Family traditions are important year round but it’s definitely at this time of year that parents look to create meaning and memories for our little people.
Tradition is what binds are hearts as a unit, it gives our coming together relevance and it makes for memories in year to come. The things that are repeated are what stay with us. And it’s their repetition that makes them expected and meaningful. December is a month to celebrate family and the festive season, it’s also the perfect chance to continue the traditions of your own parents (and the generations before them) or to begin your own family traditions.
Here are eight ideas to create new traditions for your family this Christmas:
The tech-friendly tradition: Portable North Pole
Portable North Pole is one of my favourite traditions we’ve introduced to our family for Christmas. I stumbled up on this amazing app three years back when a friend told me about it and it’s been bringing magic to our home every Christmas since. It’s an absolutely stunning personalised Santa movie to your child incorporating your child’s pictures, present requests and whether they have made the naughty or nice list. Don’t be off put that this is a techy tradition, its truly magical and embraces all the whimsy and North Pole gorgeousness that you imagine as a child. There is a short free version or an extended version for XX, worth every cent.
Let the children choose: The buy a new decoration tradition
This might seem a bit simple but traditions are what you make them. Buying a new ornament can be a special morning out! Once school holidays begins take the children to the shops and admire the centre’s decorations, enjoy a milkshake and then head to your favourite retailer to let the kids each choose a new single ornament for on the tree. Watch them take this responsibility very seriously and then hang their special pick on the tree when you get home. Over the years you’ll build up a collection of the items the children have chosen and they’ll love to reminisce over their past choices. Remember Mum to let go of what you like and let your children make their own decision; it’s a right of passage to choose the Frozen or Lightening McQueen bauble!
The family adventure tradition: Seeing the Lights
Visiting the Christmas lights is a cheap night out and really makes Christmas feel ‘real’. I like to surprise the kids by dressing them in their pyjamas like it’s a normal night and then announce – guess what – we are off out in the car! They love it and then we use a pre-planned itinerary to get around the local area efficiently.
The community tradition: Carols by Candlelight
The local Carols by Candlelight be it Rotary, your school or church is a great way to get in the spirit. Often free and in early December pack a picnic, the rug or chairs and gather your friends for a relaxed, festive night out.
The whimsy-filled tradition: The Elf on the Shelf
The Elf on the Shelf is a new tradition for this generation and one that your children might continue with their own babies in years to come. Bringing wide-eyed excitement to your home every morning it’s as much fun for parents as it is for kids. See more Elf on the Shelf information here and here. You can purchase Elf on the Shelf here.
The Christmas Eve Tradition: The Christmas Eve Box + Santa’s Magic Key and the Milk & Cookies
The Christmas Eve box is a fun way to let the excitement build on the afternoon of before Christmas. Read more about creating your own one here. As part of the Christmas Eve traditions in our home we also like to do Santa’s Magic Key and put out the milk, cookies and carrot for St Nick’s pending arrival!
The ‘We made it together tradition’: Christmas Craft or Baking
The importance of this tradition is in producing something together. I like to do a Gingerbread house and you can buy affordable pre made kits from the shops for this. You could also look up Christmas craft projects or make wrapping paper or cards. Whatever you decide to introduce the process is more important than the result – be together in the moment and enjoy sharing in the activity.
Record it: Introduce a Christmas memory book
Whether you buy a normal notepad or a speciality Christmas Record book asking your family to share their best moments of the year that’s been as well as their hopes, dreams and goals for the next year is what’s important. Its fun year after year to look back and see what happened, what didn’t happen and relive the previous entries. Plus add the Snap it: Take an ‘all cast’ Christmas photo Be sure to take a group photo on Christmas Day. Use the camera’s auto function and all squeeze in for a shot together. Paste it in your book next to the written entries. It doesn’t need to be perfect – it just needs to be taken!
Whatever traditions you choose to introduce are part of your family’s new memories. Build on them year and year and enjoy watching the strengthening of your family bonds with these shared experiences. Remember traditions can grow over time so make them age appropriate and expand on them as your children grow. Happy memory making!