12 Days, Day 2

So, I decided that this year, Sundays in December would be dedicated to something other than the buy-buy-buy gift ideas. I might post opportunities to give or share or reflect or something along those lines. And I promise to give you extra links on Mondays!

Yesterday, I spent the bulk of my day decorating. I’m always a bit shocked at just how many hours it takes — I’m always super energetic when I start and then as the day wears on, I grow less enthusiastic with the whole process and less patient with things like strings of lights that light up only part way. Taft was my biggest helper. He cleaned out the library-book box, by the living room sofa and refilled it with our Christmas books — noting all the while that "it’s getting fuller Mom" "I think we’re gonna need a new box Mom" and then finally, "It all fits!!" He really hung in there and we stopped to enjoy as we finished or at least got very close on several projects. I unpacked two "traditions" that we do, that I really enjoy.

The first has something to do with Christmas books. I’m rather sure this one was a collaborative effort on the part of my sister and I — anyway, I’ve purchased great big "hat boxes" for my children and fill them each year with new PJs, a Christmas book and an ornament.

messy house–work in progress and bad light, but I wanted you to see the boxes.

On Christmas eve, they get to open their "hat box" I purchase the same book for each child and we then read it together (in the new PJs of course.) They can hang their ornament on the "memory" tree if they want to. When they leave home, they’ll take these boxes with them and have a great collection of ornaments and books for their families.
I started only about four or five years ago, so it’s never too late to snatch up a new idea. I found two big boxes the same size at JoAnn’s and two somewhat smaller — I now need one more! I actually really like to find the really big ones, and get three for a full set of five. If you see them somewhere, let me know!

The other we do (and we’ve done this one since Clark and Chase were very small) is purchase a glass jar of some kind and fill it with wrapped candy. It goes near the front door and as people come to visit …

they are asked to guess how much candy is in the jar — with, of course the chance of winning (the Julian prize patrol goes out day or two after Christmas to make the delivery.) We keep pencils and several pads of sticky notes in the top drawer and it’s fills up pretty well.

and, just for fun, I snapped a pic of our "BELIEVE" letters that I got last year at Restoration Hardware – After Geof put them up in the window above the front door, I realized that the word believe works quite well with the quote I added on the wall above, earlier this year!


I’m using my list and crossing things off as I go — as you unpack and set up and prepare some decoration or tradition or recipe, share it here. I’ll pick "two"for Day 2 and you guessed it, Happy Mail!

From yesterday’s post –Wow! What memories we have of toys/games/dolls etc.. from our childhood past. I LOVED reading all your responses and so many of them rang familiar and made me think "wait, maybe that was my favorite, but I’m sticking with my original notion — and several of you mentioned the oh so pretty and grown-up doll, named Chrissy. My Chrissy doll came complete with a green, plaid taffeta dress, which of course you could undo in the back to reveal the "butterfly" pull string (that caused Chrissy to twist at the waist from side to side) and the magic knob that allowed her hair to grow and grow.

Oh my goodness, as they oldest of five children, I can still remember holding back my siblings in the bedroom hallway, As we were just about to push through the swinging door and enter the living room, I wanted SO badly to see the Chrissy doll, but gave myself that little "don’t act disappointed if it’s not there" speech. Of course, she was there and … well, the rest is magic and a whole lot of memory. Lori, who posted at 7:57 a.m. was the first to comment about the Chrissy doll, so Lori — send me an email.



  1. kreativekate says:

    We just received our annual gingerbread house from my grandmother, who is 93. She took over this tradition from my great grandmother when she died, because my four brothers and I enjoyed it so much. My children are now 12, 15 and 17, and they still do the happy dance when it comes. Then we gaze at it longingly until Christmas Eve, when we tear the wrappings off and dig in after church. Such a cool tradition!!

  2. Oh Stacy, I love the idea of placing PJs, a book, and an ornament in a box for each child. I set out new PJs for my kids, on their beds, just before we head out to Christmas Eve service, so they are waiting to surprise everyone when we get home. I’m LOVING your idea about a book as well. Can you posts some of your book ideas? I have 4 kiddos, ages 14 to 5, so I would love a book idea or two that will delight them all!
    Blessings, tiffany

  3. Love hearing about your traditions . . . and I’m going to love reading all the comments with even more ideas!
    Our favorite tradition, and the one that I know will continue for years and years, is our Jesse Tree.
    This is a small Christmas Tree we set up. Each day we read a passage of Scripture and hang an ornament that goes with it. Each day we “trace” the family line of Jesus . . . watching how God’s amazing story shows us His perfect plan in sending Jesus.
    I love that we spend time each day as a family, reading God’s Word and thinking about the true purpose of Christmas. I love that we have a visual reminder in our home. I love that it is prominently displayed so we can talk about it with all who enter our home.
    We have lots more traditions – like putting on pj’s, buying hot chocolate and driving around to look at likes, or watching a Christmas movie on the morning after Thanksgiving . . . but really, our most important, most special one, is our Jesse Tree.

  4. It’s a happy day as I just crossed off the one gift my husband and I were truly hoping to get for our boys! I just returned from standing in line at Best Buy in ten degree weather and was able to snatch the hot commodity this year (the Wii). I have never stood in line like this before and I don’t know if I’ll do it again, but I do have to say it’s an experience everyone should do at least once. The commraderie you develop with the people around you and that anticipation that builds as the time draw nears is exciting. Fortunately, they handed out vouchers so my anticipated three hours wait was only a little over an hour. Thank God – it was cold!!
    Happy holidays to you and your family and hopefully that gift you just have to get is available!
    Karen C (NH)

  5. Vickie Jones says:

    Our tradition is a night before XMAS gift is always PJs, a book, and either a new “friend” or a cup for cocca, My 15 year old now tells me what book to get him, but that’s okay!

  6. We don’t really have fancy traditions, but, this morning…Christmas songs are playing while we get ready to put up our tree.
    Our tree is very lopsided…ornaments stay where they kiddos put them. (10yo, 6yo and 2yo).
    I love the craziness of it all.

  7. Growing up my siblings and I always received an ornament each Christmas from our parents and each set of grandparents, so that made 3 each Christmas. My mom would find a spot on the ornament to put our initials and the year and we would find that special spot on the tree to hang them. When we left home we had a big box of ornaments to take with us.
    I have continued that tradition with my children, so has my mom. This year we have decided to separate out my son’s ornaments after Christmas, he will be celebrating his 20th birthday in March and intends to move into his own home about that time so he will have his own tree next Christmas.
    And, I am 45 and my mom still gets me an ornament each year with my ititials and the date carefully hidden somewhere. It is such fun to go through the boxes each year and remember holidays past. It is my favorite tradition.
    Wishing you and your family a blessed and happy Christmas!

  8. My son is not home this year since he is grown and has his own home. It’s different decorating when the kids are grown. There is so much I do becasue I always have and it makes me sentimental to remember when my son would help.
    This year I thought I would move some of my things to new places. Then I came to the creche. Up on the mantle it went. There just is no other spot where it belongs. The mantle is central to the room and is like the place of honor. Below it along the edge of the mantel go the stockings. The past couple years the number has grown as my son got married and now is expecting his first child, (my first grandchild!) I love using these same items year after year.

  9. PJ’s at Grandma’s Christmas Eve and they are allowed to stay in them all day Christmas (if they want). Thanks for the 12 days enjoy your blog.

  10. Teresa Cotterman says:

    Years ago when I was 12, I started spending weekends with my grandma every December. During those weekends she taught me the art of Christmas cooking.You know cookies, candy,and other special meals.We would bake until the wee hours of the morning every weekend. Usually 10+ different kinds of cookies/candy. She taught me the fine art of candy making such as weaving a thread and the soft ball stage with a glass of water, no thermometer needed. We also made a new and different ornament each year.All of this ended the weekend before Christmas when we would make cookie plates for all of our friends and family and deliver them wearing Santa hats.This continued every year at her house until I got a home of my own. Then as she aged we started to do it at my home with my children. This is the second Christmas without my Grandma and today in her honor we are making peanut brittle,(no thermometer) and cinnamon ornaments. We have invited some of our friend over to help make the ornaments. It is loud, messy, but pure joy to pass this tradition onto my kids.

  11. I also get my girls new pj for christmas ever year! They love it!
    Your mantle looks very cute! Love the wrapped present. Also the stocking did you make them?? so cute!

  12. We make a Happy Birthday Jesus cake (Ours is a sour cream coffe cake)for Christmas morning. We light the candles, sing Happy Birthday to Jesus, and the kids blow out the candles. My most favorite part!

  13. Oh, I am so glad you are doing this again! I loved your ideas from last year, and love discovering new stores! THANK YOU STACY!

  14. Every year when I lived at home, we have a tiny stuffed mouse that would go on the tree… our Christmas mouse. After I left home and my parents got divorced the mouse became mine. And every year I would put the mouse on my tree. Well this morning I realized that the mouse wasn’t on the tree. I frantically looked through all the boxes of decorations and couldn’t find him anywhere (I think he accident got tossed with the real tree last year – we usually use a fake). As I sat on the bed crying my husband (of only 10 months) came in to comfort me. He said “Why don’t we go out and get something new that WE can put on the tree every year?” I cried some more and said okay. It was such a sweet suggestion. And even though its not “the Christmas mouse,” now we have something of our own.

  15. Our favorite tradition for getting ready for the holidays has to do with the advent calendar. Everyday, we post a new figure on the calendar and pull out a “task” to do for that day..some examples…bake cookies for a neighbor, have breakfast for dinner, shovel the neighbor’s driveway late at night without credit, make a batch of cards and send them to a nursing home, etc. We have done this for 2 years and every year we each come up with different tasks and put them into a jar. Its a blast doing it and my kids have learned a great lesson about giving without receiving anything material back…what a great gift for my family!!! Happy holidays to everyone!!!

  16. Kelly Butler says:

    I’m starting a new tradition this year. I’m reading a book for my book club called “The Christmas Mystery” by Jostein Gaarder. There’s a chapter for each day of December from 1-24. The book has something to do with an advent calendar (I won’t spoil the story) so each day when I sit down to read it I open a door of my advent calendar, take out the piece of choocolate, sip tea and read a chapter.

  17. I send an ornament to each of my nieces every year. That way, they can remember me every time they look at their Christmas tree.

  18. Growing up we had this great big heavy duty piece of vinyl and we would use it under the tree (in case any water spilled out) and it would get covered by the tree skirt. We would write memories on it the day we set up the tree and the day we took down the tree. Everything from the day it was, what the weather was, how much snow we had, if dad was home or called out on a derailment (worked on the RR and winter weather always brought broken rails, etc.) anything that happened to be going on in our life or house at that particular moment in time. Every year bringing it back out would bring so many fond memories reading of the previous years. My mom still has and uses this original, even though she has since switched to an artificial tree. The tradition lives on some 30 + years later!
    P.S. I laughed so hard when I saw your bozo punching bag from yesterdays post. My son (who is 2) received one for Christmas last year and he is TERRIFIED of that thing! We keep it up way down in the basement and he will not go near if we happen to be in the basement and he will not even go down the stairs in case Bozo is there! Too funny! =)

  19. Ok, so being an only child, I married into a family of 9 with lots of traditions. Now that we have 5 of our own, we try to pass some down and make some new ones of our own. One that is passed down is the “candy calendar”. You use leftover Halloween candy and make each child their own advent calendar on a piece of poster board or whatever. Each day, my kids anxiously await eating their candy!
    Something else fun that I enjoy doing is the “12 Days of Christmas Gag Gift”. My kids and I pick a couple of family friends, and each day we leave silly gifts on their doorstep. For instance, the first day is… “your true love gave to you a partridge in a pear tree. Sorry, but I couldn’t find the partridge, so I am giving you some pears from the tree the partridge flew away from.” Silly things like that, but lots of fun, and the kids love to leave secret presents for their friends.

  20. “Twinkles” the jammie elf stops by our home on Christmas Eve, while we are at church. She leaves a new set of pjs outside everyone’s bedroom door. AFter the Christmas Eve service, our family and 5-6 other families all head to the Village Inn for dinner/breakfast together. We’ve been doing this for 10 years, so our kids have been born and grown into this tradition. It’s just not Christmas Eve without our ‘church family’ dinner together!

  21. I love the hatbox idea!!! I am totally doing that for our 2 grand-daughters – thanks for sharing! I just unwrapped the Nativity scene and put it up on the mantel. I agree with an earlier poster – it just has to be in the place of honour. On our tree, the angel and nativity ornaments all go up near the star at the top for the same reason – He is the reason. Here’s a cool idea for reading during the holidays as Melissa’s family does it http://melissadeakin.typepad.com/savoring_the_details/2007/11/
    I love reading about your family and your preparations – thank you for taking time to share :))

  22. jenntalbot says:

    We have two kids (1 and 4 years) so we are just getting started on our tradions. We have done an ornament and pj’s every year. I am so excited to add others. I had planned on doing a book for every year but I love your idea Stacy and we are going to do it your way!!!! Thanks so much!!

  23. I love your hat box idea for Christmas Eve gifts. That’s a fun tradition. And I love the quote with ‘believe’ letters. Just the thought I needed today.

  24. My favorite tradition is buying for others from the angel tree (either from our church or the mall) And my 5 year old daughter (who, sadly, is normally quite selfish) said the angel tree was the thing she wanted to do the most this Christmas. Yay! We’re making progress…

  25. Katherine McKamey says:

    This year we are adding 2 nativity sets to our decorating. One from my Grandmother’s collection (she passed away from Ovarian Cancer in June ’07) and one from my Husband’s Grandmother (she passed away at the age of 96 in Aug ’07.) We are lucky that both had such a collection and that both thought of us (Hubby & I) when they were planning out their estates.
    With their passing we have lost a whole generation from both sides of our families this year but they won’t be forgotten because we have the beautiful Nativity scenes to remind us of how lucky we were to have GreatGrandparents around to spend time with our twins.

  26. When my husband and I married almost 9 years ago we started a tradition of buying a Christmas ornament from every travel destination we visited. We started with our honeymoon in Tucson and our most recent addition comes from Anna Maria Key, Florida. Reminiscing over each ornament every Christmas reminds us of our bond and the love we share together!

  27. My kids favorite tradition is on Christmas Eve we put our big Christmas blanket on the floor in front of the tree and eat dinner, sing songs and read the nativity story together all on the floor in our new pj’s of course.

  28. One of the traditions that my mom started was giving me an ornament each year. She is now doing this with her grandchildren. Another tradition is that we attend a candlelight service on Christmas Eve at our church.

  29. Baking cookies together (espeically ricotta cheese). yummy!

  30. kat-in-texas says:

    AWESOME blog today, Stacy! I’m starting to feel inspired to finish the rest of the decorating! Love your ideas on the boxes. We also buy one Christmas ornament for our kids each year. That’s such a cool way to keep them organized. Thanks for all you do and share!!!

  31. Every year after decorating the tree, we gave our daughter a new ornament. It usually was picked out to symbolize something she was doing that year, dance class etc. When I took down the tree in 2005, I separated all of her ornaments and photographed them. She was married in June 2006 and her dad and I gave her and her new husband the box of ornaments along with an album. I scrapbooked all of the pictures with different memories that they represented. It’s fun to see their tree decorated with these ornaments and they always have the album to remind them of why they were chosen.

  32. My son’s father and I divorced when he was four, so I knew I would be sharing holidays for the rest of his life. We made it a tradition to choose some sort of event to do together each year…it might be a performance of “A Christmas Carol” or a musical event. The other thing we did each year on Christmas Eve night was to go to our downtown historic district and take one of the carriage rides. We live in the South, so sleigh rides aren’t an option here! The horses even have “reindeer ears” attached. We tour this historic district to see the beautifully decorated homes as we sing Christmas carols. I always think how wonderful it is that the total strangers in the large carriages with us instantly become friends as we sing our way through the city!

  33. The advent calender and advent wreath are the earliest things I unpack for Christmas. The pickle ornament on the Christmas tree….whoever finds it first on the tree, gets to open the first gift on Christmas morning. And my all time favorite is sprinkling reindeer food on the front walk so that Santa doesn’t miss our house!! Reindeer food is a mixture of rolled oats, glitter, and confetti….the kids love to make it!!

  34. Wendy Antenucci says:

    We have a few traditions – each of our kids buys for another child their age (angel tree), we let each kid fill up a large gift bag this year with their special prizes, we make cookies together even daddy joins in, candelight service at our church.

  35. I love your hat boxes for each child. Each of our 3 kids gets a new ornament every year. And our family gets a new Christmas book every year as well. One year, I wrapped all the books up and we unwrapped and read them. This year, is just a reading a different Christmas book.
    I have to say of all the Christmas traditions we have- our ring and run experiences are the most exhilarating as well as, memorable. We usually pick a family and give something to them anonymously. It helps us all remember how it feels to give without any strings attached. And even though we never see them open their gifts, we imagine their smiling faces, knowing that someone cares about them.

  36. Love ready your blog, thanks for sharing so much of yourself with us. I love reading everyone’s traditions. We also have a lot of Christmas books that I keep with the decorations, it’s always a treat to get them out each year. My favorite tradition I started when my kids were 2 and 4, my husband was ‘babysitting’ and fell asleep, he worked at UPS at the time and was so exhausted. The kids opened ALL the presents under the tree, no one had a surprise that year. Now we don’t put out any presents, they go in the attic until after they are in bed Christmas Eve. Instead a wooden manger with straw(raffia) and swalding clothes(torn pieces of muslin) goes under the tree. All month long we write on strips of paper, gifts we are giving Jesus. We put those in the manager. We do kind deeds for each other and our friends and neighbors. The boys love to play elf for people, leaving treats on the doorstep, knocking and running. All month long the boys read what is on the papers and think of new things to do instead of counting and sorting what they are getting. I love the focus we have now. It has changed our entire season. It is also really fun to see the difference Christmas morning, they have no idea what to expect since there was no shaking or guessing of the presents before hand.

  37. Love this!! The kids love unwrapping each of the ornaments and putting them on designated trays. They sort, remember, and look at all of them. We do this a few days before the tree is up, and then that is another production. I also clear out one of three bookshelves in our library room. All those books are boxed up for a month, and the Christmas books come out…filling the shelves. I buy a new family book each year, and we read several each day. I love to bake, so the kitchen has some special touches. My childhood stocking is hanging and filled with 3 wooden spoons- one from each of my Grandmothers, who also loved to bake. This year I grew teary realizing I needed to ask for another- my mom’s who died two months ago. The spoons are a reminder of loved ones and we cook their favorite cookie recipes this month.

  38. My favorite tradition is the count down to Christmas calendar we had. It was a felt tree and a pocket for each day. Each day we opened the pocket and put a new ornament on the tree. sadly, it didn’t make it through my childhood, but I found one pretty close for my kids and they LOVE to change the “little santa” every day until Christmas!!!

  39. Our four children were adopted and to represent their first Christmas home I bought a house shaped ornament for them. Now when we decorate the tree they want to hang their own house ornament and hear stories about their adoption. It’s so sweet. Anyway, that is one of my favorite traditions that we share.

  40. Traditions so far this Xmas season – picking out our Xmas tree followed by holiday treats at Starbucks and a visit to the store to pick out our yearly ornament. It is so fun to see what each child picks out each year. We also open advent calendars and our new tradition this year – the advent daily activity. Yesterday was make snowflakes, today was tell someone why you love them. And another new tradition this year is each child will tell me their favorite memory of the day between now and Xmas. I write it down in their journal (the one I have been keeping since each of their births). Yesterday everyone’s favorite activity was making snowflakes! We bought a pickle ornament a few years ago and didn’t realize the German tradition that went along with it. We bought it since our son’s nickname was “Pickle”! Thanks for sharing that tradition – now we know! And we’ll make our own ornaments this year too. Don’t know if this will become a tradition. We’ll see how it goes! Maybe the tradition can be making ornaments for grandparents.

  41. I think our most favored Christmas Tradition is Christmas Eve. Hubby usually works until about 1pm. While he is at work, our daughter and I are busy making homemade chicken and noodles and bread. We have our dinner, go to the wonderful church service and then grab a mug of hot cocoa and drive around looking at all the beautiful Christmas lights on the houses. When Blaike was little, we searched the skies for Santa and Rudolph. After getting back home, Blaike gets to open her new pj’s and maybe one other present. We still leave cookies and carrots for Santa and the reindeer and it’s off to bed!

  42. Amanda V. says:

    We have a couple of traditions in our house that we look forward to for the season. One of them is seasonal books, I wrap up 25 Christmas/Holiday books in wrapping paper and place them in the book box along with others to read throughout the season, and as each day goes by we open a new book before we go to bed, (they are the same ones every year, just a renewed newness!) and read it that evening, the last one on the 24th being “Twas the Night Before Christmas”. those are alot of cozy moments reading together by the fire.
    Another tradition we have is opening a present Christmas eve that always includes a new pair of pajamas, that way the next morning everyone looks nice and cute for pictures! –I am loving the hat box idea with an ornament that they can collect for years to come. might have to try that!
    Love this post, thanks for the inspiration.

  43. Stacy – so LOVE reading your ideas and thoughts – and LOVE about getting the meaning of Christmas BACK! This year – due to some issues tugging on my heart – I told my family I would appreciate it if they gave to charity in my name rather then buying me a gift out of obligation. This is a family that doesn’t understand the joy it brings ME to give gifts – handmade and the like – they gift out of obligatory feelings. They took my ideas and want to really get involved. So – as a young Momma – it’s been my goal to create our own traditions – and new ones at that. I have a 2.5 year old – who is REALLY into Santa and the whole idea of Christmas now – so because she is a sponge – I have to make it my duty to teach her the importance of giving and NOT of receiving. So – this year – I’m following the white envelope tradition somewhat. I have chosen a local women & children’s abuse shelter and have a list of their wishes. My two SIL and I will be fulfilling an entire list. the needs are so basic – I actually cried as I read – and RE-READ the list. BASIC. things we take for granted as we aimlessly stroll the aisles of target. BASIC. So – this is certainly something I will look forward to each year – and all throughout the year for that matter – giving back. This idea of mine actually helped to bring myself and a family member closer (we’d been at odds for a couple of years now…) this suggestion somehow snapped her out of her funk… so I am already seeing the results of giving back. I am slowly bringin more cheer and joy into the house each day as well… as soon as the tree is up.. life will be good. merry merry! :O) (oh and PS… I don’t know if you remember – but I met you in Buffalo and told you i would work for/with you some day… and i still firmly believe that!) :O)

  44. Ann Grounds says:

    Wow!! Many of us share the same traditions of the ornaments, pj’s, and Christmas books. I love your idea of grouping them together in the hat box to open on Christmas Eve and what a way to keep the ornaments organized! One of our favorite traditions is going and cutting our own Christmas Tree. My husband and I started this when we were dating 16 years ago! We would purchase a permit from the US Forest Service and drive up into the mountains to find the perfect tree. Those first few years we had a collection of “Charlie Brown” type trees that still get talked about by our families. We have changed the tradition a bit and now go to a Tree Farm, pick out our tree, get it secured to the vechicle, and then go warm up by the bonfire, sipping cocoa or cider. The last couple of years we have had friends join us in this adventure. I can’t wait to do it this year-but we have to wait until we are back from Milwaukee. I too have started to instill in my children “the Reason for the Season” and that it is about giving ourselves to others. We also participate in our local mall’s “Giving Tree”. It is fun to see the smiles on the kids faces as they are able to give to someone they don’t know.
    Thanks again Stacy for sharing your family and life with us.

  45. So, we use a bunch of Making Memories frames and plaques (with a Christmas Tree shape) and we printed pictures from the year and put them on the frames. Finished the tree out with red ornament balls and red beaded garland to go with the white lights. You can see pictures on http://damon-crawley.blogspot.com/

  46. We love traditions – as a military family. One of ours for Thanksgiving and Christmas is this Pumpkin Roll. Everyone who tries it loves it! I hope you enjoy!
    3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    3 large eggs
    1 cup granulated sugar
    2/3 cup LIBBY’S 100% Pure Pumpkin
    1 cup walnuts (optional), chopped
    1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
    1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
    6 tablespoons butter or margarine (we recommend LAND O LAKES® Butter), softened
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/4 cup powdered sugar (optional)
    PREHEAT oven to 375°F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; (Or cookie sheet with tall sides will do)
    line with wax paper, allowing some paper to go up on the sides. Grease and flour paper.
    COMBINE flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves
    and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and sugar in large mixer
    bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture.
    Spread evenly into prepared pan.
    BAKE for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back
    when touched. Allow to cool in pan. When cooled, slide the cake out of the pan by pulling on the wax paper. Spread a layer of frosting (see recipe below) and nuts on the cake. Slowly roll the cake, carefully peeling off the wax paper as you do. Refrigerate for one hour before serving for best results. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving if desired.
    BEAT cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract
    in small mixer bowl until smooth.

  47. Our tradion is making cookies for santa on christmas Eve the kids love doing this and then of course they enjoy eating them as they wait for them all to bake. I love your hat box idea.

  48. our tradition use to be decorating the christmas tree with christmas music but my son turns 15 in january- do i need to say more? we are still keeping up that tradition with my daughter who will be 3 in a couple of weeks. my other tradition is making 7-up pound cake- like lots of them. if anyone would like the recipe you can always email me…(kribss@gmail.com)

  49. Pat Steele says:

    OMG, I had a Chrissy doll also. I got her from Santa, also. I still to this day have her. Christmas in our home is different every year. Someone gets a scavenger hunt for their “big” gift. The “elves” in our home determine who is the one that get that honor. Pj’s on Christmas Eve are a tradition (even though our daughter doesn’t live with us anymore) Traditions are Traditions and that one will stay. My husband gave me a moose several years ago and he sits on my night stand. He got his Pj’s early this year because they are Santa PJ’s to brighten up my early mornings.

  50. kiki comin says:

    i think one of my favorite things to pull out of the christmas box is a book i got from my older brother and his wife when i was away from home one christmas. they put a story, song and scripture together for each day in december, and this year my boys and i take some time after dinner to read from it, sing a song and then open another door from the advent calendar. they love the excitement of opening the advent calendar, so they are perfect while we read and sing! its been so fun to share something that meant so much to me when i initially opened it year after year!:)

  51. For years now, I have wanted a nativity scene but haven’t found one that we could afford. This year, we finally decided as a family which one to get. I got several pictures and we took a vote. It was unanimous and we bought a Willow Tree set. I am hoping to make this a very essential and traditional part of our Christmas. For FHE, hoping to unwrap our nativity and read about the true meaning of Christmas.

  52. We have always picked a tag from the Angel tree to buy a gift for a child in need, but this year since my oldest is 4 1/2 he is really excited to “earn” the money for the gift that he gets to pick for the child by doing extra jobs around the house. We put the money he is earning in a glass jar & he is so excited to see it fill up–my 2 1/2 year old is getting into it too! We also do the p.j.s on Christmas eve, but this year we have decided to get one board game to open & play as a family. (K was not too excited last year when he opened his gift to find “only pajamas!!!”) This way it is more about family time than gift time.

  53. thanks for the great hat box idea…i’ve been struggling to come up with traditions this year.
    it used to be that we drove to s. dakota (tradition) to have christmas with grandma. we would decorate her tree (tradition) and decorate our hotel room door (tradition) and put lights on whatever plant/tree was in the suite (tradition). we had a lot more traditions like lefse, midnight mass, stories, etc.
    sadly, grandma passed away this past st. pattys day and now, we’re minus one very big tradition.

  54. We have 2 traditions. One is carried on by my middle sister who doesn’t have children. Our Nanny (grandma) used to make us flannel pj’s that we got to open on Christmas Eve and Jennifer has picked up the tradition, making each niece and nephew a homemade pair of pajamas or nightgown. The kids LOVE getting them and open them up every Christmas Eve. The other tradition actually starts in August. We start saving $20 a week, as a family, cutting out ice cream cones and the little things. By the time December rolls around we have $360-$400. We then go to our pastor and ask who is having a hard time this year. Next, I make a ton of gingerbread house molds. THEN, the girls go out shopping for the family and the boys go get house decorations and pizza. We all meet back at home, wrap the presents, eat pizza and decorate the houses. One gets delivered to the family with a poem about the Gingerbread Crew. It is always on the 12th of December and it explains that for 12 days leading up to Christmas they will receive a gift; we’d like to remain anonymous so please don’t try to catch us; Merry Christmas! It’s so much fun and my kids LOVE it. We doorbell ditch and leave themed gifts for the whole family up until Christmas Eve when we leave the porch stacked with many gifts!

  55. This is a new tradition I’m starting this year. I love advent calendars but thinking up and buying gifts for them can be taxing…so this year I’m doing a scripture a night (as part of our family scripture study) of all the gifts our Father in Heaven has given us–of course ending with the gift of our Savior. And then this is the part I’m really excited about–hope it works–on the last night have each one of us write the gift we’ll be giving our Savior this year, sign our name and place it in a box under the tree. Then on Christmas Eve next year we will be able to see how we did through the year and of course repeat the “gift giving”.

  56. I put out on advent box with 25 little doors to open each day. It has been fun as we went from one child to then two children to see how they take turns each day and inside the doors sometimes there are 2 prizes other days 1 to share and see how they work it out. I also enjoy having mini trees with mini ornaments in each child’s bedroom that they play with and decorate over and over and play with. There is also a small tree in our bonus room that holds memory ornaments and the children play and redecorate over and over. My favorite tradition is to take out several Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus sets we have. They travel through the house and sometimes someone is missing (like right now we are searching for baby Jesus) but the kids retell the story of Jesus birth in their own kid way and I just love listening to them. They add their own stuffed animals and add new details. (My daughter is trying to convince us that there was dog in the stable when Jesus was born because she loves dogs and has placed one beside Jesus). I love hearing all the new ideas. It’s never too late to start a new tradition!

  57. Elizabeth K. says:

    Oh, I love the quote and BELIEVE above your door!!
    We always start our Christmas celebrating later in the month, so we haven’t done anything much, besides starting our advent reading, and I did some baking on Saturday. Shortbread and Honey Basil Cookies.

  58. I just love your ideas, Stacy! I’m going to look for hat boxes now…
    I have managed to put most of my decorations out…we decorated the Christmas tree last Sunday but then my 2 year old twins pulled it over on Monday, breaking the stand! We found another tree and redecorated that night. ;)
    I have pictures of each of my 4 kids dressed up for their “first Christmas” picture and I put those out.
    I also have a Little People nativity set that I put under the tree (attempting to distract them from pulling the tree over…lol!) and the kids love playing with that. It plays “Away in a Manger” over and over…
    And we’re enjoying Christmas music, especially the new Josh Groban Cd called “Noel.” So much holiday fun!!

  59. Stacy, I remeber the yeat my 2 sisters and I got our Chrissy dolls. My Mom wrote our names on the sole of the foot so we would knoe whose was whose! Our dolls came with brite orange dresses with an orange lace overlay. We also each got an extra outfit. My younger sis and I got the dresses with big daisies on it but in different colors. My older sis got a pink with white polka dot pantsuit. We LOVED hose dolls.
    Thanks for reminding me of them and the special memories of that Christmas!

  60. Sorry I didn’t have time to read through all the other posts to see if anyone else gave you this heads-up, but I saw BIG hatboxes in lots of Christmas patterns at Hobby Lobby today. Do they have Hobby Lobby where you are? I hope so!

  61. I am loving your Christmas posts! Our big family tradition is a popular one!… getting new jammies on Christmas eve! I will be continueing it this year with my own daughter :)

  62. Laura in Chicago says:

    My boys are 20 and 23 (in college and just out of college) and have been getting Christmas ornaments every year since they were born, when I remembered I wrote the year on the ornament with a paint pen. Now that some of them are 20 or more years old it’s nice to have the date on them. They also got Christmas books for many years and I also put the date in those, my oldest just unpacked those and put them into the red wooden wagon that his little brother learned to walk with, and that goes near our Christmas tree. Once again having the year they got the book is nice, they still look back at the earliest books with fond memories. One of my favorite things to do for Christmas is to sing Happy Birthday to Baby Jesus wherever we are for dinner, whether it is our house or at other family it gives everyone an opportunity to remember why we are gathering… We also still have to do a treasure hunt for their last present (usually the most anticipated) we were going to stop last year but they were actually upset (guess we will have to do for our grandchildren eventually) this year my husband is going to do it with a GPS system to really make it tough!!!

  63. I was inspired by your hat box idea, and luckily Hobby Lobby has them on sale half-off this week. They had 5 different designs, which is perfect because I have 5 kids. I had already purchased pj’s, slippers, and ornaments, and I’m in the process of making a digital board book for each kid, so now I think I’ll put those in their hatboxes as well. Thanks for the great idea! Love you!!!

  64. Christina Moline says:

    I love your Uppercase Living expression above your door! Thank you again for showing my product and for having your party for me!!!
    Christina Moline

  65. Wow! This is some post! I have to say that I am really becoming a big fan!
    I love your holiday tradition not to mention I am really loving that quote above your front door. There is no better way to step out and face the world! Happy Holidays!

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