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Christmas Traditions

40 replies

AVG471 · 21/08/2021 19:10

Hi everyone,

I am a new mum and although I am a bit early, I am already looking forward to my little ones first Christmas this year.

It got me thinking about Christmas traditions, what Christmas traditions do you have with your children? Something you do every year without fail, Something that makes Christmas that extra spacial for your child / children? I would love to hear them for inspiration for starting my own.

Thank you!

OP posts:
SweepTheHalls · 21/08/2021 19:12

Chinese take away on Christmas eve, i
I'm stressed enough with preparing for Christmas Day, this really helps! Seriously though, Church on Christmas Eve, a good Santa and that's about it!

TheDistortion · 21/08/2021 19:16

We always go to the zoo and see Santa - but last year would have been the last time, and it didn’t happen - they are too old now. I’m thinking of kidnapping my niece and taking her instead.
Christmas Eve we always go to the church family carol service, which is pretty chaotic, and they give out biscuits and candles.
Kids always involved in decorating the tree and taking it down on 12th night, when we have a “12th night party” - just lemonade and party food although I did once do “pin the crown on the three kings”
I have tried to introduce other traditions - when I was little we used to go out with my Dad and hand deliver all the local cards and it was lovely, but there was absolutely no interest in that from my kids and I stopped making them do it after a few years! Also tried to get them interested in making paper chains, b ut again no luck!

CeceJoyce · 21/08/2021 19:17

We watch the polar express every Xmas Eve. We open one small gift (usually pjs). When mine were little we’d go for Carols/nativity at church. My dad would always read my kids a Christmas story by candle light (taking no notice of their long hair near the flames 😳). But it was still cute!!
When I was a child my parents took us to panto every Xmas Eve I loved that. Obv not great ideas for a tiny baby but for future. Our traditions didn’t start from their first year…

Eileen101 · 21/08/2021 19:22

Christmas Eve book swap with cousins.
Advent candle throughout advent, we light it when we sit down to dinner.
Crib service.

My kids are only small though so that may well change.

OddBoots · 21/08/2021 19:24

From the 10th of December model robins like these start appearing around the house, one day until the 12th arrives on Christmas eve. They hang around until 12th night when they all go and leave a gift for the children to say thank you for hosting them.

My children are adults now, we have done this since they were tiny, before elf on the shelf was a thing people had heard of.

OddBoots · 21/08/2021 19:27

Sorry, that should be from the 13th, not the 10th.

Mellowbee · 21/08/2021 19:31

Go to a local garden centre to get our tree.

Pizza for lunch on Christmas Eve.

RozTheSchnoz · 21/08/2021 19:32

We always go for a family walk on Christmas Eve afternoon then come home, open gifts of Christmas pyjamas and wear them whilst watching a Christmas film like The Polar Express or Home Alone, and eating a family favourite tea. Then we put out the drink and snacks for FC and his reindeer and go to bed to read The Night Before Christmas 🥰

Whysolong7 · 21/08/2021 19:41

Hold ten 3 and 5 we decorate the tree Christmas Eve, their favourite tea, then Christmas lights on and Christmas Eve box comes out. Includes Christmas pjs, and plate to put out a biscuit for Santa etc. Bath time then Christmas movie snuggled on the sofa with popcorn. They are allowed to open one little present before bed. I normally get something the youngest will play happily with as they will get bored of the film after about 30 mins.

They then put out a drink and snack for Santa before bed.

IWantT0BreakFree · 21/08/2021 19:56

We've built up a few nice traditions over the years. We go to a local charity light display which is totally tacky but the most festive thing ever - they raise tons of money for an amazing cause, there's Christmas music, Santa is there, you can buy hot chocolate and biscuits. It almost always rains when we go but it's a highlight every year.

If the weather is fine then we go carol singing on the village green which is beautiful and very festive. Usually takes place a few days before Christmas.

On Christmas Eve we go to a living nativity which is held at a local farm, then usually go somewhere for a big walk (or if I'm running behind with food prep then DH takes the kids out alone) and when we get back, Rudolph has been for a reccy of Santa's route and left gifts for the kids along with a note reminding them that they need to be in bed fast asleep at a decent time 😁 Gifts are always something cosey (depends what they need but either PJs, slippers, bed socks, hot water bottle or similar), a sweet treat and a book. Then we watch a movie together (usually Arthur Christmas) and eat the treats. Once the kids are in bed we get a takeaway.

The first few Christmases I went crazy booking us up with activities for the whole of December but the kids were always burnt out and fed up of Christmas by the time the day actually arrived. So we don't do too much now.

MrsPworkingmummy · 21/08/2021 21:20

Gosh, we have a number of traditions including:

  • On Christmas Eve we walk to our local Fish Quay to buy a sea food platter which we eat with baked camembert and homemade bread that evening. Thankfully, my children are good eaters and really look forward to what is a rather grown up meal
  • Pre Covid we used to attend our local music venue to watch the Royal Northern Symphonia play alongside a screening of The Snowman. We did this every year from our daughter being born and we'll certainly go again once the show resumes
  • Carrots, Whiskey and a mince pie left out for Santa
  • Family visit to a Christmas Market (York is a firm favourite)
  • Christmas eve bath with a bath bomb, matching jarmies followed by hot chocolate in front of the fire
  • Reindeer food left in the garden
  • I bought each of the children a special bauble when they were born. They both hang these in their chosen spots on our tree
  • Spot the Christmas lights
  • all the family attend for Christmas day lunch and dinner every year
Jumpingintosummer · 21/08/2021 21:38

We have lots but they developed and grew over time.

Friday closest to December 1st the tree goes up when DC at school. I do the lights and they help decorate with hot chocolate when they come home.

First Sunday of December we have pancakes for breakfast at a favourite restaurant then out to buy a new decoration for the tree.

Afternoon tea with grandparents mid December.

Christmas market at NT park.

Local jingle bell carol concert - really missed that last year and DD now too big 😞

AVG471 · 21/08/2021 21:41

Love that, a Chinese goes down well any day of the year and great not to have washing up to do! Great idea!

OP posts:
AVG471 · 21/08/2021 21:43

Sounds lovely, thank you!

OP posts:
AVG471 · 21/08/2021 21:46

Wow, that sounds perfect and exactly what I wanted to read from posting this thread! I've always preferred Christmas eve anyway so love that, thanks.

OP posts:
Seriously79 · 21/08/2021 22:39

Hot chocolate with cream and marsh mallows. Reading Christmas stories and setting a plate out for santa, just the traditional mince pie, beer and carrot for Rudolph.

Also putting out a track, from the path to the front door (some people don't like the idea of this) it's just a handful of porridge oats and a little glitter to make the path sparkle, so Rudolph can see where he's going.

Many years ago, I use to writ a letter to my son 'from Santa' in my messiest writing to say well done in all the things he's achieved that year, it was so lovely to look back and see how he'd developed over the year, and of course my some was amazed to know that Santa could see that he was doing his homework/ making his bed.

My DS is now 13 and knows the truth, but I can't wait to carry all this in with my 2 year old DD.

DaisyWaldron · 21/08/2021 22:41

Long letter from the elf on the day she arrives, talking about all the things that have happened this year, which usually reflects the year we've had in some way.

Nativity advent calendar, with fabric figures that stick on with Velcro for each day. The children arrange them in the most ridiculous way possible - last year, Mary was riding a flying cow over the stable for a large chunk of December.

Making mince pies and peppermint bark.

Baking biscuits to decorate the tree, and eating them all between Christmas and 12th Night. We started this when I was pregnant with DC2 and couldn't face getting the decorations down from the attic so we decorated with biscuits, orange slices and ribbon that year, and liked it so much that we carried on.

A decoration that represents our interests and activities over the past year.

kavalkada · 22/08/2021 08:01
  1. We take out Christmas books on December 1st and read them till January 6th. We read them on the floor of children's room, with blankets and pillows and under the christmas lights and it is so cozy. I give one christmas book to each every year as christmas gift - usually one we have already borrowed from library and we know it is good.

  1. No traditional christmas lunch or diner in this house - we did it first time last year and it was so amazing so I plan to continue this year. I prepare everything days before so that we have a wonderful table of amazing food that doesn't need preparing that day (jest heating) at 11 am and after that all day long we have walks, resting, board games, reading, friends visiting.

  1. Santa sends a letter to my kids informing them he hid the present somewhere and they have to find it. He gives first clue in a letter and the rest of them are scattered through our flat. My son thinks this is the best part of Christmas and first year he begged me to write a letter to santa asking him not to forget to do the same thing next year

There are plenty more but these are just some I like the most.
2reefsin30knots · 22/08/2021 08:23

Our Christmas tree goes up on the 1st December. When DS was little we used to put it up after bedtime, so on the morning of Dec 1st Christmas had 'arrived'. Caused a lot of excitement. We also have a 1st December box (sorry mumsnet) which brings Christmas pajamas and bits and bobs for hot chocolate etc to be used throughout December. We have a beautiful, wooden advent calendar so obviously that comes out.

At the start of December we go to the amazing Christmas display at our local garden centre and buy a new bauble or 10. DS always asks for a new stuffed animal from the massive collection of them in the display. The unnecessary stuffed animal is one tradition I wish we could ditch, but he asks BECAUSE it has become a tradition so I can't say no!

We go to the panto on Christmas Eve. We go to the matinee at a seaside resort so we have chips on the beach first. It's dark when we come out and the lights on the esplanade are all twinkly in the sea Grin.

idontlikealdi · 22/08/2021 08:31

Kids decorate the tree - usually first weekend in December. I redecorate it when they're in bed.

Our tree is a mish mash, they get to choose a new decoration each year usually on holiday.

The bloody elf still comes even though hey are too old for it really.

Visit to a decent FC, I think last year would really have been our last year but we'll do it this year as they missed out.

Ice skating at the Tower of London.

I take each child out for lunch and to chose a preset time for their sibling.

Panto a couple of days before Christmas.

Christmas Eve carol service and Chinese take away for dinner. Try and spot ISS if it is in range. Reindeer food.

Twilightstarbright · 22/08/2021 08:39

If I was starting from scratch as such with a baby, the Christmas traditions I’d start are:

-photo each year in the same spot/doing the same thing

-a bauble a year so when they turn 28 they have their own collection

-read the night before Christmas on Christmas Eve

BiddyPop · 22/08/2021 08:46

I take dd for a shopping trip to town after school one afternoon. We go to visit the Live Crib outside the Lord Mayor's house. And she gets the presents from her (any that she still hasn't bought) for DH, DGPs etc. We also stop for tea and cake (juice and a bum when younger) and enjoy the lit up street and people watching as it gets dark and magical before getting the bus/train home.

We have a fabric advent calendar that I put foil wrapped chops in daily. When she was younger, I often also added a seasonal colouring page, quiz page or home Ed pages (writing practise, maths sheets etc - but seasonal ones so it's fun) - all free printables from various websites. Just rolled up in the pocket. Sometimes i made a treasure hunt of clues around the house with the last one being a pocket money type toy (a Lego figure, McDonald's meal toy etc) - maybe 2 of those each Advent.

At the start of December, I also brought out the collection of Christmas books and dvds. We gathered them over the years, a mix of picture books, small story reading books and longer anthology collections - some were new, some were 2nd hand from family/charity shops, some were presents from others. The same with dvds - some cartoons, some movies and a mix of how we got them.

The other thing that comes out then is a colllection of Christmassy items that are used over the season but are allowed out before we decorate. A fleece blanket with Santa flying in his sleigh (bought the panel to sew on a visit to a quilting shop in Canada), DD's duvet cover set and red sheet, her snowman hot water bottle cover. The plastic plate, bowl, mug and glass that was her second set as a toddler (her main set was neutral but it was useful having a spare back then and it's still going strong for Christmas now). And a handful of proper Christmas mugs for us all to use. These all go back into storage when we take down the tree every year.

When small, I used to give dd a shoebox filled with strips of different coloured paper already cut, tape and a child-friendly scissors. This meant she could spend 5 minutes or an hour when she pleased on making paper chains, which went back into the box so weren't crushed or thrown out by mistake, and then decorated the hall (and her room if enough) when we did the decorating. But she could do it alone which was great to divert her when we got in from school/work and I needed to get dinner sorted etc.

She always helped make a treat of some sort for school - spiced Christmas cookies in tiny shapes (a playdo set of cutters which we kept for cookies) for years in Creche for the show and party for parents, various cookies of increasing difficulty for her class in school (candy cane cookies are beautiful but so much work!!!), or things like bags of snowman soup or reindeer poop to hand out (they were allowed give a treat to the class for their birthday and DD's was over Xmas holidays).

On Christmas Eve, we still do an Irish tradition that the youngest in the house lights a Christmas candle, and we have a family prayer and reflection around it. This is after a "platter" dinner of lots of lovely nibbly bits to pick from the table (cooked and cured meats, seafood, salad, cheese, beautiful bread etc) - there's always plenty that dd would eat but a chance for treats for us too that she might not like, but she could taste if she wanted. After the candle, we get out the box (that normally holds the Christmas books/dvd collection) where her stocking, plate and glass, new PJs for everyone, bath bomb each for DD and I, posh hot choc for us all etc, are all sitting. And the family copy of "'Twas the night before Christmas" for her bedtime story. Once this is opened up, she sets out her stocking and Santa's snack, goes up for her special bath and new pjs, back down to drink her hot cho and snuggled into bed with the story.

Santa's snack is a glass of milk and cookies we've baked that afternoon. Some years we have time and energy to do these properly while otherwise peeling veg and prepping for the big day. But every year, we make a batch of those same cookies earlier in December and I freeze half the dough - so if we are more frazzled, we can just slice and bake that instead.


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ShellfishLove · 22/08/2021 08:48

On 1st December, the children come downstairs to their advent calendars, a new set of Christmas PJs, their Christmas bedding (reused each year) and the stack of Christmas books that we have amassed over the years. They absolutely love revisiting all the old books. I have also kept all the pieces of the Christmas playmobil advent calendars they received in the past, so I put those out too, and again, they love rummaging through it all.

We also decorate a (pre built!!) gingerbread house and they help me make pomanders.

We always have a big tapas style feast on Christmas Eve, which we love.

BiddyPop · 22/08/2021 08:48

Oh, and something we used to do "properly" (but dd still wants to do long ways home in December to find the good ones!), was finding the houses that were lit up and making a route to take dd out one evening after dark for a drive to see them all.

Newnormal99 · 22/08/2021 08:53

We live fairly near London but I like to book a hotel (only Travelodge / premier inn!) for the weekend before. We go up look at the lights, wander round the shops or maybe southbank. See a show.

I like the atmosphere with all the lights up and Christmas stuff.

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