I love Christmas. I look forward to it all year. For me its a time for magic, lots of presents, self-reflection, quality time with family and extra special delicious food. A few years ago the Christmas baton was handed to me, so I have been holding Christmas at my house ever since. Yes its a lot of work, but I love it.
Since I had my daughter, it’s been so wonderful to pass on the Christmas magic on to her. This year will be Octavia third Christmas and she will be 2 years and 8 months. Now she really understands who Santa is, what presents are and why mama keeps going Christmas shopping. She is so excited about this and has made going shopping with her easier if we are looking for things to tell Santa we want and need. We haven’t discussed the religious aspect of Christmas yet, I think this will be a conversation for next year or the year after.
Before we had Octavia’s first Christmas we began some Christmas traditions. We only started with few and will add a new one every year. I think it’s important to make traditions because it’s something we can all look forward, activities we can do together and will create magical childhood memories that we cherish forever.
- Extra special ‘Christmas’ lunch
Christmas has always been a day that my family makes extra special foods that we normally don’t prepare at home or eat all year. This means getting up a little bit early and making homemade food from scratch. In past years I have made my own bread, selections of cakes, slices and biscuits, pastries, slow-cooked meat and a variety of vegan mains and side dishes. It’s a day that I like to make something a bit more expensive, time-consuming and to wow’s my guests. I also invite my family to bring a dish that would really like to eat on Christmas. This means, even more, pastries, mains and dessert that I wouldn’t have the time or skill to make. You may be wondering why go to all this effort? Well, I love to cook, it’s only once a year and we have leftover for days.
- Christmas Tree and Ornaments
My family have always put up a Christmas tree. It’s probably the most important of all the traditions. Santa needs to know where to put the presents! Since we got to start from scratch in our new home. We started with only a couple of boxes of baubles and a star. Since then we have added one ornament each year for Octavia. The first year was the typical ‘babies first Christmas’, the next year she chooses a Christmas pug and this year she made something at kindy that she is very proud of. She also has her own Christmas stocking from Pottery Barn Kids that has her name embroidered on. I love stocking because it’s always a nice little additional surprise.
- Family Christmas outfits
On Octavia’s first Christmas I ‘made’ us Christmas tops. By made I mean sowed on some cutout objects (tree, angel and reindeer) on Christmas material and sowed them on to a body suit and old t-shirts. I’m not sure I’ll be doing this again. I figured I would have learned how to sow better by now and would have made something better this year. However, since then I have become an obsessive-compulsive colourist, so no time for sowing. Instead last year and probably this year I bought Octavia a Christmas inspired top (that she can keep wearing to kindy) and we just wore our Sunday bests as usual.
- Christmas Eve Pyjamas
This tradition we started last year, which I think we will definitely continue. I bought us all new good quality pyjamas that I washed and wrapped. On Christmas Eve we opened them and put them on to wear to bed. Pyjamas are usually the last thing I think about buying. It’s nice to good to get something new for the year and can usually be found during pre-Christmas sales. This year I wanted to Burt’s Bee’s Baby Family Jammies, but unfortunately, they don’t ship to Australia.
- Christmas Lights
We don’t really go all out on Christmas lights for our home, but some people, churches and other organisations do. So take a drive with the whole family and check out some of the outstanding lights displays. Online you can find lists of where the best lights and some cities even have Christmas lights bus tour. If you live in Brisbane (Australia) see Brisbane Kid’s list for Christmas Lights and Christmas Lights Bus Tours.
- Santa Photo
Getting a Santa photo at the shopping centre is something me and my brother did every year growing up, so my mum could add it to our photo album and send to all the relatives. Octavia and I have had her photos done the past two years but I’m not sure we are going to go the traditional photo anymore. They are just getting a bit too expensive and I prefer just a digital copy. There are other photo opportunities you can do instead. Why not take a nice family photo at a park, restaurant, or family event. If you really want to get a photo with Santa, some churches or playgroups do photos with Santa for free. I even saw you can get a Santa selfie this year from David Jones.
- Christmas cookies
On of Octavia’s favourite things and I think most kids, is making cookies with their Mama. This year we are going to make special Christmas themed cookies on Christmas Eve that we can leave out for Santa, eat on Christmas Eve and share with everyone on Christmas. You just need some Christmas cookie cutters and your favourite recipe cookie recipe.
- Snack for Santa and the Reindeer
I announced this one to Octavia today and she was very excited about this one. We will leave Santa some Christmas cookies and (soy)milk and the reindeers some carrots. This one is an easy one to do, which is exciting for little ones and a nice snack for mum and dad when they finally go to sleep.
- Christmas Movies
I’ve always loved Christmas movies. They get you into the Christmas spirit and are usually children family films. This year Netflix (and probably channels and cable providers) have a special Christmas movie line up. I can’t wait to watch: Happy Holidays from Madagascar, Mickey’s Once upon a Christmas, Shrek the Halls, and A Christmas Prince.
- Christmas Books and Activity books
Reading Christmas books and doing Christmas activity books is a great way to explain Christmas to little ones to spark their imagination. We have a couple of fun Christmas inspired books and colouring books for Octavia. I imagine when she gets older I would love to read her Christmas stories from around the world.
- Black Friday and Cyber Monday
This past weekend Australia and International retailers celebrated the Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday sales. I already started doing most of my online Christmas shopping, so this was a bonus to buy a few more things that were on our lists at a reduced price. Can’t wait to see what next year brings when Australian Amazon opens and other retailers will be competing for our business.
- Christmas colouring
This tradition will only be for me this year and hopefully, Octavia will participate in the future. I have already started colouring the Christmas scenes in my colouring books and will continue as many as I can until the big day. I will share these on Instagram and in a post after Christmas. Colouring pages will be from these books: Sagor Och Sägner, Disney Coloring to decorate the four seasons and Menuet De Bonheur.
- Advent Calendar (not the chocolate kind)
I always wanted to have an advent calendar since I was a child. I was going to get one this year, with little surprises and nice messages I would write for Octavia every day. I decided I would start this next year when she’s a bit bigger and isn’t so overwhelmed the first year she understands the concept of Christmas.
- Letter to Santa
Octavia kind of did this at kindy already. I have also decided its too soon for this one since she doesn’t know what she wishes for. Next year I’m sure she will have a long list of things that I am not aware of she is interested in. Yes its materialistic but I will be a fun and interesting thing to do together.
- Special dinner and tree decorating tree
Marco is a shift worker so any dinner we spend together as a family is usually special. I thought next year when Octavia is bigger we can make a special meal together before we decorate the tree together. This year I think I’ll just decorate it when she’s asleep to avoid fighting over the baubles.
What Christmas traditions do you do with your family?