I love this time of year, Christmas is coming and the excitement is brewing with all the decorations, lights, talk about Father Christmas and summer holidays.
In the past, I have always found the month of November stressful. Before Frankie was born I worked in a role where I had a very large scale event on at the end of every November, so I never thought about Christmas until December. Then the three weeks of lead up just seemed to go in the blink of an eye. It always made me feel sad, because I wanted to feel Christmas, feel the excitement, the celebrations but it all went so fast and then boxing day was here with hangovers from indulging in too much sugar, food and alcohol.
Since having children I knew something needed to change, to make the lead up to Christmas a special time. It’s meant to be a time of fun and happiness, not a time of stress and hurriedness. In this day an age where seasonal celebrations are easily lost to material consumerism, I think it’s important to let my children feel what Christmas is all about, just like the memories that connect me with this time of year (fluffy pudding, pinetrees, my cousins visiting, the beach, Griffins sampler boxes with pink waffer biscuits, my nana cooking a ham in the old copper, eating raw pavlova mixture, and retro Christmas decorations) These things all fill my soul up with happiness whenever I think about them or see them. I hope to help my children create their own memories that will last for years to come and they to can connect the smells, the food, family time, the beach and everything else that Christmas is about for our family and feel that same sort of happiness.
When creating rituals/traditions you do each year, I think it’s important to make sure they work for your family. Don’t try and do everything that is fashionable at the time, because it just leads to more stress and consumerism. Take your time and enjoy the weeks leading up to Christmas. Below is what we do in the lead up to our Christmas. It’s simple rituals that create warmth and comfort for our family.
Christmas Advent House
Before I had children I found a beautiful Christmas advent house in a local store. My husband and I have used it every year since, and before children, we gave each other random little tidbits throughout December. Once Alex turned two we started the traditional countdown with him and this year Frankie will also be old enough to follow along.
The little doors of the house are opened up each morning and there is a little gold chocolate coin waiting behind the door. The house plays a Christmas carol and the little characters move while the lights in the snowy street glimmer. It really is a pretty sight and why I instantly fell in love with it.
There are so many different advent calendars our there, especially ones that can be used each year which in my opinion is part of creating the memory. Check Pinterest for inspiration for making a homemade calendar.
The Christmas Tree
When we were children, getting the Christmas Tree was probably the highlight of the whole lead up to Christmas ( apart from eating raw pavlova mixture when my nana made the pavs). Dad, my brother and I would jump into the farm truck and drive down the road to go ‘Christmas Tree Hunting’. This was back in the 1980’s and I am sure most people back then flogged a small Pinetree off the side of the road. I do have funny memories of dad telling us to lie down or he would be hiding behind a small tree as a random car drove past. I also have the funniest memory of going ‘Christmas Tree Hunting’ with my friends to find a tree in their van, the tree ended up standing up with the top outside the sunroof and we drove down the road singing Christmas Carols at the top of our voices alongside the tree (heads popped outside the sunroof). We had a few interesting looks from a couple of the neighbours. Those were the days when you could do that sort of thing.
However, you decide to find, or buy your Christmas tree, make it into an adventure. The adventure is all part of creating a lasting memory.
Alex loves decorating, he has already decorated part of his bedroom with some Christmas decorations. This year we have also made a number of decorations and I try and buy a new decoration for the kids each year. This year they each have a cute mini knitted Christmas cracker that I purchased at our Kindy Mums Christmas market.
This is something I started last year, it’s a take on a Rudolf Steiner and Christian tradition of lighting a candle for the four Sundays before Christmas. We have actually started this tradition early this year as I bought some beautiful candlesticks at a market and as soon as Frankie and Alex saw them, they thought we should light them at dinner time. So each evening meal we light the candles and have them sitting at the dinner table with us. Candles just make dinner times extra special, and it’s a nice way to shift from the busyness of the year to slow down to the lead up to summer and our holidays.
Along with these special traditions for our family, we will go for a drive to see the local Christmas lights and we have a lovely Christmas grotto that I have taken Alex and Frankie to see Father Christmas. Our Christmas Day’s are rotated each year between our families so that we don’t have to rush from one place to another on Christmas Day and can enjoy feasting, drinks, way to much sugar and watching the kids have fun.
I would love to know what some of your family traditions are or memories that stand out from your own childhood or maybe something that you are going to start doing this year.
Have a fun filled and magical December.