Simply Rooted Farmhouse
“The Best Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls with Buttercream Icing” with Rainie Robinson