Do you have any special traditions with your family over the Christmas period? Although this month is crazy-busy with the end-of-year wind-down, shopping, parties and all of the added stress of Christmas, we really do try to focus on the fun part too. Especially now that we have kids. Here are some of the Christmas activities that we are turning into our new, much-loved traditions. I'd love to hear about yours too!
Decorate the tree all together
We typically get our tree on the first weekend of December - and it has to be a real one! The pine needles are a pain in the butt, but nothing beats that 'real' smell. Hubby does the lights while the kids and I carefully remove the decorations from their storage boxes.
The more precious ornaments (and of course the star) go on last, and then we switch on the lights. Love that moment! We tend to also 'Chrismafy' the house at this point while everything's out, but usually add some homemade crafty pieces as the month goes on.
Advent Calendar activities
The kids' Advent Calendar was a new idea last year, but was such a hit that I'm definitely going to bring it back each year. Each envelope holds an activity for the day (nothing too strenuous I promise, and very well-planned according to our already-busy schedules). I love the excitement that opening each envelope brings. Baby Girl is excited to get into this year too! Did you grow up opening an Advent Calendar at Christmas?
Visit the Christmas windows
Again, this is a new tradition, but one that I thought was so special last year that I definitely want it to continue. Both my mum and my mother-in-law come along on a train-ride into the city to check out the Myer Christmas windows. It's special for my kids to have that time with Grandma and Nanny, and of course the windows are always a wonderful display. This is followed by a ride on Santa's train, a look through the toys and lunch on the grassy area next to Christmas Square.
See the Christmas lights
I can't believe I didn't take any photos of this last year, it must've been because I was getting weepy at how darn excited my son was at seeing each home's light display. The joy he had as we walked along to each new house was so special. Oh to be a kid again! Some of the displays that people put up on their houses are fantastic and so worth a look, especially with younger kids. There's always a great vibe too, which adds to the excitement of Christmas.
Make our own cards and wrapping paper
Making your own wrapping paper is a fun activity to do with the kids. Butcher's paper or plain brown paper teamed with stamps, paint or cutting and pasting colourful paper keeps it relatively easy. I think it's a nice sentiment for the kids' teachers, special helpers and other family members to receive something that is made by the child, but not everyone has time to DIY gifts. Making wrapping paper (or homemade cards) is an easy and fairly quick alternative.
Christmas Eve day picnic
We like to have a simple picnic at a park on Christmas Eve day, to celebrate the fact that my husband is finally on holidays and that we've made it to Christmas! Ha. There's so much excitement about the following day that it's nice to chill at the park with just us. This was my baby's first Christmas picnic, so little here!
Open one present on Christmas Eve
The kids are allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve... and it's always pyjamas! Perfect for snuggling on the couch for...
Christmas movie night
We have a simple dinner then snuggle together on the couch for a Christmas movie and popcorn. Last year we attempted 'Mickey's Christmas Carol' but it was a flop, so we tried 'Elf' and surprisingly that went down well. I was thinking Polar Express for this year, but haven't actually seen it. Has anyone got any good recommendations for littlies? Whatever you choose, it's nice to just have that family time and calm things down a bit before bed!
Games on Christmas Day
My absolute favourite tradition - and this really is a tradition because it has been happening since I was little - is that we always play silly games on Christmas Day with my extended family [of about 15]. Games have ranged over the years from Christmas-themed pictionary, charades, karaoke competition, general knowledge quizzes, Spicks 'n Specks.... it's always super-competitive and hilarious. Does your family do games? Please tell me it's not just mine!