I don’t know about you, but I’ve always loved the build-up to Christmas, often more so than even the big event itself. When I think back to what I loved so much about Christmas as a child, it was a series of little rituals which in turn meant the big day was getting closer.
It would start with the digging out of my beloved Christmas LP. I’d play that crackly old record over and over again. The cover opened out to reveal the most beautiful pop-up Christmas scene imaginable of Santa’s cottage in the snow, complete with toy-laden sleigh and reindeer parked out the front. I would lay on my tummy on the floor and pour over every detail for hours on end.
It was little rituals such as this which fueled my festive spirit, and by the time Christmas Eve arrived I thought I would burst with excitement.
Now that I am a mum of three, the build-up is one of stress and panic rather than excitement as I try to get everything done in time to ensure a stress-free Christmas (yeah right!). But in the midst of all the chaos and frenzy of end of school year assemblies and concerts, meal planning and shopping, and last minute dashes to the mall, I try to remember how exciting this time is for the kids.
I want to see it through their eyes and share in that excitement with them, and I have found the best way to do this is through repeating some favourite traditions each year. It is a great way to bond and create some special memories that will be with all of you for life.
Here’s some of the things that have become tradition in our house each year:
1. The Countdown
Counting down to Christmas is a big deal when you are a kid. Whatever way you choose to countdown the days, make sure you all stop what you are doing for a few moments and do it together.
2. Christmas Cookies
We bake and decorate Christmas cookies together each year, then the kids wrap them up into little parcels and give them to friends and people in the community. As an extra this year, we also made our first attempt at putting together and decorating a gingerbread house…let’s just say we need more practice!
3. Photo With Santa
Being a long way from our family, our photo with Santa has traditionally served as our annual e-Seasons Greetings to the Grandparents back home. It is fun to compare them year-on-year, and the growing collection serves as a heart-warming memory that we will treasure forever. It is becoming less popular with the kids as they now think they are too old for such things, so it has been decided that next year it shall be replaced with a family photo with each of us wearing a different Christmas hat.
4. The Christmas Tree
There are so many wonderful ways you can personalise your Christmas Tree experience and make it into a family ritual. Our tree is a time capsule of every Christmas that has gone before, with a home on its branches for every decoration made at preschool, kindy and school for the last 10 years. We always have to wear Christmas hats when decorating it, whilst listening to Christmas songs, and burning Crabtree & Evelyn Mulled Wine fragrance oil. We also head out to the shops together to choose one new special decoration for the tree each year.
5. Christmas Lights
Heading out into the local community to see the streets and houses that are decorated is one of our favourite activities. It is a chance to get the real feel of Christmas, everyone you pass on the street is in a good mood, and we get to see so many of our neighbours and friends. The perfect activity to get you in the festive spirit.
Whatever you like to do at Christmas, make it a tradition that you do each year. The important thing is to make some time to get excited and enjoy the build-up and anticipation. Then if the big event itself goes a bit belly-up, at least you will have had some fun getting there!