Saturday, 17 November 2012

Christmas traditions

I was planning out my meals for the coming week and suddenly realised there will only be one month until Christmas at the end of it!!!  As someone who has to post pretty much everything, that's mildy scary!

But I've been thinking about Christmas traditions; traditions that seem to be part of everyone's Christmas, old traditions, Australian traditions, religious traditions, my family's traditions, the Big Fella's family's traditions... you get the idea.

And now that the Little Big Fella is starting to understand that Christmas is different to other days, I'm wondering what kinds of traditions I'd like him to have and remember.

Obviously food is going to be a big thing.  With the Big Fella around, how could it not?

And presents.  I mean, kids will always be kids.

But after the presents are opened and the food is consumed, what else is Christmas?

Growing up in a Christian household, Christmas was the celebration of the birth of a baby who would grow up to become the saviour of the world.  We'd have a beautiful breakfast and open our presents (probably in reverse order actually!) then we'd all get ready and go to church.

I loved going to church on Christmas (and Easter too!) because I'd get to see my friends and we'd show and tell about our presents and play together.  And the service was normally short and fun too.

Many years my family would then jump in the car and travel hours to spend the rest of the day with extended family.  Although, in later years we tended to have our extended family Christmas on Boxing Day or the next most convenient day for most of us.

There are many people who like to focus on others during the Christmas season.  They may give gifts through charities, or help out at a Christmas lunch for the homeless.

Of course, the Aussie tradition is to have a game of backyard cricket after lunch (or maybe after a big sleep, induced by over-eating).

Some people go camping for the week of Christmas to New Year.  Some go to the same place each year and meet up with family and the friends made over time.

Then there are the Christmas traditions that don't occur on Christmas Day itself!

I have a strong, fond memory of baking Christmas cookies with my host mum in America when I lived there!  So strong, in fact, that I'm pretty sure I'll be doing it with the Little Big Fella this year, especially given how much he loves being in the kitchen at the moment.

And Christmas lights!  I love Christmas lights!!!  Big ones, small ones, ones that tell a story.  I've probably mentioned it already, but Christmas lights are a pretty big deal in our new little town.  Our next door neighbour has already started putting hers up, and says it will take her the next two weeks to get them all out!

Last year we took the Little Big Fella for a drive around the major lights in our last town and he loved it.  We'll be putting some up here (I purchased my first outdoor light sets this past week), but it'll be pretty small this year.


Next year, I've got a plan!  And it will probably take me all year to implement it, but if it comes off it will be amazingly awesome!  And possibly expensive :-o  I've even made myself a photo of our house, overlaid with images of what I want to do to it on the computer.

My mother-in-law and sister-in-law have a tradition of exchanging Christmas tree ornaments each year, and when I married the Big Fella I was included in this fun tradition.  I really like this one because when I look at my tree I remember people that I love, and who love me.

And then there's Christmas Eve!  My family tradition is to all disappear, at various times throughout the day/evening, and wrap the presents we're giving and bring them back to put under the tree.

Normally this is happening while we're watching the Melbourne Christmas Carols on TV.  One year I'd love to actually go to those carols!  The Big Fella despises Christmas carols (he's a little bit bah humbug) so I've missed a fair few carols shows in the (almost) 11 years we've been married.  But I get my own back by playing Christmas CDs non-stop for a few days (insert evil laugh here).

Every Christmas, since I've been an adult I guess, I've felt so incredibly grateful for my family.  My parents are not only still together, but very much in love.  My two sisters, my brother and I get along really well.  And our spouses and children all add into the mix really well too.  I was going to say we're lucky, but I know that my parents put a lot of effort into making our family the way it is.

But I know that for others Christmas is highly stressful.  Getting together with family isn't necessarily a fun experience, and if you add a bit of alcohol and expectations, it can turn rather ugly.

I guess what I want for my son is to look back as an adult at his childhood Christmases, and smile.  I want him to re-live fun experiences, remember people he loves, imagine the smells and sounds and tastes that were so enjoyable, and have a sense of depth of meaning to the holiday.  Not a tall order hey?

What are your favourite Christmas memories or traditions?  And have you changed anything or added new traditions as an adult or since having your own kids?

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