I was talking with my sister about Christmas and about why it is such an important event for us. We decided that it was partly to do with having had our family around us and partly because of the traditions and rituals associated with the season too. I knew exactly what was going to happen at Christmas as it seemed as if every Christmas we did the same things. We ate the same food, we drank the same drinks, we watched the same TV, we made the same jokes and the same friends would come round and see our family. It was important for me that when Daddy and I got married that we created traditions of our own and that we brought traditions from our own families together, after all we were in charge of continuing these traditions down through the generations. The traditions that Daddy and I have now are equally divided between those that we had with our families as children and those that we have created over the ten years we have been married.
That's right you can create Christmas Traditions all of your own and you don't need anything special in order to do it. Of course traditions don't become traditions over night and they don't have to be the sort of traditions that you think of as traditions either. Some of the best traditions that we have are the ones that are a little crazy!
So what traditions do we have? Some of them you might already have too but just don't realise they are traditions for example;
Cooking The Turkey and preparing the Vegetables on Christmas Eve
This started because we visit with three sets of Parents on Christmas Day and I can't cook the Turkey if I am not at home! Now it is important as it makes Christmas Eve special, it makes the house smell all cosy and warm and Turkey like and gives us extra time on Christmas Eve. I prepare the vegetables on Christmas Eve because that is what my parents did, and what their parents did... I don't put crosses on the bottom of my Brussels Sprouts though!
Putting out a Drink and Snack for Santa and one of his Reindeer
When I was little the traditional drink left out for Santa was a nip of Brandy, a mince pie and a carrot for a Reindeer. As Daddy and I don't drink we leave out what Top Ender and Baby Boy call Mummy Orange Juice (it's just Orange juice!) as Santa shouldn't drink and drive! We leave out a Mince Pie because lets face it they are in abundance at this time of year and also a carrot for one of his Reindeer. Top Ender has questioned why only one, but as I said to her if everyone leaves out carrots for all the Reindeer then how full would they be at the end of the night?! We leave them by the fireplace as that is where Santa comes in, but you might leave it by the front door if you leave a key outside for Father Christmas to use if you don't have a chimney!
(Video can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhDG6kDHybs)
I love making Christmas Stockings up for my family... sorry Santa loves leaving gifts in the Stockings my family leaves out and it is tradition in our house that we leave the stocking on our bed, or by our bedroom door. It is also tradition that we open them together on mine and Daddy's bed... at a reasonable hour!
See right there three categories of traditions that you probably already have variations of too. And yet what about the ones that me and my family have created? The ones that make sense to only us? Well here are a few of them.
The Christmas Day Car Wash
Before Top Ender was born, Daddy and I were always early for appointments, trips, visits or anything that involved us getting out of the house. Top Ender of course changed all that as now there was either more stuff to find or last minute trips to the toilet, or a run back to get a cardigan or a toy or... you know what I am on about I am sure. So back before Top Ender was born we were on our way to visit with family on Christmas Day when we realised we were super early. What to do? Well, as we were driving past a car wash we had a token for we jumped in it. We sang carols, we spent time together and decided we should do it every year. Which we nearly have!
Christmas Bed Linen
This was actually only created last year, but was a lot of fun. On Christmas Eve morning I told Top Ender and Baby Boy that I wanted them to strip their beds so that they could have clean bed linen for when Father Christmas came. What they didn't know was that I had new linen to put on that was Christmas themed! It was a big hit!
So how can you create traditions that are right for your family? The first thing to do is to grab a few minutes of quiet time in order to think of the answer to some questions. The questions are fairly simple, but make sure you take a note down of your answers so that you know what you think!
1. Is Christmas about religion or something else?
2. What is time at Christmas for? Is it time to spend with Family or Friends?
3. What is the most important aspect? Food? Decorations? Visits?
4. What do we already do that I couldn't imagine not doing?
5. What would we like to do? What is Christmas in my head like?
Once you have answered these questions you will have a better idea of what Christmas is about for you and what the season means. This will enable you to discover what traditions would work best for your family and what traditions you already have and you will be able to personalise them to suit you and your families. Don't be afraid to make things personal to your family, as these are the traditions that will mean the most to you and your family year after year. And just in case you can't think of any, how about these?
- Preparing the Vegetables on Christmas Eve
- Having a Take Away on Christmas Eve
- New Pyjama's for all the family on Christmas Eve
- Going to a Carol Concert
- Going to the Pantomime
- Having themed Christmas Gifts
- Having new Bed Linen
- Playing a new Board Game on Christmas Day
- Having a special Christmas Day Breakfast
- Giving your Pets a special Christmas Meal too
- Having a visit from The Elf on the Shelf
- Observe a different countries Tradition