What do you remember most about Christmas as a child? I remember frying chin-chin and the mega cooking preparations we did on the 24th for Christmas lunch. And who can forget shopping for Christmas clothes, winding through the market with my mother looking for an outfit we both liked that the store had my size in? I remember the mint-new naira notes my Dad gave us as Christmas presents. A whole bundle of N5 and N10 notes, still with the bank wrappers!
Your memory might be of traveling to the village for family reunions. Or skinning Christmas goats. Or midnight mass. The first place to look for family traditions is your own childhood. 🙂 The memories you’ll make are invaluable; this is what your children will look back on with nostalgia when they’re your age. Plus, memories are recession-proof!
Here’s a list of family christmas traditions to help you get started.
Watch a Christmas-themed movie together.
You could watch The Nativity Story or the Polar Express. And of course, there’s Home Alone.
Bake something together.
And eat it while watching the movie. There are tons of simple recipes for cookies online. I, for instance, intend to try frying chin chin this holidays. *fingers crossed*
Decorate the house together.
Many times, we mamas take on the task of decorating by ourselves but even toddlers can help hand out ornaments for the Christmas tree.
Give gifts to another family.
So if you bake something, you could make extra and give to another family you’re friends with, or a family in your neighborhood.
It’s time to go through closets and identify clothes in good condition that weren’t worn all year to be given to those who need it more. A lot of charity drives are set up for Christmas, so this one way to tap into the spirit of Christmas sharing. Have the kids donate some of their toys as well to make space for the new toys they’ll probably get at Christmas. Make mini-food hampers to give out. Some people make hampers of raw, non-perishable food and hygiene supplies to share with homeless people and beggars. Some people share cooked food. It’s a great way to teach kids about the real meaning of Christmas.
Do a present “draw”.
This is a great idea for big families where each person buying presents for everyone else would be expensive. Everyone’s names get thrown in a basket and each person draws one name to play Secret Santa to. It’s also fun to do with your extended family or your family friends.
Have a sleepover together, in the living room. 🙂
Break out the blankets and camp out in the living room together on Christmas Eve. Eat chin-chin and drink Milo in your pajamas.
Take a family portrait every year.
Perhaps in front of the Christmas Tree. As you get older, it’ll stir memories of how far you’ve come together. See Family Potraitures for some inspiration.
Fill in your family diary for the year.
Record the big events of the year. Did you start a new job or change houses? What did each person do/accomplish? What are your individual plans for the new year and what are your family’s goals? Write a “newsletter” about it and exchange newsletter with the rest of your extended family.
Write a letter to each of your kids about how their year has gone.
Keep it in their baby book or email it to them. That’s right, email. If they don’t have email addresses yet, you should open one of them.
Record yourselves singing carols.
Broadcast it on social media on Christmas Day 🙂
Switch it up and eat your Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve.
So Mama is stress-free on Christmas Day. 🙂 You can eat the leftovers on Christmas Day and enjoy a leisurely day at home.
It can’t be over-emphasized. Take pictures, more pictures, and even more pictures! One of my favorite quotes on parenting goes, “The days are long, but the years are short.” And it is so true. One day, your kids will look back on these days with nostalgia and wonder. And you’ll look back and ask yourself how it all went by so fast.