I love Christmas. The magic of the season always gets me. We’re not particularly religious, so for me Christmas has always been about the spirit of giving, Santa style. I like to think that Santa lives in all of us, and it’s my Christmas duty to spread a little bit of his magic. I guess you might call me a Christmas tragic. One of the best things about Christmas is that no matter your beliefs, every family that celebrates has their own unique traditions. I thought I’d take the time to share some of mine.
The tree. The central feature of Christmas, in our house at least. This particular Christmas tree is the one my parents used when I was a kid. About fifteen years ago they bought a different one, and this was stored in the garage until I moved out. It’s just a standard, 6ft plastic tree with fold down branches, but it takes me back to the magic of my childhood when I decorate it. I rememebr sneaking out to the lounge room with my brother at 4am to see if Santa had been, and staring at the presents bathed in the glow of the twinkling lights. I like to do a theme with my decorations: this year we did baubles in nice bright colours. I was actually planning to do traditional cream, gold, red and green this year (which if you squint you’ll see my wrapping paper matches that intention) but I didn’t have the time to buy decorations so we sorted through what we had. The OCD side of me is still coming to terms with the fact that my paper doesn’t match, but I’m sure I’ll forgive myself eventually.
There’s always the kids on the tree. When we were little, it was decorations we had made ourselves. My kids aren’t quite old enough for that yet, so there’s a decoration for each of them which I ordered online in time for their first Christmas. Orion protested this year that his picture is of a baby, and he’s not a baby any more, so I might have to update his decoration for next year.
An advent calendar is a must. This one is something I made when I was about 9 years old, and my brother and I shared it throughout our childhood. I have plans to make a second one next year so that Orion and Piper have one each, as the chocolate situation gets a little squishy once you start sharing. I love the hand made calendars because you can put all sorts of treats inside. I remember once my mum did a ‘no chocolate’ year, and the calendar had a tiny wrapped present in each of the pockets. There were things like erasers and key rings and pencils and craft stuff which was a really cool break from tradition – but once again, my kids aren’t quite old enough for this yet.
Present wrapping. I love to wrap the presents. I know some people hate it but it’s one of my favourite christmas jobs. This year, now that we have four people in our family, those little sticky labels aren’t big enough. After an afternoon of cramped writing, I lashed out and picked up this stamp set from Kaisercraft on ebay. If I have the time, I will make some new labels for this year and re-label the presents I’ve already done, so that we can actually read who it’s for and who it’s from. I had originally planned to make swing tags, but I think just a nice stamped design on some card that’s then stuck on the present with tape would be cool too.
The santa photo. So cliché, so hilariously necessary. I was worried this year because Piper’s a little anxious about strangers. When Orion was her age, we skipped the santa photo because he was terrified. This year, however, Orion was the calming force for his little sister. You can see she’s reluctant, but the moment Orion started hugging her she relaxed enough to sit for the picture. What you can’t see is him whispering “It’s okay Piper, I will look after you, smile for the picture,” in her ear. It was so cute I almost got teary in the middle of the shops.
Craft is an essential part of my Christmas preparations. I haven’t had a chance to do an awful lot of it yet, but here’s a sneak peak at some embroidery which I’ll share later, and a Christmas card, which is actually from last year because I haven’t finished these yet either. Christmas craft is a special mix of love and panic, because I’m usually running out of time when I start, then I decide to either complicate the project or add a few more projects to the list. I always promise that I’ll start earlier the next year, and I never do. But we all do that, right?
Cooking. Baking, usually, gingerbread and such – but as an adult, I also enjoy planning and creating the Christmas meals. I picked this book up in a Kris Kringle last night and it has some fantastic food and crafty decorating ideas. I am looking forward to going through it and all my other books to put together some yummy treats. As much as I love the traditional roask pork with all the trimmings, this year it’s going to be a bit different. Due to Piper’s nap times the meal I am hosting is going to be a morning tea/brunch style gathering, so that she doesn’t miss out. I’m excited about the opportunity to plan a bit of an alternative christmas celebration and I already have a lot of cool ideas brewing in my think tank. More on that when I actually nut it all out.
I got my nails done this morning and couldn’t resist the Christmas theme either! The angle of the picture isn’t great but my fingers just wouldn’t bend the right way to make the picture snapping better.
Dorky festive photos help to spread the magic. Here’s my kids getting into the christmas cheer. Silly pictures are a Christmas must!
More traditions to come as they arise – what about you? What are your favourite things about Christmas? Do you have some fun traditions at home?