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The Most-Loved Christmas Traditions

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by Katie E (subscribe)
A mum who uses adventures and outings around town as an excuse to avoid the housework.
Published December 2nd 2012
Create some magical Christmas moments with your family
Christmas is a holiday filled with traditions. Why are these traditions so important? They serve as a link between the past and the present, reminding us about childhood joys. The fact that they have been passed down to us makes them so very special. More importantly, they can draw us closer together as families, neighbourhoods and communities.

Here is a list of our top five most-loved family Christmas traditions to inspire some memory-making fun.

1. Decorating the Christmas Tree

As the kids have grown up they have enjoyed participating in this ritual more and more. They take great pleasure in deciding where to place each and every ornament as if they were creating an artistic masterpiece. This is not just an activity for the kids though. More and more people are taking the time to carefully plan out and construct a themed or colour co-ordinated tree based on seasonal inspiration.

artificial christmas tree
By Jorge Barrios, via Wikimedia Commons

santa tree ornament
Most recent addition to our keepsake ornament collection

kids Christmas craft
We reminisce over the special keepsake ornaments and those that have been hand crafted with such care. For kids, Christmas ornament crafting ideas that are super easy and quite impressive check out this link. Victoria Button has also written a weekend notes article that provides some excellent kids craft ornament suggestions. There are always plenty of photos taken, especially when the final touches are complete with the star adorning the top of the tree. Don't forget to take the time to admire your hard work, perhaps by eating dinner by Christmas tree light as we do once the job is done.

2. Santa's Arrival

Santa starts popping up in all sorts of places other than the North Pole around early November. It's best to check online guides in October to decide how to celebrate Santa's big arrival as some events do require bookings. Many shopping centre based events offer free celebration activities such as a parade or show. It's amazing how much delight kids get from a cheery wave and early sighting of Santa. Tip: to avoid having to answer awkward questions about all the different Santas around the place, perhaps chose just one of these events for the kids to attend.

3. Christmas Lights Tour

The idea of decorating our homes with festive lights has become a growing Christmas custom. There are a number of different ways to enjoy viewing the lights from organised bus tours, to loading up the car for a drive around the suburbs. To give the environment a happy Christmas too try a walking Christmas lights tour. We dress-up in our festive outfits, pack our decorated torches and hit the local streets on foot.

torch flashlight
Ready for a 'green' Christmas lights tour

To find out the best lights displays in your local area keep an eye on your community newspaper, check out the online guides and listen closely as word of mouth recommendations often provide the best viewing experiences.

4. Christmas Eve Activities to Savour the Moment

The morning is spent undertaking a special Christmas craft or cooking activity which we deliver to our neighbours later in the day. The kids take great pride in seeing their morning efforts enjoyed by others. Check out these WN articles for some Christmas cookery inspiration - gingerbread house, Christmas biscuits, marshmallow puddings.

We watch a Christmas movie or carols by candlelight (a uniquely Australian tradition thanks to our warm weather) in the afternoon. In the evening, the kids set up a snack for Santa and his reindeer with an accompanying note to remind him of their good behaviour throughout the year. There is of course some essential reading as a bedtime story on Christmas Eve: Clement Clarke Moore's 'The Night Before Christmas'.

night before christmas
Holiday reading favourites

5. Christmas Day With the Family

Strangely this is the tradition where we have the least unique or specific elements set. We like to mix this day up a bit as we have no set venue and no set menu unlike a lot of other families. However, the one constant about this tradition is that we spend the day celebrating with family. It reminds us that after all the festive fuss it's not important where we are or what we're doing, just as long as we're together, sharing time with the people we most adore.

Starting new traditions can be just as important as preserving those long-standing ones. Sharing your family traditions with others can be an enriching experience for both parties. You never know which new customs you'll enjoy so much that you will just have to keep going for future years. Although it is acknowledged that not everyone celebrates Christmas, holiday traditions in general still have their place, helping to keep the magic of the season alive. Just remember, when celebrating Christmas traditions you don't need to spend a lot or create a lot of stress; the most-loved traditions will live on because of how they made people feel.

What are some of your family's favourite Christmas or holiday traditions and why are they so special?
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Why? To grow Christmas traditions that will carry on for generations.
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