It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! We’re meant to be lying on a beach in Vanuatu about now, but you know what – nothing quite beats a Christmas at home. Christmas for me is all about making beautiful memories, family traditions and being with those you love. It’s about being kind and grateful and cherishing what you have. So, although we can’t be with our extended family this Christmas like we were meant to be, I thought I would share, my 4 favourite Christmas traditions.
1 CREATE A TREE WITH MEANING
For years each member of our family has been collecting one special decoration each year to hang on our tree. No, our tree doesn’t ‘match’ or have a theme, but it is full of character and stories and memories.
For us these special decorations are a way to create a memory from the past year. It could be an ornament from somewhere we’ve travelled, something that just caught our eye, something we created ourselves, something that reminded us of a moment or a gift from someone we love.
Each ornament is tagged with a name and date and carefully wrapped in tissue when the tree is taken down. It’s the looks on faces when the children find their special ornaments, the one they picked out in 2008 when they were 2 that makes this really special.
Our plan is that when our children leave home, they will take the tree ornaments they have collected, to start their own special tree.
Some Christmas tree ornaments do more than glitter and glow. They represent a gift of love given a long time ago.
2 GIVE BACK
This year we’re each spending the week before Christmas thinking of a Random Act of Kindness that we’d like to do. There’s nothing as rewarding as making someone’s day, and you might just make your own day too. After all, Christmas is all about the spirit of giving.
You can check out my article ’40 Simple Random Acts of Kindness to Made Someone’s Day’ for inspiration.
Christmas is truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving love to those who need it most.
3 BAKE GINGERBREAD
On the morning that we put up our tree, we love to bake. Our treat of choice is the humble gingerbread man. There are so many steps to enjoy. Mixing the dough, rolling and cutting the dough into shapes, having the house smell like cinnamon and spice as they bake, making the icing and bringing your creation to life and finally, enjoying the mouth-watering sweet, spicy goodness. They make beautiful gifts, or table decorations too. Our authentic recipe is courtesy of a Swedish friend and you can’t go wrong.
Christmas for me is about spending time with family. I cherish any chance we have to spend all day together baking gingerbread cookies or sitting around watching Christmas movies.
4 CREATE PERSONALISED BON BONS
Who doesn’t love Christmas bonbons, but their cheesy jokes and tacky trinkets could do with some improvement? Personalised bon bons are a fantastic craft activity that is so easy. Handmade bon bons are more environmental, they give your table a personal touch and it means that you can fill them with something meaningful.
TO MAKE THE BON BONS
- Purchase cracker snaps online or at spotlight and other party stores.
- Collect enough cardboard tubes (from rolls of paper towel or toilet paper) for the number of guests you have.
- Tape the cracker snap inside a cardboard tube cut to size. The cracker snap should overhang the roll by 5cm at each end.
- Wrap the roll with paper of your choice. Pinch one end and tie with ribbon or string. Fill bon bons, then pinch and tie the other end.
- Name the bon bons for an even more personal touch.
IDEAS TO FILL YOUR BON BONS
- Funny memories of your guests
- A list of your guests’ best qualities
- A map of the world and pencil for guest to mark and tell you where they’ve been
- Jokes or riddles
- A mini-challenge to get guests up and moving. For example “Your mission is to perform The Macarena with your choice of 2 people from the table”
- A trinket, some ideas include:
- a personalised key ring
- a lotto ticket or scratchie
- mini bottles of spirits
- mini-perfume or lip gloss
- hair clips
- temporary tattoos
- stationery (rubbers or pencil toppers, sharpeners & stickers)
- matchbox cars
- lego figurines
- fake moustaches
- mini torches
- party blowers, balloons or bouncy balls
- a personalised tree decoration
Christmas isn’t all about a lavish meal, an ‘insta-worthy’ decorated house and perfect tree, it’s the simple things that add that little sparkle. It’s really about spending time with those you love.
We love having a family pool volleyball match and a game of finska or relaxing with a Christmas movie, a board game or puzzle. Whatever you do prepare ahead so you can relax, have fun and share this special day together!
Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts.
So, there you have it – my 4 favourite family Christmas traditions. I would love to hear what makes Christmas extra special for you and your family. Enjoy a wonderful day whatever you are doing. Merry Christmas!