Ornaments are sentimental to me. Each of the children get a new ornament every year. For my sister and me, that's all we get each other's children for Christmas, so it's a big deal. We really look forward to it.We put up the Christmas tree right after a big breakfast the day after Thanksgiving. Pajamas are the official work uniform. (But that doesn't stop Elena from donning her favorite boots.) I love the smell of a real tree, but I don't love the mess. Therefore, I love my artificial tree. ;)
One at a time, the kids unwrap an ornament and hang it on the tree, discussing the story behind each one. We have an ornament for each of the homes we've owned. We have an ornament for each pregnancy and each child's birth. One ornament I got while we were in the adoption wait for Maya, Isaac, and Daniel. Another I got for their first Christmas in America. One for Pedros' first car. I could go on. I love our ornaments.
As soon as we finish the arduous task of decorating the Christmas tree, hanging all the stockings, and putting up the nativity sets, we turn on some Christmas music and dance.
Another tradition we have is Stocking Stuffer buddies. The children draw names at the beginning of December to determine who their buddy will be.
They get so excited; they all start begging me to run them out to the store the next day so they can get a present for their buddy. Our stocking have been stuffed since the first week of December!
They spend their own money on their buddy, so they take it very seriously. I take them to the thrift store and they always seem to find something they know their buddy will love. It always impresses me how well they know their siblings' likes and dislikes.