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Christmas is a time for traditions, a time for making memories with your loved ones.  When I ask my kids what some of their favorite Christmas memories are, they always seem to mention memories centered around our family traditions. For us, it’s what makes the holidays have that warm and cozy feel.

I am a big believer in holiday traditions, and for my family it’s not just the  Christmas routines, mind you, I’ve got traditions for practically every holiday of the year. If anything, I think I tend to ere on the side of OVER-doing it. But Christmas is the biggie, the granddaddy, the big kahuna of holidays. The other holidays are just warming me up for the grand finale holiday of the year.

I’ve been at this mom business for a long time, and over the years I’ve added some new traditions and dropped others which didn’t stand the test of time. Today I’m going to tell you about one of my family’s favorite Christmas Eve traditions. (I think this will be the 17th year for this one.) This is our twist on an ornament exchange. It’s a fun, easy and inexpensive way to have fun together and as a bonus, when the kids grow up and leave the house, they’ll have a collection of ornaments (and memories) to take with them for when they have their own tree to decorate.

Ornament Exchange Game


All you need are…

  • an ornament for each person (I like to get mine dirt cheap on the day after Christmas for the NEXT year’s exchange.)
  • a small gift bag for each person
  • a favorite Christmas story
  • and maybe some yummy cookies and hot chocolate (totally optional, but who wants to ignore an excuse for some yummy treats, right?)

These are the ornaments for this year's exchange. I try to choose a different theme for each year. This year...sparkly.

These super cute bags came from the Dollar Store..8 for a dollar. Do you love that as much as I do?

Put each ornament in a separate bag and tape it shut so the kiddies can't peek.

Pick a favorite Christmas story. We usually use The Night Before Christmas, but on occasion we've used the Grinch.

Have all the kiddies sit in a circle on the floor and give each one a sealed bag. Now here's where the fun begins. Have an adult read the story and every time the word "the" is read, the kids pass their gift bag to the left. Every time. That's a lot of "the's", 27 if I counted correctly.

And just for fun, because that's how we roll at our house...heehee, we added a "The End" at the end for one final pass. Then open the bags to see the ornaments. We've discovered that it's helpful to use a Sharpie to mark the ornaments with each child's initials. This could aviod an argument over whose ornament is whose, not that my family would argue over such a silly thing.

Have some easy Christmas fun and create some traditions and memories with your family this year!

Enjoy your Coffee Break


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