Creating a tradition early on in a child’s life can help to introduce them to the concept of family values pretty quickly. It also helps a child to feel as though they belong to something fun! As they get older, their role in bringing that tradition to life becomes more important as they’re able to take the reins and take on more responsibility.
A holiday such as Christmas is a perfect excuse for families to tap into their creative flair and produce something together as a team for a special occasion; whether it be DIY Christmas decorations or baked goods. Even as babies, children relish the opportunity to get messy, so involving them can be as easy as setting up sensory bowls filled with a few of your Christmas cookie ingredients, which allows them to become familiar with the different textures. Washable paint is also a no-brainer, as some of the cutest Christmas decorations are made from baby hand prints - that’s a fact!
As your children grow older, you’ll find that their participation in your Christmas tradition grows too. Whether it’s graduating from sensory bowls to actually helping to bake, or choosing the Christmas Eve movie, or taking the reins come tree decorating time, any family tradition you choose should be able to grow and change as your family does the same.
If you start a family tradition, it’s important not to let the ball drop no matter how busy you get. For example, if Christmas Eve movie nights are something you choose, make sure it’s always a priority for the family and can’t be pushed aside, no matter how crazy things get. Moving these traditions sets a precedent that they’re not important, and you’re more likely to lose them from participating when they become teenagers.
Any tradition or celebration you do choose should always be fun and enjoyable - never a chore! If you begin to find that baking cookies and cakes come December is too much with your growing schedule, don’t continue just because you think you should. Choose a tradition that actually makes you feel good - not stressed - and you’re more likely to have fun taking part each year with the whole family. Anything that feels like a chore probably is one!
Stay-At-Home Mum's group member Tasha is creating a Christmas Eve Box for her 10-month-old son. She'll add cookies for Santa and carrots for the Reindeer as he gets older!
No doubt Christmas day can be hectic, filled with extended family, lots of food and a lot of fun! However, seizing Christmas Eve is a great way for families to lock in some quality time together before the Christmas craziness hits, and create a sense of unity and togetherness. Starting a ‘Christmas Eve Box’ is a great way to do this. You can fill it with some new Christmas pyjamas for each family member, some popcorn, Christmas treats and a festive movie that you can all watch together. Etsy has available some great personalised boxes with your family’s name that not only houses your Christmas Eve goodies, but becomes a treasured family possession. It should also be said that a great Christmas stocking or sack can work well in place of a box. We love these ones by Sack Me!
Stay-At-Home Mum's group member Natalie will be decorating a gingerbread house each year with her son!
It’s a time honoured tradition to leave cookies and milk (or beer - if you’re feeling generous!) out for Santa on Christmas Eve. This tradition is about ditching the store bought cookies and creating something fun as a family that Santa will love. Each year you can change up the ingredients and experiment with flavours - and obviously sample a few yourself before Santa gets a sniff! Coconut and cherry biccies, anyone?
Christmas tree decorating is something that every kid will no doubt steer as soon as they’re around school age, but while they’re little, a felt tree is a fun way to get kids excited about the concept of a Christmas tree and the colours of the decorations. Felt trees are great because they stick to any blank wall in your home and allow little fingers to easily place felt decorations anywhere they like around the tree, and change it around as they choose.
Stay-At-Home Mum's group member Stacey will be making a '12 Days of Christmas' calendar with things like Christmas PJs, Santa mug, colouring book and ornaments!
An advent calendar is a great concept to help children understand both the excitement of the countdown to Christmas and also the art of patience! All of this is lost on new babies, of course, and while chocolate advent calendars may not be suitable for baby’s first Christmas, there are other ways to honour the countdown to Christmas Day. Purchasing a fabric or paper advent calendar filled with Christmas trinkets, love notes from baby’s mum and dad - or even Christmas poems - are a nice gift to unwrap with your bub each morning. As they grow up, you can expand this tradition to make everyone in charge of filling another family member’s advent calendar - with a $20 budget for the month and the need to get creative!
Stay-At-Home Mum's group member Krystal will be taking her children's hand and foot prints each year and saving them as keepsakes.
We all know that the best decorations are those that are made together! Break out the Paddle Pop sticks to create your own Christmas star, and the glitter glue to create a toilet paper roll wreath. While your babe is young, the cutest way to create a lasting Christmas ornament is to use your baby’s hand and foot prints to create clay decorations. Simply buy some moldable clay and press your baby’s hand and feet into the clay to create a cute keepsake. Poke a hole in the top and thread some twine before finishing with a little bit of glitter glue for extra sparkle!
There are plenty of Santa posters out there in the shops or ready to order online. Why not stick Old Saint Nick on the wall to help familiarise the baby with Santa, and pick up a white beard from any dollar shop. Sticking this on the poster creates a fun tactile experience for bub, and as they grow this activity can become a fun game for the whole family, where you’re blindfolded, spun around and then try to stick Santa’s beard in the right spot!
A fairly new tradition for many families, Elf on the Shelf is a fun and magical way to both encourage your children to do as they’re told in the lead up to Christmas, and have a little fun along the way! The purpose of the magical Elf on the Shelf is to report any misbehaving to Santa Claus! You know he’s real because he’s cheeky - and changes his position each night while you sleep - he’s never ever where you left him! You can introduce the Elf to your baby from an early age, and though he’ll start as a fun toy associated with Christmas time, the older your baby gets the more they’ll be able to understand his connection to Santa!
Did you know that there are special fairy doors and mailboxes that allow your family to communicate with the magical pixies? Etsy has an adorable array of the miniature props that you can set up with ease, and allow your family to exchange notes with teeny tiny fairies! Your child can start to ask the fairies questions about Christmas in the lead up to the big day, wave their magic wand, and receive answers you can read together when they see a note in the mailbox! Setting up the door and mailbox and discussing the magical fairies to your newborn is a great way to plant a magical Christmas seed while they’re young.
There’s nothing quite like a Christmas soundtrack to set the mood in your home! Each year as your family grows, a fun tradition is to choose a Christmas song that should be added to the playlist. Everyone in the family should get to submit their choice of song and you can have it playing as you partake in Christmas activities around the house - or when you’re together in the car!
Stay-At-Home Mum's group member Meg is taking the family Christmas light hunting, complete with carols in the car - and ice cream on the way home!
There are plenty of websites that annually list and update the best streets in your local city for impressive Christmas lights. Pick a street each year and take the whole family along to grab an ice cream and check out the festivities on Christmas Eve or on one of the nights in the lead-up to Christmas.