Christmas tends to be a very family oriented, traditional time of the year for most of us, with lots of activities to fit into a relatively short amount of time – not to mention trying to enjoy it all! – and in amongst everything there will also probably be a whole host of Christmas traditions specific to you and your upbringing – it can be exhausting – but worth it!
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It’s true, Christmas can feel like a lot of work, particularly for mothers. But when you look back on all the Christmases in your life, you’ll find you’ve created family traditions and lasting memories. Those memories, good and bad, are really what help to keep a family together over the long haul – Caroline Kennedy
Whether you are celebrating the festivities with your spouse/partner/kids/parents/friends, there will be a different expectations from everyone as to what the “perfect” Christmas consists of.
Trouble is, with everyone having their own ideas of how the holidays should be, it can be hard to know what to do to keep everyone happy while not trying to get too many things into each day – it’s meant to be a holiday for everyone remember!
This particular problem really raises its head when we leave home and start our own family. Your partner will undoubtedly have his or her own opinion of how things should be done, you will have yours, and you will probably want to create some of your own also. Phew!
So, the question is –
How can you create your own unique family traditions that you can celebrate year after year (and pass on to your children) while still respecting those that you and your partner grew up with that you want to keep?
Lets start with the issue of merging traditions:-
The real trick that can help with merging Christmas traditions is to work out exactly what the priorities are for each of you – list them in order and work from there.
i.e. If you HAD to only do one of your traditions each year, what couldn’t you live without? Without which one would it really not feel like Christmas at all? This would go top of the list.
If you can fit both of these first choices easily into the holidays, then do so – then you will both feel like your traditions and feelings have been looked at, and you will no doubt feel it’s easier after this point to let other things bend slightly if necessary.
The obvious drawback to this though is if both of your “can’t live without’s” can’t be done as they are in direct opposition to each other (for instance, your partner eats Christmas main meal on Christmas Eve, whereas you have always eaten it straight after the Queens speech late afternoon on Christmas Day).
At this point, go back to your lists. Can the second one be done more easily to fit you both in?
Maybe one of you would lose their first tradition if they were able to have both the second and third? Can you create a new tradition out of the ones that clash i.e. what about eating Christmas Dinner at lunchtime on Christmas Day? No-one “wins” and you will guarantee that it will be a different Christmas than you are all used to – and maybe, just maybe, a better one!
Overall it still needs to feel like Christmas to both of you, so never lose sight of that.
It’s all about creating a Christmas holiday that works for you all going forward, and is special to you….
Christmas Tradition Ideas
It’s all very well and good if you were brought up in a family where you had very specific types of Christmases – but what if you weren’t? or what if you don’t actually like the traditions that you had as a child, or simply want a change from what you usually do?
It’s about creating a Christmas atmosphere and excitement by using specific holiday stalwarts that work for your family and their very specific and unique needs.
After all – Christmas nowadays for some has moved away from a “normal” traditional holiday – where families are living far apart, some abroad, people go away more on holiday, or people spend it with their friends rather than families.
Whatever you are doing, and whoever you spend the holidays with, you can create that festive feel.
Lets look at some ideas for inspiration (although one word of caution – use sparingly in your celebrations otherwise you may well be overwhelmed!):-
- Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve
- Attending a Carol Service
- Childrens nativity at school
- Helping out in a charity / hospice / hospital etc…. to those that haven’t got family or are ill
- Visiting Santa
- Christmas Markets
- Hot Chocolate outside when lights are switched on in town
- Decorating the house in a specific way / on a specific date
- Special foods
- Special drinks
- Special music (CD of Christmas favourites anyone?!)
- Watching the queens speech
- Special sleepwear for family members to sleep in on Christmas Eve (Did you know that the elves leave them outside on Christmas Eve for the little ones in the family with a trail of reindeer dust….)
- Getting dressed up on Christmas Day / Staying in pajamas all day
- Mince pie and mulled wine evening pre-Christmas for friends
- Reading “twas the night before Christmas” to your children by the tree on Christmas Eve
- Wrapping the presents together
- Eating Christmas Dinner on Christmas Eve – to leave Christmas Day to relax and eat leftovers!
- Christmas Shopping day
- Walk on Boxing day
- Opening presents in the afternoon after eating lunch on Christmas Day (expectations are the best thing, and looking under the tree for longer only heightens this!)
- Playing specific games / jigsaws by the fire
- House Party for New years eve
So – what are your families traditions? Leave a comment below as it may well inspire others with your ideas….. Enjoy whatever you are doing, and have a great Christmas!