Take time over the festive season to start some new Christmas traditions
Over the past few months we have all come to appreciate the time we can spend with friends and family. While Christmas may not be the big affair it usually is, we might have time to create family traditions, make memories and have some good old-fashioned fun.
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Instead of a chocolate advent calendar, consider creating a book calendar. For smaller children, the book calendar is easy. Start collecting Christmas-themed books; buy new ones, and find second-hand books from charity shops – try to get a copy of The Night Before Christmas to read on Christmas Eve. Wrap individually in Christmas paper and number from one to 24 and read a new one each evening at bedtime. Older kids and adults could make it a tradition to start reading Christmas books from December 1. (See our book reviews for a lovely Christmas story written by a local author).
Winter nights aren’t a lot of fun, and with so many social opportunities not available to us at the moment, leading up to the big day with evenings full of family fun sounds a great idea! Gather together some family games, quiz ideas, craft kits and more. Then if you are feeling creative you can make a calendar with each activity written or drawn behind the door, or simply have a memory jar filled with folded Post-Its and pull one out each evening. You might be playing Twister, making a tree ornament, watching a Christmas movie or putting up the tree. Adults shouldn’t be left out, you can still play games, make some Christmas cocktails or learn a new craft. Alternatively, you could make a family bucket list of things to do throughout December – with activities such as ice skating and baking cookies.
Christmas lights drive
Take a drive to see the Christmas lights in your area. If you have small kids, wrap them up in pyjamas or onesies, make a picnic bag of festive snacks, and explore your local area. Go back home for a warming hot chocolate, or if it’s adults-only finish at your local pub (with social distancing of course) or at home with a mulled wine or Baileys. Totally Christmassy!
Boxing Day Walk
If you want to make the most of the fresh air, winter walks are fabulous. Why not devise a special walk for Boxing Day – take a look at our walk – and maybe resolve to do the same walk every year? Include a special spot, such as Ivinghoe Beacon or the Ashridge Monument, and take a family photo at that same location each year. A lovely way to document your family growing over the years.
Find the Christmas pickle
We have to admit this is a new one for us, but it’s a lesser-known American tradition that sounds fun. You need a pickle-shaped tree ornament – and yes, they are quite widely available, surprisingly! On Christmas Eve, someone has to hide the pickle on the tree. After dinner, or first thing on Christmas morning, the first one to find the pickle wins a prize. Legend suggests the tradition comes from Germany, but we have no definitive proof.
Christmas Eve Box
Make Christmas Eve special with a box filled with goodies for the evening – new pyjamas, a Christmas mug, hot chocolate, cookies to bake for Santa and so on. Some people give their kids the box at the beginning of the month, so that they can spread out some of the activities and start reading some Christmas books (see our Books idea αβοωε). When it appears is up to you – it’s your tradition!
Traditions around the world
Fancy adopting a tradition from overseas? Here’s a few of our favourites:
Christmas book fest
In Iceland, books are exchanged as gifts on Christmas Eve as part of the season called ‘The Yule Book Flood’. The rest of the night is spent snuggled up, drinking hot chocolate and reading. Sounds heavenly!
Fried chicken feast
In Japan, it’s become a modern tradition to have Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner on Christmas Day. In fact, if you have had enough of cooking over the holidays, having a takeaway sounds a pretty good idea.
Get your skates on
In Caracas, Venezuela, Christmas Eve morning sees everyone roller skating to church. It’s such a popular activity that the roads are closed to make it safe. Then everyone heads home for ‘tamales’ (cornmeal wraps that are stuffed with meat, and steamed).
Hide the broom
Here’s a great way to get out of housework. In Norway, people hide their brooms on Christmas Eve to stop evil spirits and witches using them to ride on!