I've been meaning to post this for awhile, inspired by others' who are sharing their traditions. We do quite a lot of traditions that most people do a daily advent--scripture reading about Christ and singing a Christmas Carol, gift exchanges with family, our neighborhood doesn't do 'neighbor gifts' anymore we donate our budget for that to the needy, we send books to a family in Argentina (an old mission companion of mine) since books are very expensive for them to buy, we try to go to Temple Square when it's not too cold, see the lights around the neighborhood and visit a nearby light display (this usually costs so we don't always do it), we are fortunate that our older sons are in choir at school so we get to go to their free Christmas concerts, painting Christmas cookies, white elephant parties, new jammies on Christmas Eve. . .
But I was thinking the most meaningful tradition is one I got on my mission. An elder told me how they were going to the church members' and those listening to the discussions and share with them this idea. They would talk about the gift of Jesus Christ from our Heavenly Father, then about the gifts Jesus Christ had given us (salvation, Holy Ghost. . .). Then he would challenge each person to write a gift they were going to give Jesus this year. It was private, then put it in an empty film container (remember those?). Then he left it with them to open the next year and see if they followed through and could make a new gift or keep it. So we have been doing it now and I finally bought this cute box last year to put them in--before the papers were in a plastic star ornament which stopped closing-it's been 14 years! Anyway, some years I have failed miserably to give sufficiently my 'gift' which really is a gift to myself (and my family) in the end. I begin to think about what my gift might be when this season rolls around and I evaluate my past gift. It has helped me keep Christ the focus. If you decide you want to do this I suggest a Family Night because we used to do it Christmas Day and sometimes it got forgotten in the HUB BUB and we would do it but later. This present is the only one under our tree for awhile. I am so grateful to that elder for sharing that idea with me!