Christmas – Family Traditions

Last year I instigated a new family tradition and on Christmas Eve we all shared ‘Two stars and a wish’ – two happy memories of the past year and one desire for the next year. There are many traditions that surround the festive season but what about family traditions? You may choose to incorporate special activities from your childhood or create new ones.

  • Early in December I buy a classic Christmas story and write the date in it. These books stay in the sitting room for the month and are read to the children and as the years pass by, we are amassing a good collection. My favourites include The Night Before Christmas, Babushka, Jesus’ Christmas Party and The Jolly Christmas Postman.
  • Have an Advent calendar to mark down the days. It could be home-made with little drawers for each day, mini paper bags pegged on a string or a card calendar with windows to open. We have fabric calendars with pockets which I fill with tiny Christmas tree decorations. My mum made the calendars from kits and each child received one for their first Christmas. Each morning they add a new decoration to the children’s Christmas tree. You can buy similar kits on this website link.
  • We have an Advent candle wreath on the table and on each Sunday of Advent we light a candle while the last candle in the centre is lit on Christmas Day. The four candles (traditionally red) stand in the circle and represent hope, peace, love and joy. The fifth candle (traditionally white) represents the birth of Christ. For more information on Advent rings, visit this website.
  • There are also Christmas countdown Advent candles where a segment is burnt each day until Christmas but I tend to forget and then need to do a marathon burning session!
  • The children love the Playmobil nativity set which is brought out annually. We have added hedgehogs which amuse me especially when baby Jesus is cast from his manager and a hedgehog enjoys the bed of straw.
  • Consider ways to help your children think about those less fortunate than themselves. I especially like Operation Christmas Child which is run by Samaritan’s Purse who send gift-filled shoeboxes around the world to underprivileged children. Have a look at  www.operationchristmaschild.org.uk for more information.
  • Although I encourage children to make gifts for grandparents, it is also fun to take them Christmas shopping. Each child receives £2.00 per family member (£8.00 each) and off we go buy gifts. I recce the town to ensure there are plenty of shops with smaller gifts such as stickers, pocket-money toys, toiletries, cooking utensils, balls of string – more than you realise can be bought for £2.00. The children love it and if they spot each other in the same shop the gift is hidden behind a coat as they shuffle past each other.
  • Then of course there is decorating to be done. I love decorating the front door with lights, baubles and whatever else takes my fancy. The children enjoy making paper chains and paper stars but more about this in a future post on Christmas activities.This post is part of a Christmas theme of how I as a mum approach this season. As with anything, pick and choose the ideas that appeal to you – I don’t do all of them every year! However I have included all the activities, crafts and traditions that I have done over the past few years. Feel free to share your ideas as comments.
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