I’ve never really been a person with a lot of Christmas traditions. I mean I like Christmas and all but when it comes to holidays, I’ve always been more about Easter than Christmas. It’ll come to no surprise to anyone following my Instagram feed that I am fairly food-centric so a holiday centering around small fluffy creatures and chocolate is really my jam. My brother though is all about Christmas. He was always hopping to start on Christmas Day but sadly had to wait for me to wake up from my traditional Christmas morning sleep in. I’m sure that’s his deep seated childhood trauma – that his little sister slept until like 9AM every Christmas morning, delaying the opening of his Santa sack.
He’s never lost that love of Christmas as an adult either. He covers his house with Christmas lights, sits next to Santa for a full family portrait each year – hell he actually WAS Santa as a job for a number of years and still plays the part for family gatherings with glee. Even though I’ve never quite been able to muster up that much adoration for the Christmas season, I do love Christmas in my own way. I’ve definitely noticed that its become more important to me since having a child. Now Bear is in the picture, we’ve started building little Christmas traditions of our own as a family.
This year is really the first year he’s been aware of the Santa concept, so I’m really excited for Christmas Eve! He’s made some reindeer food at daycare to sprinkle on the lawn to help the reindeer find the house, and we also have a copy of Santa’s magic key (so he can get in without the chimney) to leave under the doormat.
Most families have a Santa photo in their list of traditions but ours hit a roadblock. Like most kids, Bear has a bit of a Santa phobia. He loves the idea of Santa, but when he actually sees him he just can’t deal. Last year we solved this by getting in the Santa photo with him, so we had two uncomfortable adults and a child staring at Santa like a detective at a murder suspect. Bit of a fail. This year we’ve embarked upon a month long indoctrination plan involving Christmas movies, books and walking past as many department stores Santas as possible before we even attempted getting the picture taken. It still took four hours of Bear crying because we left Santa and then crying because we went near Santa but dammit I got my cute pic of Bear smiling on Santa’s lap. Serious props to the Westfield Santa who tirelessly worked to win my son’s trust every time he walked past- you da real MVP Santa.
What to eat for Christmas lunch has been a bone of contention between my husband and I for pretty much our entire relationship. His family is from Canberra, where the weather isn’t unsufferably hot and as such they have a full roast meal with all the trimmings including pudding for dessert. I am from Queensland (where we live currently) and as such am accustomed to a cold Christmas lunch – ham, chicken, prawns and trifle. So in order to stop arguments, we do a hot dinner with my in-laws and a much more sensible cold meal with my family. Seriously. who can eat Christmas pudding in 30 degree heat?
Other than a brief bout with paganism, I’ve never really been truly religious. I’m not anti-religion, but my favourite bible class as a kid was the one where we got to eat fish finger sandwiches when we talked about Jesus giving out loaves and fishes, so God has never really been high on my agenda. My husband and son however are both Catholic, so we are starting a tradition of attending Christmas mass together as a family. One thing I did love about church as a child, was the sense of community I got from the congregation and I would love my son to experience that as well.
For my part, the spirit of Christmas has always been about giving. Giving your time to those you love, but also giving back to the community. While Bear will be able to be a little more involved in this as he gets older, this year we chose to start him off by allowing him to choose and donate a gift to the Kmart Wishing Tree for a less fortunate child as well as give away some of his own toys to a local charity shop. I think it’s important that he understands that while we are not rich, there are still a lot of others out there with less who need a hand.
The sound of Christmas in my house growing up was one thing – Little Saint Nick by the Beach Boys. My father loves the Beach Boys with an unholy passion and every year at Christmas, he would put their Christmas album on repeat. Fun Fact: my brother hates The Beach Boys. They are nails on a chalkboard to him so part of the fun was seeing how long A could hold out before blowing his stack and requesting some ‘real music’. He once made it a record three hours. I can only be thankful Dad wasn’t a Mariah Carey fan.
One tradition that has developed in our family is my husband out gifting me. Every damn year. The man is a gift ninja. It doesn’t matter how much thought or work I put into his gift – he will always always have found something even more perfect for me. The man has mastered the art of appearing to be totally oblivious to everything going on around him, but he’s taking it all in and waiting to deploy the knowledge in the form of a perfect gift. Or he asks what you want and then takes it like 10 steps further and buys you something you never knew you always wanted. Like the year we were first dating and I mentioned that my crappy $10 kettle ran too hot and scorched my tea leaves. 6 months later, there was an automatic tea maker/kettle under the tree that I still use today and is probably the best gift anyone has ever bought me. POW GIFT NINJA-ED.
As a child, my parents always let us open one present on Christmas Eve. No pajamas for our family, it was always a legit toy, or in my case usually a book. I’ve taken this tradition and expanded on it slightly to start a Christmas Eve box tradition for my son. You can read more about that here, but the primary reason I do this is to help him with his anticipation levels. While he doesn’t have a great concept of time, he does pick up on other people’s moods, so when Mum and Dad are a wee bit stressed it’s important to keep him distracted to avoid a meltdown.
Are you a Christmas person? Got any unusual family Christmas traditions to share or do you also have a gift ninja in your life?