Let’s talk Christmas traditions!
My Christmas shopping has started and this is the time I start planning and preparing for our favourite time of year.
I’m the biggest Christmas geek. I love the decorations, the lights, the songs, everything. I thought as I became older I might become more cynical about the whole thing but luckily for me my husband enjoys the festive season as much as I do. Plus seeing it all through our children’s eyes makes it all the more magical.
When my husband and I first got married and had our eldest son, we set about making our Christmas traditions. We each had our own ideas but now we had become a family, it was time to merge them and make some new ones.
Our eldest son is now 8 and we have picked up quite a few traditions along the way.
1. Our oldest Christmas tradition is always having the decorations up on or by December 1st. I want our decorations to already be up as soon as the advent calendars come out!
2. While we do have the shop bought chocolate advent calendars, we also do our own advent traditions. The first is to put a food item or drink into a box each day. We then take the box on Christmas Eve and donate the contents to the food bank. We found it not only helps out those who are struggling this time of year, but also teaches the kids that Christmas is about giving not just receiving.
3. Our second advent tradition is giving the kids a book to unwrap every day from the 1st of December right up to Christmas day. The three of them take it in turns to unwrap the book and we read it together as a family.
4. Our local radio station does an annual toy and gift appeal for children who may otherwise not receive anything so the kids help to pick and wrap a gift each to donate. The boys hear the stories of those in need while we’re doing the morning school drop off, and they are always so keen to get involved.
5. We have an elf that comes to visit! We don’t do the traditional Elf On The Shelf because I find it a little creepy! (Sorry, I know that won’t be a popular opinion!) Our elf is similar in that it arrives on December 1st and reports back to Santa how good (or not!) the children have been. We don’t make him do mischievous things as some parents do, he just magically pops up in random places!
6. The Elf leaves on the day before Christmas and gifts each child a Christmas Eve box and a magic key for Santa.
Inside each box we put the following:
A Christmas story
Pyjamas and slippers
We used to include reindeer food (basically oats, glitter and metallic foil stars) to sprinkle in the grass outside but since the RSPCA advised against it, we no longer do it. Apparently it’s dangerous for birds and other animals so really not worth the risk
7. Since my daughter was born we started a new tradition of having breakfast with Santa. He would join in the merriment at our local carvery, who would put on breakfast with party hats, crackers and Christmas music.
After everyone has eaten, each child gets to sit with Santa and tell him what they want for Christmas.
The first year we did this, Anna was terrified of Santa! Last year she found him hilarious so it was much more successful!
It was one of our favourite events because it always felt so festive and it was lovely to be around other families enjoying themselves. Unfortunately our local carvery has changed hands so we won’t be able to do the event there this year. We have seen similar places that offer breakfast with Santa so hopefully our tradition will be able to continue.
8. After the children are tucked up in bed waiting for Santa to arrive, my husband and I exchange gifts. Christmas day is predominantly about the kids, and while we may have presents to open from other people on the day itself, we choose to have “our time” on Christmas Eve. We put on Christmas music and take it in turns to open a present.
It’s one of my favourite parts of Christmas. It’s like the calm before the chaotic storm of the following day!
9. One of my fondest memories of childhood Christmases was going to the cinema to watch a festive film with my parents and sister. I still remember being entranced watching The Miracle On 34th Street.
We watch a lot of Christmas films through December but we do try and watch at least one at the cinema.
Our local Odeon does a Movies For Juniors throughout the year where they show a children’s film for under £2. This is a massive saving on the normal price. The last couple of years they have shown Christmas films throughout December for the lower price. Last year they were showing Arthur Christmas which the kids loved. Plus it meant we could take the whole family without breaking the bank!
So there are our top 10 Christmas traditions. We’re always looking for new ideas so please let us know your own favourite festivities!