It can be a little bit of a challenge to get into the Christmas spirit in Australia sometimes.
With Christmas being in the summer, and so many distractions in the holidays, many families are left feeling like they aren’t getting the quality time that they want during the Christmas season.
Christmas traditions are a great way to get everyone in the family involved in the celebration, and they quickly become a part of the normal Holiday routine. Not only do they make your Christmas feel a little more individual to you and your family, but they’re guaranteed to produce happy memories to look back on when your kids are all grown up.
But where to start?
Well, we’ve compiled 15 of our favourite holiday traditions to get you started. Feel free to tweak or change them to suit you, and have a Merry Christmas!
1. Make An Ornament
This is the perfect Christmas craft tradition to start when your kids are young, but you can get it going at any point. Your ornament might be something simple, like decorating an ornament with paint and glitter, or even making a cast of their hand with air-dry clay. Alternatively, every year, buy a bauble and write in permanent marker your happiest memories of that child for the year. In both cases, the ornaments are a fun thing to look back on!
2. Christmas Movie Marathon
There are so many great Christmas movies out there, and almost all of them are suitable for children of all ages. So, in the lead up to Christmas, why not create a little theatre in your home and sit down with your family to a few Christmas movies. This is the perfect activity for that odd rainy day in the summer, or you can spread it out by sitting down to a Christmas movie every Friday before Christmas. Indulge in some sweet treats, and let your kids get excited for the big event.
3. Christmas Books
Along with Christmas movies, Christmas books are also numerous and easy to find. They’re a perfect way for parents to get kids involved in Christmas without movies, and can be borrowed from the library if you’re short on cash (just don’t leave it too late). Plus, they encourage your own kids to read!
4. Teaser Gifts
Kids get so excited before Christmas, so why not give in to that excitement a little by giving them a teaser gift on the night before Christmas? Some parents do this the smart way by giving them a new pair of PJs or a cute Christmas shirt that they can wear the next day. It’s great for photos, and kids love any opportunity to open a special present before the big day!
5. Ignite The Imagination
Christmas is a magical time for most kids, and as parents, it’s up to us to really get their imagination going. One great one is to give kids an envelope with reindeer dust (i.e. glitter) to spread on the front lawn so that reindeers know where to land. Alternatively, one of our writers remembers a year from her own childhood where her dad went out at midnight with a few pieces of PVC pipe and banged reindeer hoof prints in their front lawn. To a child, all of these things are magic.
6. Holiday Playlists
Christmas music really can put you in the mood, so take some time before the big season to get out all your old Christmas music and collect it in one place. Whether it’s a CD or a playlist on your iPhone, make sure you have it on you and play it in the car and at home in the lead up to the holiday!
7. Christmas Light Adventure
Admittedly, this is one tradition that only works if you live in an area where decorating is a big thing. If you do, then get the kids in the car in their Christmas outfits (Santa hats are a must) and take a little trip to see the light. Of course, that Christmas playlist better be on!
8. Embrace A Food Tradition
There are so many great traditions already involved in Christmas, and food is one of them. Embrace Christmas by making a traditional Christmas food instead of buying it, or looking into your own family’s cultural history for food inspiration. Get the whole family involved, and make a game of it!
9. Elf On The Shelf
A growing phenomenon in the United States, the Elf on the Shelf has just started to gain popularity in Australia. Essentially, it’s a cute little concept where a ‘scout elf’ is sent out by Santa at the start of December to watch over boys and girls. Only moving when children are asleep, the Elf on the Shelf allows parents to have a bit of creative fun with its imaginary activities.
10. Letters To Santa
Everyone remembers writing a letter to Santa, but with the post less popular than ever, it seems to be a tradition that’s fallen by the wayside. Well, you can revive it this year by having your kids write a letter to Santa at the start of December. Australia Post even allows you to post them direct to the big man himself!
11. Christmas Tree Camp Out
Christmas trees are the central focus of many family Christmases, but how much time do you really spend enjoying them before Christmas comes? This year, consider getting out the mattresses and camping under the Christmas tree. The night before Christmas Eve is a good choice. Play different games, talk about your year, and enjoy some Christmas treats.
12. Pick A Family Charity
Whatever the true meaning of Christmas might have been, there certainly seems to be a lack of understanding amongst the younger generation as to the charity of the season. So educate your kids this year by picking a family charity and having your kids choose a gift to give to other kids in need. This allows you to have an honest discussion with your kids, and get them involved.
13. Track Santa’s Progress
When Christmas rolls around, the latest trend for modern families is to track the fat man as he makes his way around the world. You can do this using the Official NORAD Santa Tracker, or Google’s Santa Tracker which also has a series of games and activities to play in December.
14. Do Presents Later
When Christmas Day does finally arrive, everything just seems to happen so quickly. Kids wake up at the crack of dawn, and before you know it, the presents are open and it’s just like any other day. Stretch this feeling a little bit longer by doing something before you open presents. Allow your kids to open just one gift if you really want, then take a trip somewhere for a walk or a swim, or sit down for a family breakfast before the chaos begins.
15. Give One Family Gift
Getting your family involved in Christmas can be a challenge for busy parents, especially when your kids get older and want to do their own thing. So make it a tradition that every year, you buy a gift that can be used by the entire family. This might be a board game, or a toy that everyone can play with together (like a volleyball or frisbee). Then make a point to play with it on Christmas day. Guaranteed family time!