Writer, adventurer and wrangler to little people and pets. Follow me on Instagram @whereiholiday.
Published November 29th 2012
Second only to their birthday, Christmas is one of the most eagerly anticipated holidays by my children. It's not the presents, or so they say, but the traditions and activities that surround Christmas that make is so memorable and desireable.
Each family is unique and I enjoy hearing about and being inspired by the traditions and stories that support the enjoyment and celebration of the holiday season. Here are a few traditions that my family enjoys.
Annual Christmas Ornament Each year my boys get to choose a new ornament for the tree. It can be anything they like and is usually reflective of their interests at the time. My oldest picked out a dog in a Santa hat the year we got our dog. Last year my youngest selected a kangaroo because he had just learned the song Six White Boomers. They look forward to selecting their ornaments and love unwrapping them when it is time to trim the tree.
Donations We talk about Christmas being a time to be thankful and grateful, show love for your family and kindness to those less fortunate. We select several gifts to include either in the Wishing Tree appeal or similar toy drive donations. The care and attention the boys put into selecting the gifts is reflective of their desire to ensure that they help bring a smile to another child on Christmas.
Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal (image courtesty of Kmart)
We also make sure to add a little extra to our food shop each week to donate to the food drives. On our last shop my son said, "Mum, the Christmas decorations are up, shouldn't we buy some food to help other people?". For him, Christmas has become linked to the spirit of giving to others. While they have a strong sense of community spirit and giving through the year, they take extra focus during Christmas.
Treats for Santa and the Reindeer On Christmas Eve we bake cookies for Santa and leave them out with a glass of milk and some carrots for the reindeer. It's no wonder that Santa has a belly that shakes like a bowl full of jelly!
The Myer Christmas window has been our family's tradition since I was a little girl, and now that I have a child of my own I'm so excited about continuing that! Shortbread was always a typical Christmas good for my brother and I so I'm going to try making some with my son this year - if I can produce something edible, that might become a new one as well.
We've just started buying Christmas pajamas to open on Christmas Eve. They don't actually come from anyone, and the note says "from your secret admirer". We get them from Peter Alexander so everyone matches, but still has something different. It's lots of fun all having matching pajamas on Christmas morning
My favorite childhood Christmas tradition was Santa coming round our neighbourhood in his fire truck and throwing lollies out. For our son we do the yearly photo with Santa, along with the usual decorating the tree, cooking of all the Christmas goodies, and on Christmas day we lift all the 'healthy' eating rules. Thanks for the reminder about giving a gift to those less fortunate; it's not only a great way to give back to the community and teach our children to be generous to others in their times of need, but knowing your gift will put a smile on a child's face is the greatest gift ever.
The traditions that instill a sense of wonder and joy that they carry with them for life....and pass on to their children. Traditions that teach them to share that happiness with others, the ones that help them grow up with a sense of heart and kindness.