Christmas Traditions?

Conor’s first Christmas is quickly approaching and the idea of creating everlasting Christmas traditions has been on mind. I don’t really remember us having a ton of Christmas traditions growing up. There were some activities that were always a constant..

  • When we decorated the tree we had to lay tinsel one strand at a time.  
  •  As we decorated we put on a Nat King Cole Christmas album that my Mom had as a girl, and listened to “I’m the Happiest Christmas tree”  
  • We did not open any presents until Christmas morning
  • When we came downstairs Christmas morning (as a group, there was no pre-entry into the living room allowed), after gushing over what Santa left, we then did stockings while Dad got into position with his supply of garbage bags.
  • Then the remainder of the morning my Dad handed out one present to everyone, and then we all opened together. Putting our wrapping in the bag, and moved on to the next.

    conor2
    Conor’s First Christmas

As I write these, I see that they aren’t so much “tradition” as they were protocol. I loved it though, and I have so many happy memories. I seemed to have carried on these “traditions” with R. Minus the tinsel… because, nobody does tinsel anymore.

This year we have made sure to have some photos taken to document the occasion. They turned out beautifully.

conorelf
Our sleepy little elf

I think we will make this an annual tradition of having photos taken around this time of year.

I have also been working on a stocking for Conor, so that he will have a special stocking that he an use year after year. R was of the opinion that I should buy a really nice one. I prefer to torture myself, so have been making him one. If it doesn’t turn out I’ll be buying one at a perfect time for discounts.

I thought an annual picture with Santa is a great tradition, and as parents I think we are contractually obligated. So, yesterday we decided to head out to the mall to get the first annual picture with Santa.  We thought we were smart arriving before the stores opened, as I noticed Santa was going to be taking pictures during that time too. Apparently not so smart, as half of the city evidently had the same idea.  We spent the next hour and a half in line, watching parents corral their kids, do their children’s hair and hearing screaming children as they made their way to visit the big man.

Conor promptly fell asleep in line. R kept giving me “the look”, and suggested that maybe we come back another time. I explained to him any other time would be just as busy, and we need to get this done or we are essentially bad parents. After meandering through Santa’s forest for over an hour an a half, with the sounds of Goldfish Crackers crunching below my feet.. I was starting to wish we had opted to come back.  Crossing the wooden foot bridge to the throne area (does Santa sit on a throne?), I caught a glimpse of the man of the hour. My heart sank a bit. From the side I could see his real beard beneath his fake beard, and he just wasn’t the Santa I was hoping to have. I turned to R and said “Seriously?”. R laughed and said, “I’m sure it looks different on camera and from a front angle”.

Luckily he was right. We tried and tried to wake Conor up, but when he is out, he is out. No matter how hard the elf lady jingled her bells or yelled out his name.. nothing. We did get a big yawn, a one eyed glance and then back to sleep. I was also pressured into buying the various packages that they offer. I now own about 50 wallet sizes, a number of 5×7 and 8 x10,  and R and I each have a key chain of this magical moment.

img_2718
The magical moment. We were all exhausted. 

So far, we know Santa photo will be an annual tradition. I’ll have to have them done in early November when the lines aren’t horrible. I may scale back on the package!

I know that we’ll hang our stockings and do the cookies for Santa thing, read the night before Christmas etc.

What other traditions are there? I’d love to hear what traditions you share with your families.

 

 

 

 

 

First Halloween

Even though Conor is only a month old, I felt like I would be a bad Daddy if I didn’t celebrate his first Halloween.  R took Conor out for the day Sunday to run errands and visit his cousins Aaliyah and Maxim and Auntie Erika. This time allowed me to dip into the fabric stash and make the little man a Halloween costume.  This year he was a Garden Gnome!! I chose this because well its cute.. and also Garden Gnomes are rather stationary, kind of like Conor.

img_2620
He was pretty cuddly and irresistible 

It wasn’t so difficult.  First I used the red felt to make both his hat and his boots.  The key is to measure the circumference of his head, create a tall cone and then sew the straight edge and turn it right side out.  The tutorial I followed is here. It is very good to give you a base to work from and can be used for any size.

Now everything else I basically made up.  I sewed his blue jacket, and didn’t have yellow buttons so I painted buttons to look a bit more magical. I used a soft fleece for his jacket and sewed it in a size that was about twice what he needed. This allowed me enough room to belt the jacket and create the Gnomey over sized coat.

fullsizerender
The finished product. 

Rather than sewing pants, I opted to use a pair of pants that currently fit Conor.  I could have made him pants.. but the reality.. they are just pants, use what you have.

I made a basic black belt  by sewing black fabric into a rectangle, and made it about 4 inches longer than what Conor’s waist is, and added Velcro for the closure. This was so that I could adjust according to his waist etc as needed. I then embellished the belt with yellow felt to create the buckle. I cut a square the same height as the width of the belt, then folded it in half and cut out the middle. (like making a paper snow flake). Rather than sewing it on I hot glued it.  That is what is great about using felt, it glues really well. Technically the hat could have been glued too rather than sewed.

I wasn’t going to buy boots and paint them, and well.. he is only a month old, he doesn’t walk.  So I used the same red felt that I made the hat with, and created his red booties.

I had white faux fur that the fabric store called “rabbit fur”. I used that to make the beard and eyebrows.  The great thing about the beard is that once I hand stitched each end to the red hat, the beard actually becomes the chin strap to hold the hat on.  I opted to hot glue rectangles of the fur on to the hat to act as Gnome eyebrows.

That was it!  Easy peasy. It probably took me an hour and a half…

We only went trick or treating to a couple of houses, just to say we did. He went to Auntie Jenn’s house and our other neighbours.  Can’t wait until next year, he’ll be a year old and we can hit a few more houses!!

Happy Halloween!!