Holiday magic

Readers tell us how they keep it alive

One year Santa left a boot print on our hearth. The next, "sleigh’ bells were strewn on the lawn. And last year, Santa must have torn his coat on the way back up our chimney, because our son discovered a piece of fuzzy, red fabric stuck to the fireplace grille Christmas morning.

Did Santa really come? The evidence clearly pointed to it, the kids decided. Worked for me.

A few years ago I heard confectioner’s sugar makes convincing fake snow. It was fun to spot the footprint early Christmas morning and say, "Oh my gosh, Noah, look at this footprint! Where did it come from?" (Note: this works best with younger kids, who won’t be concerned that snow from Santa’s boot would have melted).

The bells were fun, too, as I tripped over them on our snowy lawn. "Huh. Where did they come from?" I asked.

"Santa! It’s his! From his sleigh!" Noah said.

My husband came up with the red fabric on the fireplace grille. There was no doubt as to who left it.

Who knows what else he’ll leave behind this year?

Jennifer DuBose, mom of Noah, 7, and Holly, 4½, Naperville

Every year, usually around Halloween, we decide what we absolutely HAVE to do this holiday season. We write them on Post-its and stick them to the wall. As we do each item, we pull the Post-it off and stick it to a memento from the activity, then put them in a memory box or scrapbook. Things that never made the list: sending cards and cleaning. Things that made the list: a dreidel party with 400 latkes and making a pinewood derby car.

Angela Allyn, mom of Maya, 11, Alec, 8, and Tess, 5, Evanston

For the past eight years, my husband and I have cut down our Christmas tree on Thanksgiving Day. Once our son, Sam, came along it was only natural the three of us go together. The peacefulness of the farm and the giggles echoing through the trees start our holiday season off right. It’s nice for it to be just the three of us with no rushing to see family, battling the crowds or holiday traffic.

We let Sam pick the tree (with our veto power), then head home, and decorate after dinner.

Meagan and Ben Provencher, parents of Sam, 4, Geneva

I think it’s important to introduce children to customs and traditions of their own as well as others. We read books about Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and Christmas. We learn children’s songs, get out the guitar and make cookies and potato latkes.

Lisa Karimer Torem, mom of Emily, 16, Allison, 14, and Madeline, 5, Chicago

Our holiday season begins the day after Thanksgiving. We put the tree up and decorate the house. And we look at our wooden creche—the real meaning of Christmas.

But nothing compares to the Christmas Eve and Day celebrations: the pageant and service at church, opening presents and being with family.

Kim Johnson, mom of Alex, 10, and Greg, 6, Woodridge

Kids Eat Chicago

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