It’s getting busy isn’t it? I know my calendar is filling up quickly. And while parties and get-togethers are lots of fun, I want to make sure we have room for all the traditions that my family and I have come to love over the Christmas period.
Here’s a list of what we do over the festive period — it might help you plan your own traditions and decide when to do them. I also have a helpful printable to manage ALL the things at this time of year.
Family Year Book
This is a new one for us but I hope to do it yearly. I am going to go through the photos from the year and compile them into a photo book. I really like Mixbook – but they are US based and so I need to get going for this to arrive in time for Christmas. It will be amongst the gifts for our youngest and I’ll probably get one printed for my parents. My littlest loves nothing more than flicking through photo albums. Particularly if there are a lot of photos of him!
Family Christmas Photo
We always get our photo taken at the RSPCA Santa Paws day, meaning our lovely dog can be involved as well. I like the idea of always taking the family Christmas photo at the same place, and having everyone in the family involved. The RSPCA run Santa Paws fairly early in November, with the Wacol markets and photo booth this weekend (12/13 November)
Decorating the house
We like to decorate on the 1st December, but as that’s a Thursday this year, we might do the weekend before or after. We do the tree one day and the outdoor lights the other.
Decorations for the kids
My beautiful close friend introduced me to this idea. Each year you buy an ornament for each of your children. When they move out of house, they can take the ornaments with them to start up their own tree. Just need to remember which ones they were!
Neighbourhood Christmas Lights
One of our family traditions is to see the neighbourhood Christmas lights on our side of town. We pop the Christmas Carols on in the car and dress up in silly Santa hats. We rely on the 4KQ list, but we have our favourite streets. My big tip is to do this earlier, rather than later. Once you hit the week before Christmas, parking around epic Christmas light streets can be tricky.
Christmas Windows in Town and Parade
I remember going into town as a little girl, riding the train and seeing the Christmas windows and lights. It’s a tradition that my parents and I repeat with the boys. I still try to rush past the Christmas windows until the designated evening to see them. The Brisbane Christmas Parade runs from 16 December – 24 December and is well worth a look. Get there early to secure a good viewing spot.
I don’t feel like it’s Christmas unless we get at least one carols event. We tend to avoid the big ones and look for local ones in parks or run by the nearby churches.
Every year we place a present under the K-Mart wishing tree in honour of the brother and son that won’t be with us physically at Christmas time. It’s part of the Christmas rituals that honour him.
Another tradition from my own childhood is making Christmas butter cookies and decorating them.
St Nick and Christmas Letters
My parents are Dutch and so the kids get double Christmas in the form of St Nicholas. We gather at Mum and Dads and share chocolate Christmas letters and small gifts for the kids.
Building and decorating a gingerbread house is another fun Christmas tradition that my boys love. I just cheat and buy the kits from Aldi. My icing game has never been strong but we enjoy it anyway.
Christmas Eve Eve – PJs & Movie
Christmas Eve is a busy day in our family, with my son’s birthday and my European parents celebrating in the evening rather than Christmas Day. So on the eve of Christmas Eve the boys get new pyjamas and we watch a Christmas movie together. I’m still a sucker for the claymation ones I remember from my own childhood – Rudolph remaining my firm favourite. Oh that island of misfit toys.