This period of calm before the craziness of Christmas, is a time where we usually look back to previous years and to the traditions that makes this time so special. So we thought we’d share with you a few of our family traditions…….
Christmas always brings back so many happy memories, in particular those traditions that we did as kids with my four siblings, and some that I continue to this day.
I truly believe that family traditions are more fondly remembered throughout your lifetime than the presents under the tree or that gift that you didn’t get. The other thing about traditions is that they don’t have to be expensive, just something that means something to you and your family.
Here are two of my favourite traditions from my childhood.
As kids we would put up the Christmas tree on the day that Santa Claus comes to town. As you know we live in South Australia and every November the City hosts a huge Christmas pageant event which is broadcast live on television. This is the beginning of the festive season for us as it’s when we get to see Santa for the first time. It’s on this day that we put up the Christmas tree and decorations. It’s one of my favourite memories and one that I have continued into adulthood.
The other tradition, one that I don’t continue every year but is still a favourite childhood memory, is that on Christmas Eve we were allowed to open one gift. This gift (and we knew what it was) was a brand new set of PJ’s. It was always so exciting getting to open a gift before Christmas, and my brother and sisters and I had something new to wear to see in the big day.
These traditions are what I remember as a child, so have a look at what tradition you can start with your family that your kids will enjoy and remember for years to come… well into adulthood.
My mother always tended to go over the top at Christmas time. Memories of our lounge, kitchen and dine decked out in tinsel, ornaments, and foil decorations hanging down from the ceiling, she jokingly referred to our home at this time of year as “Santa’s grotto”. It was the most magical place. I absolutely loved Christmas as a child, and remember lots of music, decorations, food and wrapped presents under the tree.
Nowadays, Christmas changes a bit every year for us, but there are two traditions that I love. The first one is when my sister invites all her nephews and nieces over to build gingerbread houses. This is a hilarious undertaking as they range in age from 2 to 9 years, and they usually end up with lopsided walls, dripping icing, and indents where the lollies used to be, but tend to get picked off and eaten. The kids love it, and my brothers and I get to watch the interaction between our children and their aunt. The kids then bring their much-loved houses home to sit proudly on the table for everyone to see, before being smashed into pieces and eaten for dessert!
(FYI, if you’d like to make a gingerbread house this year, there are great kits you can buy that has everything you need which makes it super easy, just buy extra lollies to go on top. Trust me, you’ll need them.)
But my absolute favourite family tradition is Christmas Eve. My parents separated when I was a child so Christmas was always spent between two houses. After my husband and I purchased our first house, I invited my parents, siblings and everyone’s partners over for Christmas Eve dinner. It was a great way for everyone to see each other at Christmas as it was becoming tricky seeing everyone on both sides of the family on Christmas Day itself.
I am so lucky to have awesome parents who were able to put aside any differences they had years ago, and come together at a time synonymous with family. Because of them, for over 15 years we have had a tradition where my parents, their partners and children, my siblings, their husband/wives and my nephews and nieces are all able to come together at Christmas. And there’s not a single year that goes by that I’m not thankful for that.
If you live in South Australia don’t forget the Christmas pageant, and most importantly Santa Claus, is coming to town on Saturday 18 November.