It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and Christmas is coming fast, so I thought I would share our family Christmas traditions, some old, some newer, some passed down and some we started ourselves. I love Christmas. We have has a couple of challenging ones but we mostly try to make them fun, enjoyable and about making our family happy. We tend to do what we want and what works for us. These are also simple and not stressful for any of us. I don’t believe that Christmas and traditions should make it more work or make it not fun for anyone.
A new bauble every year
We started this when we got married. Each year, we choose a new bauble each for the tree. We find funny little shops or visit Christmassy places or small businesses that make them and we choose one each. As the children came along we kept this up and now our tree is an eclectic mix of baubles chosen by all four of us. This year we have a sparkly beetle bauble added to the tree courtesy of my son. We plan to keep this up until they leave us to make their own homes.
I love baking and cooking and nothing says Christmas to me more than having home made goodies in the house. We make our own Christmas cake and mince pies and we decorate our own gingerbread houses. Because we have food allergies baking means I know we are eating food that is safe for us and it’s fun too.
We have a hand made re usable Advent calendar that I can fill with sweets or treats. This makes it fun and also is a little more eco friendly. Again, because of food allergies, it’s easier and safer, although there are a lot of excellent advent calendars out there that are safe for people with food allergies or food preferences now.
I love the smell of Christmas. Spicy, warm and cosy. So I tend to use essential oils in a burner or Christmas candles around the house to make the place smell delightful. It’s also a quick way to make the place feel more Christmassy and nice for guests.
Christmas gift opening on Christmas Eve
As a child, we were allowed to open one gift on Christmas Eve, before we went to bed, after we had been to the Christmas Eve church service or Midnight Mass. I love this, and we do this now with our children. It’s great to set the mood and bring in the Christmas joy.
I know not everyone is a fan of these and I am NOT advocating fast fashion but I love a Christmas jumper and we have a few in our house. We buy them second hand or keep them for another year, and wear them with joy as soon as is reasonably allowed. I like wearing mine at work and the more fun, glittery and colourful the better.
Christmas carols services
Not everyone loves or does this but I love a traditional carol concert with candles and proper Christmas carols. I was in a choir at school for all of my school life and every year we sang at various churches and places all through December with glorious Christmas carols and hymns and it’s still soemthing that makes Christmas feel like it’s started for me. Our teen’s school does a carol concert and it’s the highlight of our end of term to go and sing along with other families and then have a mince pie and mulled wine afterwards.
We love them at home and we love to visit places where they are on display. Be it London, Kew, Bangkok when we are visiting family, or friends houses, nothing says Christmas to me than Christmas lights. It’s source of domestic dispute that I don’t think we have enough of them at home.
Doing things that make us happy
This is a tough one and not everyone agrees. But we have come to realise that for us, a slow, gentle, private Christmas doing what we like, eating what we like, in our own home, wearing clothes we feel comfy in, in a relaxed way is what works for us. I love cooking Christmas dinner, and feeding my family, and having a gentle and easy day. We have spent Christmas away in Thailand and loved that and plan to do that agian, and we have been away to France too, where we had a slow, snowy French Christmas which was bliss, but for us, it’s about being happy and content and we stopped worrying about rushing around, buying lots of gifts for others, spending lots of money, stressing about perfect for visitors. It’s much easier and makes it more about enjoying our time.
A strict budget and not spending to excess
This is another one that often pushes buttons. We do not spend a lot of money at Christmas. We budget very strictly and we stick to experiences, things we know we want or need and making it about love and happiness and not expensive items or melting the credit card. Stuff, clutter, things and expense are not fun. We work on want, need, read, wear and treats. It works well and our children have never complained and do not go without, but they also don’t live in a world where we spend thousands on stuff they don’t need.
Santa isn’t real
We have never told our children Santa was real. This caused much drama in the school playground when other parents realided we were not going to play along with Santa and him being real but I don’t believe in either making our children think soemthing is there when it is not and also I don’t believe in forcing kids to behave in order to get presents. So we tell the children about him, they know he isn’t real but we still put a plate out for him his reindeer in fun and we talk about the tradtions around who people believe he is. It works and no one so far has been damaged or disapointed.
Our family Christmas traditions are just that. Ours. They work for us, and make us happy. To me, that’s what is most important about the whole season. If you can’t be happy and relaxed then is it worth the fuss? If you can’t enjoy it then what are you doing to change that?
What are your family Christmas traditions?