A chill is in the air and Christmas traditions are beckoning. During this time of year, centering the season on the birth of Christ is by far our first priority but we also have some fun traditions with the kids.  One of my personal favorites is baking cookies with my kids.  I vividly remember helping bake with my grandmothers and (especially) my mom.  I can still see myself scooping flour and sugar and pouring them into the bowl.  I watched oh so intently as my mom cracked the eggs and wished I was old enough to do it myself but completely content in pouring them into the batter.  Then the best part came  – rolling out the cookie dough and then shaping or cutting them out.  We’d go play while they baked in the oven until you could smell the sweet aroma of fresh cookies wafting throughout the house.  You didn’t need to tell us they were ready.  We’d impatiently wait for them to cool just enough so we wouldn’t burn our mouths. Somehow I don’t think those cookies would have tasted quite as good as they did if my mom (and grandmothers) hadn’t allowed us to do the simple task of pouring in ingredients and getting a few stirs with the wooden spoon before my arm was too tired.

My sister-in-law came up with a brilliant plan to have a cousins’ movie night and watch the Polar Express.  We’d give them a ticket to board the train and serve them hot chocolate during the movie.  I wish this could be a tradition we could keep for years to come – I don’t know that it will realistically happen.  This is my first Christmas with my side of the family since getting married.  It’s just the way it has worked out.  Maybe we’ll get to do this once again in the future sometime.

Niki printed out tickets, cut them out, and colored them in for her cousins.

All nine of the cousins came over to grandma’s house and got dressed in their jammies.  My sister-in-laws and myself prepped for the movie while grandma enjoyed snuggling her two youngest grandbabies.


Emma was actually snuggling into grandma so sweetly until I messed it up by taking a picture of them with the flash.

All the kids gathered on the couches and we started the movie.  Aunt Melissa passed out their tickets to board the train and later punched them as the conductor on the train was punching the other children’s tickets.  They were so stinkin’ cute!  The kids ranged from 2 to 17 (although Niki only participated in the watching and drinking hot chocolate part).  The absolute amazing part is that all six of the little kids held their tickets through the ENTIRE movie.  I expected them all over the living room within minutes.

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This was a huge treat for the kids.  They are not allowed to have food and drinks in the living room – for obvious reasons.  I only filled their mugs half way in hopes there would be less chance of spills.  Success!  We also had some popcorn towards the middle of the movie even though that wasn’t part of the story.  

Finally, we passed out a jingle bell to each one of the kids towards the end of the movie.  Aunt Melissa had such a great idea and I’m glad we got to do it with the kids.  They really enjoyed it and the kids got way more into it than I was expecting.  Yay for a great cousins’ movie night!