What Are Your Family Traditions During the Holiday Season?

I love this time of year. And not just for all the gifts and parties. I can't get enough of all the homes decked out in bright lights, and the festive holiday cards I receive from friends and family near and far? More, please! But what I really love are all the holiday traditions that bring my family closer together.

For starters, every year we spend an entire evening building (and snacking on) a gingerbread house. Some years it's a gingerbread train or tractor, but most years it's some version of a house. It's fun and fab way to get rid of all those Halloween candy leftovers!

And then each year we add a few more Christmas ornaments to the tree depending on what the kids are interested in. I write the year on the bottom with a Sharpie as a reminder what was "cool" that year. This year, we've added Hello Kitty for my daughter, and I'm probably going to MacGyver one of her Lalaloopsy Mini Dolls into an ornament before the end of the year.

We also count down to the big day with Advent Calendars, make a trip to our local fire station to donate new toys to the less fortunate and spend Christmas Eve at my parents' house. And of course there's our annual holiday party, complete with the $10 White Elephant game.

But this year I'm adding one more tradition. I've been seeing these The Elf on the Shelf book and doll gift sets everywhere and it looks like another fun way to get the kids excited about Christmas. And I can always use another set of eyes to see if the kids are being naughty or nice.

What about you? What are your holiday family traditions? Share in the comments below.

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