This is my absolute favorite time of the year. I honestly love everything about it. I love the lights, decorations, cold weather, snow, stockings hanging from the mantel, snuggling up with my hubby on the couch (for the 5 minutes the babies are actually quiet), Christmas plays, time with family and giving – lots and lots of giving. I just love it! I also love how the holidays are full of traditions. We have several Christmas traditions and seem to add new ones to our family every year.

In past years it has just been my Hubby and I, this will be our first Christmas as a family of 4. Although the babies are only 4 months old I am already looking forward to all the amazing traditions we will develop with them. There are a few traditions I decided to start this year. I know the babies are too small to remember or really participate, but it will be fun for my hubby and I.

Every year we always go to several Christmas plays at the local churches in our area. I think this is the perfect way to start off the holiday season. It really puts you in the mood for Christmas. We usually only see about 2-3 Christmas productions, but I truly enjoy each one of them. This year we will be taking the boys with us. With twins this will require some planning and we will have to arrive extremely early so that we can reserve seats towards the front of the auditorium on the outside of the row so we can leave quickly if we need to. Successful activities with twins require much planning, but it is worth it in the end!

Each year we collect a new ornament for our Christmas tree. We try to pick an ornament that represents a major event or favorite memory from the year. This year was a huge year for my family! We found out we were expecting twins after a year of trying to conceive at the end of last year. In February we had the opportunity to spend 10 days in Italy and traveled to Rome, Venice, Florence and Naples. I started grad school this year. On July 31st we added two amazing little additions to our family when our twin boys entered the world. How do you find one ornament to represent all of that? I think we may have to purchase a few ornaments to represent all the amazing things that happened this year.

I also plan to start collecting ornaments for the boys so that when they get married they will have ornaments to decorate their tree with their new family. I know they are boys and probably won’t care about this as much as I do, but I hope one day their wife will cherish the memories and the boys will love telling their children about all their adventures as they reminisce about their life.

This year we decided to start an advent calendar. I think when they boys are older they will really enjoy doing a Christmas activity each day. This year it is more for my hubby and I to focus on spending quality time together. As you all know, newborn twins are a lot of work and it is easy to get caught up in the day to day activities of caring for babies without ever really connecting with your spouse. Our advent calendar has 25 days of small activities for us to do together and as a family. Some of the activities are simple like drink hot chocolate with peppermint stirrers or buy a new Christmas CD you both love to make a new Christmas ornament or read the Christmas story as a family. I am really looking forward to 25 days of togetherness and future activities we will be doing with the boys.

As a family it is important to us to remember the true meaning of Christmas. Our family never buys large gifts because that is not what Christmas is about for us. Every year we try to be involved in outreach through our church. This year our church is hosting The Christmas Store which is a store stocked with new unopened Christmas gifts. Families in the community are invited to come and shop the store at extremely discounted prices that way they can have the pride in purchasing gifts for their family. This year my Hubby and I are volunteering to help organize the store. I am really looking forward to this precious time getting to know families in our community and spending a little extra time with my Hubby.

We also try to adopt a family in need for Christmas. As the boys get older I am excited for them to participate in this tradition. I want them to pick out gifts for other children, help wrap each present and go with us to give them to the family. I think this will really show the boys what Christmas means for our family and instill in them a spirit of giving.

When it is time for our family to open present we always open them on Christmas Eve. I know we really should wait until Christmas day, but we started this tradition when I was very young with my family and we have just continued it throughout the years. Since I have been married we have made a fun family night out of it. We always go to the Christmas Eve service at church and then everyone comes to our house for games and finger foods. Then at midnight we pass out all the gifts and go around the room as each person opens one gift at a time so everyone can see what that person received.

Christmas day is always spent with extended family and bouncing from my family’s home to my Hubby’s family’s home. I enjoy getting to catch up and spend time with all of our family some of which we only see once a year. At my grandparent’s house we always have a huge lunch and enjoy reading the Christmas story with all of our extended family.

There are so many more small traditions my family enjoys, but these are a few of the bigger ones. I think our family just tries to incorporate traditions that focus on the true meaning of Christmas; family, friends, giving and special memories. I truly love everything about this time of year!

Be sure to keep up with Whitney at A Pair of Ones.