7 unique Christmas traditions to start with your family
SOME families celebrate Christmas in weird and wonderful ways.
Here are some ideas you can use to shake things up this year.
No two families are alike. We have our differences, our habits, our unique take on holiday cheer.
Our Christmas traditions form some of our most precious memories, so why not give them some serious thought?
Below are seven suggestions for unique ways to celebrate Christmas with your family, designed to inspire joy, wonder, gratitude and a few giggles along the way. And with any luck, they will be passed down from generation to generation.
LEARN TO PLAY A CHRISTMAS CAROL TOGETHER
Why not bring your family together with a song this Christmas? Take some time out from the frantic end-of-year rush, grab a recorder, some pots and pans, a guitar or keyboard, and sit down with your kids to figure out how to play a Christmas carol. Choose a different song every year to keep the tradition alive, or if your brood is especially gifted, choose a different musical style. A punk rock version of Good King Wenceslas, maybe? Jingle Bells rap? Americana meets Away In A Manger? Even if the best you can do is one or two notes, an unsteady beat and a whole bunch of hollering, you and yours will create many awesome memories.
TAKE A THEMED FAMILY PHOTO FOR CHRISTMAS
This tradition in the making combines Christmas cheer with the creative joy of a costume party. Gather the troops and decide on a motif for your annual family Christmas portrait and get everyone kitted up for the big moment. You can visit your local Salvos Store for #oneofakind items to complete your look (you can even save time by shopping online). Snap a family selfie dressed like The Wiggles, Star Wars characters, or something a little more esoteric. Ask your kids to dress like each other, for example, and see what hilarity ensues. If you prefer the Christmas photo to be Christmas themed, add a Santa hat.
DEDICATE THE STAR ON YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE
For many families, placing a star on top of the Christmas tree is already a beloved tradition. Why not turn that moment into something deeper, honouring the year that has passed? Dedicate your star to someone or something you've chosen as a family - something you want to honour, celebrate, or just think about during the holiday season. When you glance at the star it will be a reminder of something that binds you all together.
START A CREATIVE KRIS KRINGLE WITH YOUR NEIGHBOURS
We all know the world is increasingly fragmented and we don't know our neighbours like we used to. Christmas is a great time to start a new tradition that turns your neighbours into friends. Consider starting a Kris Kringle with the people in your street that is designed to make people smile. Again, a visit to the Salvos Store is all you need for small, unusual gifts. Shopping at a Salvos Store has the added benefit of supporting an organisation that brings hope and support to so many people at Christmas - all of whom are your neighbours on this planet.
CAMP OUT UNDER THE CHRISTMAS TREE
It's heartbreaking for kids to go to bed when the lights are sparkling on the Christmas tree. But it happens, night after night, and a dark and dull bedroom lies waiting. Just once during the holiday season, after the tree is decorated, pull out the sleeping bags and nestle down with the kids under the glittering boughs. Watch a Christmas movie, eat Christmas-coloured popcorn, and then let them fall asleep under the tree, as the lights twinkle and the baubles shine.
MAKE A CHRISTMAS MOVIE
With smartphones and simple editing software, we can all be a little Scorsese. In the lead-up to Christmas Day, spend some time with your family scripting, shooting and editing a short film to screen on the big day. If you have small children, elves and reindeer could be an annual feature. There could be a recurring character or an ongoing narrative with a new chapter every year, or you could make a documentary about the year that was, or film the making of family Christmas recipes. Have some fun with the kids and help them find a way to tell your own Christmas story.
HAVE A CHRISTMAS EVE 'WRAP' PARTY
Ever run out of time to wrap the presents in that giddy final rush towards Christmas? Many of us have to wrap presents late on Christmas Eve anyway, so why not make it a party? Once the little people are asleep, gather your adult family members around and share a bit of pudding or a hot chocolate while you go about the (oddly time-consuming) business of wrapping and decorating your gifts. A bit of light-hearted conversation makes the work go faster, but the real joy in a late-night gift-wrapping party is having a kid-free moment in that fleeting space between Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. It's like being in the quiet eye of the storm, surrounded by people you love.