Does your family pick out special new ornaments each year to add to the tree? I was wishy-washy about this tradition at first, but now it's so sweet to unpack the old ornaments from Christmases past.
The hardest part still is letting the kids pick out whatever they want, no matter how tacky. The good news is, according to my oldest sister, that when they grow up you can tease them mercilessly about those choices. (She is forced to hang a Snooki on her tree each year, but I think she does so fondly now.)
The second hardest part is letting them handle those special, often fragile ornaments. I've learned to put a blanket down and hope for the best, although one or two have been damaged by little hands.
So, where to go? We've got you covered.
The Christmas Tree
Every day is Christmas at this hidden gem just outside Benton Harbor. The kids' ornaments selection was not the biggest when we visited, but they might have just the right ones for your family. Afterward: Brunch at the Mason Jar, hot chocolate at the South Bend Chocolate Cafe or a twirl around the Silver Beach Carousel.
Butler Tree Farm
You can pick out your own tree AND ornaments at this family farm. Afterward: Warm specialty drinks and cookies at the Baker's Rhapsody or lunch at Zeke's.
This holiday bazaar in South Haven has unique handmade options and gift ideas galore. Afterward: Go skating at the outdoor rink down the block or grab a delicious treat from Julia's.
Tuck's The Christmas Shop
This adorable little shop is probably not ideal for hands little ones -- I almost had several heart attacks last year with our 2-year-old -- but it is a wonderful spot for older kids to peruse and pick out their favorites. Afterward: Head to Kilwins or Uncommon Ground for a hot cocoa.
Frankenmuth (and online)
We've ordered from Bronners online a couple different years and it's always exciting to flip through the catalog and find just the right ornament. The selection is second to none, but it can be overwhelming for little ones. Pick just a page or two for them to choose from if you want to keep things simple. Head to the store in picturesque Frankenmuth for a real treat.
Target or Meijer
While not as quaint as the other options, both retailers have endless affordable (and cute!) options. There is no shame in taking the easy route here.