Christmas Traditions

Your baby’s first Christmas is one that you’ll never forget. Not for the gifts, but for the Christmas traditions you start as a family and the memories you will make.

When I was a little girl, Christmas was anything BUT “just another day”. We spent weeks getting ready for the festivities. We had a few family traditions that stand out for me: baking, shopping with one parent for gifts for the other, putting the star on the tree, opening one gift on Christmas Eve after getting home from my grandparents’, oranges in our stockings, and going outside to play in the snow before dinner (this was Canada after all).

But my husband’s family did things differently. When we had children here in Botswana, away from both of our families, it was up to us to create our own customs.

At this month’s CUPPA LOVE coffee mornings, we talked about these ways to make memories. Here are some ideas for Christmas traditions that you could consider for your family.

Mikayla for Christmas 2016 and this year, with her new baby sister Marissa.

Photos

Taking your child’s photo in a similar setting each year will give you the chance to compare how they’ve grown and changed over time. And it will give your children something to look forward to each year. Many kids around the world have a photo taken with Santa. But you could also take their photo with a special toy that only comes out at Christmas (like a Christmas teddy bear). Or maybe with a special ornament.

I made matching shweshwe stockings for my daughters, so every year I try to get their photos holding them. I’m excited to put together an album of just these Christmas photos for each girl to have in years to come.

Advent Tradition

You could start an advent tradition. There are chocolate advent calendars available in shops, or you could make one and include a small toy or sweet in each day. This year the one I made is all about activities that my girls can do. It has helped me organise my mont as a result! Caroline provided some great ideas for Advent activities in a story for Family Gems over here.

Create An Ornament

Ornaments for the youngest in the SensoBaby community.

Salt dough or white clay ornaments are fun and easy activities to do with your children. Here’s the recipe we used to make ‘baby’s first Christmas’ ornaments for our SensoMamas who have had new little ones this year.

  • 1 cup baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • 1/2 cup corn starch (corn flour)
  • 3/4 cup of warm water.
  • Mix dry ingredients in a cooking pot, add water, then stir over medium heat. It’ll begin to form a texture like playdough, and that’s when you remove it from the heat. Let it cool a bit, the knead it and use your cookie cutters! Leave it for a day and it’ll harden nicely.
Make Cards

Christmas cards can be fun for kids to make, even if they’re only a baby. When they’re little you can include their handprint or footprint. As they grow and learn to draw you can give them the freedom to include anything special. Grandparents in particular will love being on the receiving end of a homemade card!

Shhh don’t show my girls, but the elves have already dropped off this year’s pjs!

Christmas Pyjamas

There’s a book called the Pajama Elves, in which children receive new pyjamas on Christmas Eve that have been sewn with magical thread. This magical thread will help the kids go to sleep so that Santa Claus can come. It’s a sweet story, and one that might help your excited little ones get to bed! Besides if you need to get your children new pyjamas anyways, this is a nice way to make them more special in your children’s eyes.

Tree Decorating

Depending on how old your kids are they might be a help or a hinderance when it comes to trimming the tree! But still you can make a tradition out of it. Maybe your kids are the ones who get to turn the tree lights on? Or get lifted up to the top to put the star or angel on? To us, these might be little but its these sorts of moments that, if given thought, can become traditions within your family.

Your Family’s Santa Tradition

First off there’s the name… is it Santa Claus, Father Christmas, or Père Noël? And up until what age does he visit your family? But sooner or later there will need to be the dreaded conversation – and subsequent disappointment – about the story of Santa.

To believe in something magical and bigger than yourself, only to learn that you’ve been lied to by the people you trust most in the world, can be a very big deal to a kid. Here’s a heartfelt way to tell your kids the truth about Santa.

Presents

First, there’s the topic of what sort of gifts. Caroline told me about this rhyme a few years back and I’ve adopted it as my go-to; each of my children get four gifts from us as a result:

Something they want,
Something they need,
Something to wear,
Something to read.

Then there’s a matter of how you open gifts. I want to make sure that my kids spend time with each gift before moving on to opening the next. Its important to me that they feel gratitude for everything they receive and know who everything came from. So each member of the family gets one gift to open at the same time, we then show each other & talk about them.

Others in my extended family distribute all the gifts to each person, and they just go for it! It works for them and you’ll need to find what works for you.

The recipe for ‘ships’, even the recipe card I wrote when I was about 10.

Food

When I was a child there was nothing I loved more than making Ships with my mum at Christmas (I got to do the icing sugar). She also made “meltways”, a lovely Polish sour cream pastry with walnuts, sugar and cinnamon.

Meltaways are now my traditional Christmas baking, and I can’t wait for my daughters to help me sprinkle the cinnamon on them when we make them together.

Theres so much you can do to create your own traditions as a family. You just need to consider what you’d like to do and what you think everyone would enjoy to do together.

Merry Christmas from the whole team at SensoBaby, and have fun making memories as a family!


 

CUPPA LOVE is a free monthly coffee morning for new and expectant parents. It’s a chance to come out, make new friends, talk about how things are going for you, and get any support should you need it. It runs on the first Friday and first Saturday of each month, so please email us if you’d like to drop by the next one.

 

Jennifer Fuller

Jennifer is SensoBaby's Head Impressionist. She's a mother by day and a writer by night, marketing professional, certified yoga teacher, and mum of 2 girls both born in Botswana. Jennifer is grateful for the support, friendship, and community for new mothers that she's found through her involvement with SensoBaby.

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