Christmas traditions?(24 Posts)
My Dad adored Christmas time and since his very sudden death the Christmas run up is always bitter sweet for me. I have a 10 month old and a 3.5 year old who never got to meet their amazing Grandpa and the gap in our lives in more obvious than ever to me this time of year. I make a huge fuss over Christmas like he did, but I'm looking for new Christmas traditions to share as a family by way of remembering and staying close to Dad. We get a new bauble for the tree each year, not usually anything particularly special, just something that catches our eye. I love Christmas films but not sure what DC can watch (Nghtmare Before Xmas too scary??). We go to the big Cathedral in church to light a candle for Dad. What do you do?
I love getting a new Christmas tree decoration each year too - the tree will be groaning for it! Nothing new generally - often charity shop or a handmade one from the school Christmas fair.
We go to the local church for Christmas Eve nativity service and I like to read Christmas books such as The Christmas Postman.
I find the build up far more exciting than the reality of Christmas Day, Boxing Day etc.
I think nightmare before Christmas is probably a bit scary for that age, although family based Christmas movies in general are always good.
There are lots of traditions you can do to make Christmas time even more special than it already will be - most of them just involving time and thought:
Going on winter walks to find interesting pine cones/leaves etc.
Making decorations with the kids,
Decorating a gingerbread house
Elf on the shelf
Christmas lights switch on in the local community,
Advent calendar activities
Decorating the tree...
What do you remember your dad doing? Perhaps there are one or two of his old traditions that you could also do?
How about a walk (maybe on the anniversary of his death if it's suitable) Take a flask of hot chocolate and some warm mince pies or whatever you fancy. Stop and eat, enjoy the view, maybe light a small candle or let off a Chinese lantern
my farming friends would crucify me for that suggestion in memory of your DDad.
Oh dear I'm sorry about your Dad. I lost my mum too and there's nothing like Christmas to make it feel worse.
We do lots lots of Christmas crafts and new pjs on Christmas Eve etc but we're doing a new one this year. Elf Letters instead of the activity advent calendar I keep failing to execute on. I'm really excited about it.
There is another post on Christmas traditions somewhere, have you done a search?
My lovely mum died two years ago. She always hosted Christmas dinner as she was a fantastic cook. I have taken over and find if I focus on us as a family I cope and remember her. I always buy DD something special in honour of my mum and we do the same Christmassy baking which she led.
A very traditional Irish thing we do is that the youngest in the house lights a Christmas candle (red) on Christmas Eve (small children have an adult hand on the match too). This is then out in the window traditionally to show weary travellers that there is room at the inn. We put it on the mantelpiece.
But what my parents did, and what I like to do, is spend maybe 5-10 minutes reflecting on the year just gone, family who have died (not just that year), and the positives as well as any negatives. We usually follow that with just an "Our Father" but my parents used to do a decade of the rosary, and their parents would do the whole rosary.
We add a new decoration annually too, which is often from somewhere that we've travelled as a family or DH or I have been for work.
Dd still loves the first 2 Home Alone movies, and all 4 The Santa Clause ones as well. They should be ok for 3.5 years.
our traditions are food related
Christmas eve it's always tinned salmon and salad for tea, something we always had when I was a child
Christmas morning, Thorntons choc for breakfast :0
Boxing Day, turkey, chips and pickled onions for tea, OH's childhood favourite
Food ones are great! We have pancakes on Christmas morning
We go for a long walk on Xmas eve and drop off a few presents to relatives that we won't see on the day. Always have a takeaway for dinner and watch The Snowman and any other Christmas film that's on.
I took my DC to a panto a couple of years ago on Xmas eve and it was a lovely atmosphere. We're doing boxing day this year though.
We always get our Xmas tree 2 Saturdays before Xmas and dcs know Xmas is near. We let dcs trim the tree then rearrange it when they've gone to bed. Youngest still likes to see Santa in his grotto
this can be anywhere school Fayre, shopping centre, department store. Week before Xmas watch a few Xmas films: the snowman, home alone, Narnia. Youngest 2 still likes reading Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs for at least a week before Xmas. Xmas eve dcs decorate a bought gingerbread house ikea and they are the centrepieces of Xmas dinner table. Xmas eve have seafood buffet dinner and dcs make sure Santa and reindeers have refreshments on hallway table. Pils for Xmas day and we always go for a walk and admire the Xmas lights outside peoples houses. We go to see a pantomime by local amateur dramatics at the beginning of January and dcs know Xmas period has come to an end.
We make paper Chains and bake mince pies. Decorate the tree together and the children 'help' tidy the house for visitors.
We usually go to the Christingle service and also take a donation in Christmas Eve to the local food bank with the children.
nicely planned out there mumsy, start to finish sounds lovely!!
I always release helium balloons for my dad when I am missing him most. I have a Christmas decoration which is very similar to his favourite Christmas decoration, and reminds me of him.
Sorry for your loss
A very traditional Irish thing we do is that the youngest in the house lights a Christmas candle (red) on Christmas Eve (small children have an adult hand on the match too). This is then out in the window traditionally to show weary travellers that there is room at the inn. We put it on the mantelpiece
Biddypop I'm Irish too and was brought up with a variation of this (maybe the custom varies according to region? - I'm from the west). We put an (electric ) candle in all the front windows on Christmas Eve. As a child I was told this came from the 'no room at the inn' part of the Christmas story - we were symbolically welcoming Jesus, Mary and Joseph into our home. When I was tiny I thought this was literally true and the Holy Family were actually wandering around suburban Galway. We also follow the Irish tradition of having a home 'crib' (nativity set).
Our family also has a ye olde
1970s tradition of opening family presents on Christmas Eve. Children then get their Santa presents on Christmas morning. I loved this as a child because it spread the excitement out.
I am from the west and we did the same, it was for to welcome the holy family, also crib and one small present on Xmas eve!
Still do this with mine.
Getting the tree on the first Saturday in December!
Give the oldest £5 so s/he can buy younger sibling a gift - perhaps make it a special outing with you or DH, with a hot chocolate or lunch or whatever along the way.
Reindeer food in the gsrden.
Strip of tea lights (real or led)up the drive/front path so Santa can land his sleigh.
Fake front door key outside so Santa can get in, (a) if you don't gave a chimney or fireplace and (b) if it doesn't freak out dc!
Tracking Santa on Norad.
We always had a party on Christmas Eve: jelly and ice cream, Ritz crackers and Philedelphia, pickled onions, fancy frock, pass the parcel, hot and cold baby Jesus etc. Great fun!
Printables downloaded off interweb to colour in, they're good fun. Plus any other crafty stuff - internet is STUFFED with crafty stuff!
We did (still do) the candle/light in the window thing to welcome wanderers who might need shelter.
This might sound a bit naff but we always did it as children so I do it with my own now..around 5pm on Christmas Eve the TV goes off and we dim the lights, except for the tree and we sing for about 45 mins to an hour. When I was small it was mostly hymns around the nativity crib. (Irish too ) Now though we sing just carols and whatever we like- a lot of the songs from A Muppets Christmas carol get in there). We lost my brother few years ago and its a chance to stop and remember him (we specifically sing a few of his favourites- he watched the muppets Christmas well into his twenties ).
Oh Achey the elf letters look so lovely. Trying to work out if I can justify the expense.
despondentmummy I'm feeling it too. This will be the fourth Christmas since my mum died and the 29th (gulp) since my dad passed on. I find Christmas without them harder every year and I don't know why. Maybe that my eldest DD is now getting to the age where I have clear Christmas memories. So the space where my parents should be just seems bigger and bigger.
I try to do the things that I remember with fondness from my own childhood - making hideous decorations from toilet roll tubes and glitter mostly . One day your children will be grieving for you and these are the bittersweet memories they will treasure.
I think you also need to speak to your DP/DH and mark out some time around Christmas where he takes the kids for few hours so you can remember and grieve, smile and cry. You had a lovely dad and you deserve a few clean hours to wallow in your memories of him. Cry and raise a glass then get back to making glittery peguin toilet tubes so your
Iittle ones will have good Christmas memories to cry over too
Not to derail thread, but waving Hello to all the other Irish MNers. Yup , candle related to Holy Family needing shelter, and at least 1 crib too. We were in south (county Cork) but with parents who are both Dubs.
I just love Christmas and having the kids, I want to do everything. It's such a magical time and my Mum would have so loved to still be here to see the kids grow up and get excited about Christmas. It's hard but I enjoy the feeling that she would have enjoyed it too if that makes sense?
We draw names for gifts and you have to make a gift for the person you draw, rather than buy the gift. My parents started this when I was a little kid to teach us that everybody has something to offer, has some kind of gift.
The Baby Jesus figure doesn't go into the nativity scene until Christmas morning and is place in the manger by the youngest child. Then we all sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.
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