Does your family have any fun Christmas traditions? We asked local mums from all around The Shire how they mark the festive holidays with their loved ones, plus we have a few suggestions of our own. If you’re looking to start your own family traditions you might like to try some of these in the years to come…
Sasha Faint, Sasha Faint Photography
“When I was a kid my dad refused to buy a plastic Christmas tree. As a family, we used to go out into the bush in my home town Deniliquin, find a tree and cut it down ourselves. The house always smelled of pine needles at Christmas and that’s such a strong memory for me.
I wanted to carry on the tradition with my own family, so each year we drive out to Dural Christmas Tree Farm to select and down a real Christmas tree. The staff out there are so friendly and make the whole experience so much fun. You walk around all the trees with your measuring stick, find the prettiest tree, then the staff come with the chainsaw and cut it down for you. The kids absolutely love it.
When you get the tree home you need to cut a bit off the bottom so that it’s fresh and soaks up the water. We keep the cut-off part each year as a reminder of each Christmas. It’s a bit of a drive, but we make a day of it and, once we’ve made the trip, it really starts to feel like Christmas, as the smell fills the house.”
Shannon, Love by Five
“My kids have a little tradition of choosing a new Christmas tree decoration every year and writing their name and the year on the bottom. When the kids move out of home, I am planning to give them all their decorations to keep as a memento of all the wonderful family Christmases we have enjoyed together while they were growing up!”
Laura, Maiden Avenue
“Our Christmas tradition starts on Christmas Eve, we have friends over for drinks and walk around Oyster Bay with the kids to see Christmas lights. In the morning my parents come over for breakfast, the kids have a play with their new toys. Christmas lunch is at my Mother-in-Law’s place for the entire family – it’s a huge production. Our family from both sides have emigrated from overseas and so we have Christmas day together and it’s a really special day for us. We know we are so fortunate to have our families close by and all get along so well.”
Emma, Emma Wiseman Naturopathy
“We spend Christmas in Victoria, cooking and indulging in delicious food together with the big extended family… It’s a time of year that we try to rest, restore and think about the things we would like to achieve in the New Year. We reset our health intentions and our family goals. 2018 will be our first Christmas as a family of four, so we can’t wait to start our own family Christmas traditions with the kids.”
Prue, The Creativity Club
“Our favourite Christmas tradition as a family is our Christmas Eve box. Each year our children open the box on Christmas Eve and it is filled with new Christmas pyjamas, a Christmas book, a Christmas movie and some yummy snacks. The kids like to snuggle in their new PJs and watch our new movie with our snacks and then read our story before bed.”
Alicia, Until We Meet
“I used to dress the kids up in fun Christmas outfits and take photographs of them by the tree, but now that they’re a bit older, they won’t go in for the festive dress-ups. I still try to get a shot of them by the Christmas tree when they let me!”
Lisa, Glitter Girls Pamper Parties
“Our Christmas family tradition as a family of four, (which includes our beautiful Staffie, Spartacus), is walking around our local streets admiring our neighbours’ amazing Christmas light show. We have a lot of homes around our way which take their Christmas lights very seriously! We also like to bake Christmas biscuits together and hand them out to friends and family.”
Bernadette, That’s My Style
“As a family it doesn’t feel like Christmas unless we have enjoyed the Christmas lights of Allambie Aveue in Caringbah, taken our boat out on the Port Hacking for Carols by Cruiser and we all love the magic and excitement of Christmas Eve. We can be known to open one of our gifts on Christmas Eve while sharing a champagne with friends.”
TRY A NEW TRADITION
If you’re inspired to start your own family festive traditions in the years to come, here’s some suggestions you might like to try.
PICK A GIFT WITH PURPOSE
Take a trip down to the Sutherland Shire Toy Restoration Centre in Jannali and let the kids select a toy, puzzle or game which has been lovingly restored by senior citizens. The toy store provides elderly volunteers with purpose and a social outlet, and proceeds from sales are donated to families in need. Our if you’re after something custom-made, The Caringbah Craft Centre is a wonderful community hub where people with disability hand-make beautiful, vintage inspired wooden toys.
MAKE A TREE GARLAND
Whether it’ s a simple paper-loop garland or something more ornate, featuring foliage and pinecones, it’s fun to get creative together and make something the kids can feel proud of.
COUNTING DOWN THE DAYS TIL SANTA ARRIVES
Build on the Christmas excitement with a countdown calendar. If you’re feeling crafty there’s a bunch of tutorials online to make your own fun Advent calendars.
SEND SANTA A LETTER
Adopt an Elf on the Shelf —who can get letters to Santa. You can get kits that shrink letter to Elf-size then keep them as ornaments for the tree.
TRIM UP THE TREE TOGETHER
Your Christmas tree is your home’s focal point for several weeks, so deck it out in style. Build up to the event, by buying the tree together (or unpacking it from storage), unpacking all your beautiful decorations and testing the fairy lights. Take turns hanging your favourite ornaments on the tree
Make others’ lives merry and bright and give back to those who need it most wrap-up some gifts to donate to those who are doing it tough.
CREATE A FESTIVE PLAYLIST
Before mum dusts off her Bublé CD, get in quick with your festive playlist. Mix old classics with new interpretations and make sure there’s something everyone can get their festive groove on to!