fliz0ntoast requested that I write some stuff about my family (traditions/hopes for the new year/funny quirks). I've already mentioned that I tend to be a big scrooge. I don't really get into the Christmas spirit until December 24th, and then I'm over it by the end of the 25th. So my family does all the decorating and Christmas song playing.
Josh always puts up the tree around Thanksgiving, and the kids help him decorate. We have a tradition of decorating our (fake) tree with pipe cleaners. It started when we were young and poor, but everyone loved creating their own ornaments so much that we've kept up with it every year. So our tree may not be the prettiest one, but everyone has a blast putting it up. Any guests are always given pipe cleaners to make and add an ornament to the tree. I always hang up exactly one ornament, a pipe cleaner Santa in his sleigh being pulled by a reindeer (it used to be all eight reindeer, but we lost a good many of them over the years).
[Christmas Spoilers!]I also hang all of the candy canes on the tree from “Santa” every Christmas Eve.
We also have a tradition where everyone gets to open one Christmas present on Christmas Eve. That tradition actually came from my dad's side of the family, and my mom tried to put a stop to it but we never let her. It's the best part of Christmas Eve!
We don't have a whole lot of other traditions that we do from year to year. As mentioned in a previous post, the kids can play with their stockings or any toys left unwrapped, but that's mostly so Josh and I can sleep longer on Christmas morning.
We do have a birthday tradition that I inadvertently started: birthday scavenger hunts. I did this the first year we moved here, setting up clues to find the kids' handmade cards. But once I did that, the kids loved it and it's become an annual tradition for all of them. We run out of hiding places, but the kids still insist on their birthday scavenger hunts. I've gotten to where I'll recruit Eden and Ivy to draw clues now since they're good artists and know a lot more about what fandoms everyone's into, so I've been able to pawn the drawing part off on them for the last few times. I still love doing it for them, and I love how happy it makes them for such a simple and cheap idea.
As for my hopes for the new year...I hope that the kids continue to do well in school, and that they're able to start getting caught up on math (which we are way behind in). I hope that I can start making this a working homestead again. I plan to focus on my garden and chickens this year – back to basics – and I really want to start making progress on our little homestead again. I'm tired of feeling like a failure in that department, and I should have some more time to devote to everything now that the kids are in school. I also hope that I can eventually figure out how to fix my novel so that I can declare the thing finally finished. I also hope we can start saving up enough money to make some much-needed improvements around here.