Last week we talked about planning for Christmas. It’s just 6 weeks away now! How are your plans going?
This week we’re talking about traditions so I’ve been thinking about what makes something a tradition.
Growing up in a split family, one of our traditions was to have several Christmases because we had to have one with mum, one with dad, and then one with each of their sides of the family. It wasn’t necessarily a terrible thing to have 4 Christmases, but it could be exhausting and it wasn’t much of a “tradition”.
The main thing that has really been a tradition over recent years is to have a BBQ breakfast at the beach Christmas morning. This means getting there EARLY – 5:30 am sometimes earlier – to get a BBQ and a good spot. We have been going to the same spot for as long as I can remember and I hope it’s something that will continue into the future. I’m not sure when or how this tradition started, but I’m glad it did. It’s just a given that our family will be doing a beach BBQ Christmas morning, unless it rains.
We have always had a star atop our tree. Last year and the year before Nick was the one to put the star at the top, and it always goes on last. We also have 2 trees – my blue and silver one and one for all the “other” stuff. That one will probably need to be replaced by a slightly bigger one this year. Whether or not that is a tradition, I don’t know.
Last year I bought an advent train in the Myer post-Christmas sale. I am going to have to find something to put in the little boxes for this year. That was something we never had as a kid, so perhaps it will be a tradition we can carry on for Nick, depending how it goes this year.
For several years in a row I sent out Christmas cards with a family update/letter. I know people think these are quite cheesy and/or egotistical. I ended up giving up sending them because I never got anything in return, and if I did, it was a card saying To A, M, N, Love X, Y, Z. I suppose the sentiment is there, but I felt like I put a lot of effort into a Christmas card and greeting for nothing. I have done a card this year, but won’t include a letter, and will send it to far less people than I did last year. Last year I spent $50 on postage to not even have the card’s receipt acknowledged.
Once Nick is a bit older, I think a nice family tradition would be to volunteer Christmas day at a shelter. I think he’s still a little bit young for this, but I believe it’s something that is really important. Without having done research, there are probably a lot of volunteer opportunities around Christmas time. I think our kids need to see how very fortunate they are, and how much worse things could be.
I think a couple of special traditions is a nice touch to the holidays. But too many traditions can be a bit over-kill. I’ll be paying closer attention to this this year, to see what works and what things we do that I’d like to carry over from year-to-year. I’m keen to read other people’s traditions and get ideas too, so let me know in the comments, what Christmas traditions do you have?