I love the holiday season. We didn’t have kids to make Christmas more fun (pretty sure), but they certainly add layers of excitement to November and December. And never say never, but we will never be an Elf on a Shelf family. Instead, I am so excited to create new (less intensive) traditions and build wonderful memories for myself, my husband, and my kids. This year we are starting our Yannes Family Holiday Handbook. I am doing my best to build it loosely so that it can develop as the world changes, as our kids grow, and as our family evolves. Am I putting too much stock into it? Probably. Times change and sometimes there is a pandemic. But I am pumped up about little joys in this crazy state of the world. Maybe you can find some inspiration for traditions too.
We started sending a holiday card in 2013 (two years into our marriage). We send a New Years card so that if for any reason we are delayed in getting them in the mail, there is no pressure. Highly recommend! Until now, I’ve always remembered to save a copy, but haven’t displayed them in any way. We rarely get physical albums nowadays in our house, so this at least provides one or two photos from each year.
Yannes Family Santa Clause
I know I will lose some of you here. I have an inquisitive husband and I think my children are going to get that curious trait from him. So, when it comes to Santa, I would like to have clear communication about how our family interacts with the North Pole and the big guy himself. This made me think of one of our family’s favorite holiday movies, The Santa Clause. The “e” at the end of Clause makes this different from just the jolly dude, instead it’s a document or contract. I’ve started our Santa Clause with some basic questions, but as our kids have more ideas and concerns, we will check in with Santa to make amendments. Keep reading to see our Yannes Family Santa Clause.
We received a letter in the mail from Santa this year with kind words to our kids. I hope he will send us a letter each year or when he has something important to tell us. We'll also start working on our own letters to Santa. All those letters will certainly be memorialized in our Family Holiday Handbook.
We haven’t been going to church in person weekly during COVID times. Advent is a particularly wonderful time at church because the traditions, colors, and lessons are warming and exciting. We are trying some new Advent traditions at home this year; so, I plan to include some prayers in the Holiday Handbook. I adapted some prayers from here.
Annual Words and Lists
I started the annual goal lists 19 for 2019, 20 for 2020, and so on last year. Plus, we started selecting a word of the year as well. I’d like to keep track of these for as long as we choose to do them. I think they’ll be good capsules of what we were hoping for at certain points in our lives.
I make a random collection of cookies at Christmastime and we’ve come to enjoy them seasonally. I think it will be nice to keep these recipes together, along with some holiday drinks we’ve served at our holiday party over the years.
Carol Song Sheets
We’ve hosted a Christmas party for years and each year it has changed, but this year it will certainly be different. We’ve had a great tradition of caroling and I hope we get to do some form of that this year. But, in any case, I plan to include our carol book song sheets in the Family Holiday Guide.
I really do hope that this book sticks with us through the years and can bring us joyful memories. I’d love to hear if you have other ideas for a Family Holiday Handbook. Happy Thanksgiving!
Yannes Family Santa Clause (2020 Edition)
Why are Santa’s presents mostly for the kids?
Not everyone believes in Santa Claus, but those who do have more joyful holiday seasons year after year. He doesn’t require that each of us believes in him but hopes that his merry spirit graces children most of all. So, he focuses on delivering gifts to kids over adults every Christmas. We’ve asked Santa not to worry about Mom and Dad in our house.
How will Santa know what we’d like for Christmas and why doesn’t he bring us everything we ask for?
We will work on letters to Santa together and send them off to the North Pole. Santa likes to make sure that parents are OK with everything he plans to bring; so, sometimes he checks in with us before December 25.
Why do some kids get more presents than others?
Not all the presents under the tree are from Santa. He usually just brings a few special things for each of you. And in his traditional ways, he generally brings simple toys, books, or clothes. He is not really into electronics or bulky items that are tricky to transport. Mom and Dad fill in the gaps. We are fortunate to be able to have Christmas celebrations full of gifts, but not all families have our same fortune. So, it is important to remember to share our gifts, make donations, and give of our time to others, particularly during the Christmas season.
Why do we use Santa bags?
Santa bags are a tradition passed down from the Joyces and Santa really appreciates them because it means less wrapping work for his team! Remember to pull one thing out a time.
How does Santa get to our tree if we don’t have a fireplace?
Santa has bigger problems to deal with than houses without fireplaces! He uses magical keys to access homes without chimneys and apartment buildings as well.
How do I know which Santa is real?
There are a lot of Santas out there. They are at the shopping mall, holiday parties, in commercials, parades, everywhere! There is a great tradition to take pictures with Santa annually and have a chance to tell him what you’d most like for Christmas. That’s more than one guy can handle during the holiday season all over the world. So, Santa has helpers — jolly gentlemen who have special places in their hearts for Christmas and for children. They may not have all of Santa’s magic, but they are good listeners and will certainly get your conversations back to the North Pole. But, Santa does make time for some of these events; so, you never know when you may be speaking with the big guy himself!
How do we celebrate St. Nicholas Day?
Waiting for Christmas Day is hard for any kid! We celebrate St. Nicholas Day on December 6 so that we can enjoy some treats before the 25th. You are responsible for remembering to put your shoes out before bedtime on December 5 for Mom and Dad to fill with surprises. We’ll help you out for your first few years.
How will Santa stay safe from COVID-19?
Santa wears his mask. He is asking all families to stay in bed on Christmas Eve to help him properly social distance.