My childhood memories of Christmas are all happy ones. I remember Mass on Christmas Eve, followed by the opening of one present. I remember toys hidden around the house which would only be found after a few minutes of frantic searching. I remember big lunches with the family and long afternoons playing with cousins and comparing toys. Most of all I remember feeling loved and so so lucky to have my family.
Now I have my own family to take care of and create happy memories for. These past two Christmases we had lunch at home, just the four of us. While the food was nothing like my mum’s, we had each other and that was enough. My intention was to take the girls to Mass on Christmas morning, but that’s a tradition which will have to start from next year, when Robin won’t need her nap at exactly the same time we should be leaving the house.
A tradition which has been in place a few years is spending Christmas Eve with our friends and their children. Each year, Father Christmas stops at the their house for a glass of mulled wine and for a chat with each child in the house, after which he gives each of them a present they would have asked for. It’s a gathering we look forward to each year, especially for the moment when Father Christmas tells each child what they should improve upon (do you remember Maia’s deal with him over toilet paper?). I always end up wiping tears of laughter.
This year I decided to start a couple of new traditions. We usually buy the commercial advent calendars from the supermarket. You know the ones where you pop open a little window each day to find a small chocolate inside? I find them so meaningless and don’t think they serve any purpose except for the child to look forward to a guaranteed chocolate treat each day. So I decided to make a calendar which would have a treat inside and also an activity to enjoy with the family. This year’s activities ranged from watching Christmas films and drinking hot chocolate to doing random acts of kindness and visiting a nativity crib. I made it in a hurry upon our return from Paris, so not enough thought went into it, but I plan to improve upon it in the coming years. It did, however, serve its purpose. Maia was counting down the days to Christmas and everyday she would look forward to the activity of the day (and ignore the treat). Next year’s Christmas will be all about giving and being grateful, that much I’ve already decided. It’s so sad to see how we are losing any sense of the real purpose of this time of the year.
Last but not least, the girls received a Christmas tree decoration each on Christmas day. We plan to give them one each every year so by the time they’re old enough to have their own tree, they’ll have decorations for them which will bring back happy memories from their childhood.
How about you? What Christmas traditions from your childhood are you carrying on? Are there any new ones you’ve started with your own family?