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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Kraft Family Christmas Traditions

There are a few things that we do each year that make it "feel" like it is Christmas time around the house.  The first one is our tree skirt.  After the birth of our second child 9 years ago, I saw an idea for an heirloom/personalized Christmas tree skirt in Family Fun magazine and decided to give it a try.  I chose to use red velvet and am happy with the choice.  I glued gold rick-rack around the edge for a little extra decoration and then got started. 

The first year, there were only the two children.  Madeline was 1 1/2 and Haley was only a few days old.  I painted Madeline's hand and Haley's foot (she was much to little to keep her hand open to make a print!) with gold fabric paint and put their prints on the skirt.  I continued this technique for the first few years, and then changed to just outlining each child's hand or foot. 

It is so much fun (and a little sentimental) to look at the skirt each year.  It just so happens that there is a baby foot every other year.  Joseph said this morning, "I wonder what we'll name our baby next year?"  It is neat for the children to put their hands onto past year's hand prints and see how much they've grown.  I must admit, that it is a bit of a hassle to get it done each year (truth be told, I just got this year's prints on the skirt last night....shhhhh...don't tell anyone!) but when I get it done, it really makes me happy that I did it!
4 of the prints are done with 2 more paper hands
waiting to be traced.  The cookie cutter is holding the
place where the white felt year marker will be glued down.
Gold fabric paint purchased at JoAnn's that I use
to trace the children's hands on to the tree skirt.

This year's finished prints on the skirt under the tree.

The finished skirt under the tree.

The first Christmas that Todd and I were married, we went to Target and bought a few boxes of glass bulbs to decorate our tree.  There isn't anything wrong with that, but it just seemed so impersonal.  I decided that it would be great for our children to have a "starter kit" of ornaments that they could take with them when they left home.  So, each year, we give them an ornament that is somehow representative of something that child did that particular year. 
Madeline - LOVES piano and is playing beautifully
Haley - quit piano and started guitar this year
Joseph - LOVES playing  golf with dad in the summer
Lillian - learned to read this year...yah-hoo!
Eleanor - Dora...books, movies, dolls...need I say more?!
Esther - our sweet little angel girl!
We have a great time decorating the tree each year, remembering when they received each of their ornaments.  It is fun to listen to them tell stories about "when I was little...." and remember the story that goes along with each of their ornaments.

Another tradition we have is playing the game "To Bethlehem" from Familyman Ministries.  The goal of the game is to be the first player to get to Bethlehem with much singing, laughing and fun along the way.

Todd with a towel on his head and the children all giving shoulder
 rubs to the person to their right..they were roaring with laughter!
We are again reading Jotham's Journey this year as part of our Advent preparation.  We read it last year, and the children (and Todd and I!) all loved it.  I think that we may have to get one of the other books in the series for Advent next year just to mix it up a bit.

With just a few days remaining until Christmas, I hope that you are all ready to celebrate the birth of our Savior.  The excitement in our house is at fever pitch and it is hard to get the children to concentrate on anything....things are just as they should be!

God Bless!

Heather :-)