For the love of tradition

This morning my children were up well before the sun to rush out and discover their surprises from St. Nicholas. They tend to be early risers, anyway, but today was an especially early and exciting morning. Alas, I don't have as beautiful of St. Nicholas photos as I've had in years past.

st nick1

What I do have more than makes up for it, though:

*A simple celebration that is both exciting and reassuring, something that holds our family in its magical embrace year after year.

*Something that we have been doing without fail since the first year we were parents, so strong in its consistency, its link to the past (our own, and the many families before us who have celebrated in similar ways), and the future.

st nick3

*Three new books to add to our collection, all three of which choked me up as I read them aloud today.

st nick2

*Excitement, joy, magic, fun, and love.

What traditions does your family hold dear at this time of year?