One of the things I love about Christmas is my children’s sense of wonder and unabashed joy at sharing in all of our little family traditions. From the moment we set up our tree their excitement is palpable – I just want to soak it up and bottle it as I know they are making memories that will last a lifetime. The great thing about family traditions is that they don’t have to be perfect or elaborate or expensive to be remembered, it is their repetition and the sense of family and togetherness that children hold onto, that cement these small acts into their memory banks.
Which is good because simple is important around here! I remind myself that my children revel in the time we spend together and that it’s not even about the amount of time but the quality that is important, what matters is that we are all together and that we, the adults, are not distracted but focused on connecting. With just 12 days left until Christmas day (you do know that tomorrow makes 12 days until Christmas, right?), here are 12 simple traditions we’ll be enjoying as a family – one a day to make it doable and manageable at this busy time of year.
Day #1-Saturday: Bake
Day #2-Sunday: Get involved in your community
My girls love it when we spend an evening looking at the houses in our local community adorned with gorgeous Christmas lights. You might also enjoy a local Carols by Candlelight, nativity play or Christmas fair.
Day #3-Monday: Read together
If there is one area I may have gone overboard with this Christmas, it has been buying new books – you can never have too many books, right? We have been reading one Christmas book from our Christmas book stash each day at breakfast time.
Day #4-Tuesday: Buy or make sibling gifts and cards
I love that although they are young my children are really excited to choose and buy presents for each other. They love to wrap them and to make a picture or card to give as well. If you would like to go the DIY route, check out this collection of sibling gift ideas.
Day #5-Wednesday: Decorate an outdoor space
This might be as simple as hanging a family made wreath on the front door, or you could add a little Christmas cheer to your outdoor entertaining space or have fun decorating a tree in your garden. For those living on the frostier side of the world, why not make an ice wreath to hang outside your home.
Day #6-Thursday: Make an ornament to hang on the tree
Get your craft on and have fun making ornaments to hang on the tree – we’ve a tonne of inspiration for just the right decoration making project right here.
Day #7-Friday: Make someone else’s day!
It might be a relative, friend, neighbor or a complete stranger, whoever you choose today is the day to make THEIR day with a simple act of kindness. Here are 24 simple ideas that kids can do to choose from.
Day #8-Saturday: Play together
Channel your inner child and have fun just playing with the kids. It could just be some everyday fun like a jump on the trampoline or kicking a ball together or you might like to do something more specifically Christmassy like making peppermint playdough, a Christmas obstacle course or a present wrapping station in Santa’s Workshop.
Day #9-Sunday: Take a family Christmas photo
Whether it’s a photo with Santa, a selfie in front of the Christmas tree or a picture of you all dressed up and being silly, don’t forget to capture forever this fun time of you with a family photo that includes all of you. Bonus points if you actually get the photo off your phone or camera and printed to display at home.
Day #10-Monday: Decorate a Gingerbread House
We made our first ever Gingerbread House last Christmas and despite it’s drippy icing and sliding lollies it was a hit with the kids! It wasn’t about the lollies or eating gingerbread, or even the finished house, it was the doing that they enjoyed. If an actual gingerbread house is not your thing, you could decorate cookies instead or even make a life-sized pretend gingerbread house for play.
Day #11-Tuesday: Make (and enjoy) a special Christmas drink
This is a new tradition for us this year – we’ll be experimenting with making a special Christmas drink to share with family on Christmas Day. As we live that we live on the hot side of the world, we’ll be road testing a Christmas punch but those of you who live in much cooler climates might like to try making egg nog or an especially indulgent hot chocolate (though I am thinking an iced chocolate version of this recipe from Babble Dabble Do might be a winner here too!)
Day #12: Christmas Eve! Open our Christmas Eve gifts
On Christmas Eve my girls each get to open one present – a pair of Christmas pyjamas. This year we’ll be snuggling up with a new Christmas movie (check out this great list of Christmas movies suggestions from the Childhood 101 Facebook community) but you might like to give a special book or a board game for your family to enjoy together.
I really hope my girls carry the sense of Christmas magic that comes from family time and traditions into their adulthood to share with their own children one day.
What are your family’s favourite Christmas traditions?