I’m one of those people who think that family Christmas traditions are important. Family life is a matter of moments, and traditions are a wonderful way of treasuring those moments in time. It builds your identity as a family and makes what you do unique, special and inclusive.
Christmas traditions don’t have to be as formal. It could be food you like to eat, the date you always put up the Christmas tree, or the fact you wrap presents while watching Love, Actually for the umpteenth time.
When I look back on my Christmases as a child I rarely remember what presents I gave or received, but I do remember my grandmother’s pavlova; laying out our special Santa sacks on Christmas Eve; watching Frosty the Snowman on TV; having a sneaky sip of Creme de Menthe on Christmas Day and knowing that the absolute best present would be from my mum and dad.
There’s something about the child-like joy at Christmas time that I’ve always kept. So much so that our new family Christmas tradition is putting the Christmas tree up over the October long weekend. Yes, October.
Last year the Elf on the Shelf made his first appearance at our place much to the delight of the kids. And opening the little windows of chocolate-filled advent calendars are always a much anticipated daily treat.
This year the kids are doing ‘secret Santa’ with each of us drawing a name out of a hat.
So what are our family Christmas traditions?
- The tree goes up over the October long weekend.
- We have our Christmas lights inside our home (we’d love to have them outside but we have no suitable power points, but it does make our house very festive!)
- We don our Santa hats on for a cheesy family photo every December and use it to make photo cards for family and friends.
- The kids give their friends Christmas cards at school, with mini candy canes sticky-taped to the inside.
- We always pick one night to take the kids on a drive to see the best Christmas lights in our area.
- The kids are allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve.
- We leave cookies and Root Beer for Santa, carrots for the reindeer.
- Presents are always at dawn – I have no hope of trying to get anyone to wait until after breakfast.
- Parents are awake at dawn – see above – and because no one can open their presents without mum and dad being there.
- We have a traditional roast lunch at my mother’s or my mother-in-law’s (we alternate years).
- Its no longer my grandmother’s, but it is my pavlova we have for dessert.
The beauty of traditions is that they can be changed, and may evolve over time. We’ve taken the best of my family’s traditions with the best of my husband’s and added in a few new ones of our own.
Whatever your family Christmas traditions are, we hope they are magical.