In 2012, we decided that it was important to begin to implement a set of Christmas traditions and ideas that we can celebrate every year as a family over the holiday season. Brian and I discussed it and we decided that we wanted our Christmas celebrations to focus on 3 particulars areas:
- Spending quality time together as a family and within our wider circle of family, friends and community
- Remembering to be grateful for what we have and giving to those in need
- Learning about and sharing in various ways to celebrate Christmas around the world to promote multiculturalism and understanding about how different Christmas celebrations have evolved over the years
We decided to achieve this through creating an advent calendar that begins on December 1st each year. I browse through local Christmas events and add the ones our family enjoys to the calender. Last year we particularly enjoyed the Lighting of the big Christmas tree in the city, the Christmas Carols and watching the free Christmas movies at Southbank, so we will be attending those once again. These events really help us to make time for each other and be present with each other in the hectic-ness that is this holiday season. It also gets us out into the community and when family or friends come along with us it helps us celebrate the holidays with them as well!
We decided that we wanted to focus on the act of giving and and sharing gifts with others and in particular, using this time of year to highight the plight of those less fortunate than ourselves. We do this through donating to charities and by asking the children to participate in the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal which they very thoughtfully enjoyed doing last Christmas. This year we will also be adding another giving tradition of encouraging the children to buy/create sibling gifts for each other which we are really looking forward to seeing evolve.
We are a multi-cultural family, so it was important to us to share with our children the fact that every family celebrates Christmas in a unique way – some with more of a religious focus, some more with a Santa related focus and that some don’t celebrate the day at all – plus that every country has their own special Christmas traditions that can be fun to explore. This is an area we only touched on last year, but we will expand on this in the next few years as they grow and their understanding grows too.
I also add in other Christmas events and activites into the advent calender like our yearly tradition of celebrating St Nicholas day just like my family did when I was a child, and fun craft activities like the Christmas sensroy box. We always drive around to see the big Christmas lights displays and I’ve been collecting Christmas books for a couple of years now (most of them bought from op-shops or on sale after Christmas is over) to read every second day and get into the Christmas spirit. It’s a big month yes, but a month we look forward to with great anticipation every year. We are so excited to share it with the children again and I know their faces of delight will make all the organisation totally worth it.