My mind has been racing lately. I have been thinking about establishing traditions to celebrate this special time of year with our little family. Trying to keep it all meaningful and magical and trying not to get trapped with all the consumerist stuff.
Christmas is a big deal for me having grown up with so many traditions and white Christmas in Northern Europe.
There are the local Christmas markets and my Mum who is passionate about gifts, cooking and baking at this time of year. So many good childhood memories.
I wish we can create the same seasonal magic for Faye although we are having Christmas in Summer here. It shouldn’t matter really, what time of year it is, I just have to re-think a lot of the customs and traditions from my childhood, as many of them are Winter celebrations.
I really want to make the holidays about giving, spreading love and spending time with loved ones.
We aren’t religious, yet I realize that Christmas in it’s roots is a Christian celebration.
For me it’s a seasonal secular holiday celebrating love, giving and coziness.
That is how was brought up myself.
As Faye gets older it will be easier to add elements of volunteering and more giving into our traditions. For now I just try to be mindful that she doesn’t get spoiled with too many gifts and that “stuff” doesn’t take over all the magic of the simple things.
Here is what we have been doing:
I got a selection of English and German Christmas Board Books and swapped them out for Fayes regular books. So fun to read something different and also great to get the Christmas spirit up. Faye learns a lot of new words as a side effect and starts to get the idea that something special is about to happen. It’s not too easy to find good books that aren’t religious, suitable for Fayes age and don’t involve too many unrealistic/fantasy themes. For young toddlers and pre-schoolers the Montessori Philosophy recommends books which are based in reality. We have been a little bit more loose on this rule during the festive period…
We really wanted a tree this year.
The project of building a beautfiul wooden eco-tree fell through as we run out of time…
And we couldn’t justify buying at One Two Tree. I really like them and understand the pricing, but it wasn’t quite in the budget this year.
Instead we saved a tree from landfill and we will hopefully keep our “plastic” tree for a very long time. There are plenty of beautiful 2nd hand trees on Gumtree etc.
I never thought I would have a fake tree, but here I am. Faye really loved decorating it and it made our apartment look SO FESTIVE! It makes me so happy each time I look at it.
We put it up early, right after thanksgiving and started playing Christmas songs at home at the same time.
We do also have a wreath on the door and an Advent wreath on the table.
We light a candle on every Advent Sunday and then light them during the advent time every morning at breakfast. Candles do create a special atmosphere and Faye loves them.
My Mum hand-makes candles and send u a parcel from Germany which makes them extra special.
The smell, the sense of achievement, getting your hands dirty, trying and eating the raw dough…I love everything about baking. We made a recipe that could be used with cookie cutters, so that Faye could use the rolling pin and pretty shape cutters. We made a whole big jar and shared them with everyone on the Xmas picnic of Faye’s Montessori group.
Find the RECIPE HERE.
They were yummy and I might make a second batch. We also made some gingerbread spied bliss balls, yummmmm!
This one is not about Stuff. We wrote down little notes with Christmas songs and then all sing and dance together to the song. SO FUN! We do this every morning. Faye enjoys taking out the little notes and unfolding them, although she can’t read yet. She then hands them to us and we read them out loud and put on the song. Then the party starts. We twirl and sway and jump…
As she gets older I hope to include other xmassy activities and act of kindness notes. For now we just Rocking Around The Christmas Tree.
6th of December
Ok this is another German/Dutch tradition…
Saint Nick, the original figure of Christmas visits children on the 6th of December.
At home we polish our boots and leave them in front of the door. In the morning they will be filled with little gifts and surprises. Now, again it’s somewhat become another consumerist opportunity to get extra gifts…but I remember it being SO fun as a kid to do this and we only ever got little things as well as sweets. So it’s not about getting a big gift usually.
It’s a nice tradition to celebrate the legend of somebody who gave to the poor and loved children.This year I hung up a stocking with Faye and filled it for her. She found a doll in there (oops!) but I wanted her to have the doll for a while and we have one other present for Christmas. One. Only One.
24th Christmas Eve
This is when we spend time with family, eat a yummy 3 course meal and it’s also the time when we open our presents. Faye gets one present and I usually buy one for us as family/couple. Dave isn’t really into it all, so I don’t expect him to buy a present for me.
Our Australian new family tradition involves a home made vegan cheese platter, nibbles and drinking coconuts. I can’t est heavy, hot foods in summer and this is festive and special, yet reasonably light and eaten cold.
25th Christmas Day
This is not a really important to me but is when people in Australia celebrate. We go and spend the day with Daves family, usually at a late breakfast and there are presents for the little ones, but its all very low key and it also doesn’t involve any traditions. A nice summers day spend with Family…
How do you celebrate this time of year? Do you celebrate Christmas or another holiday, e.g. Hanukkah? What are your fondest childhood memories of this time?
Do you simply celebrate the seasons? Do tell, I am looking forward to hearing from you!