Christmas is a chaotic time of year when you take a moment to look at it through a child’s eyes. There’s stressed out adults, mad dashes to shopping centres, end of year concerts and the hype of what to put on Santa’s list.
Yet when we take time to slow things down, Christmas can be a powerful time to reconnect; with our children and with our core values.
Rituals have helped me to achieve this with my own children, aged five, seven and nine. We eagerly await the festive season each year and the togetherness that it brings.
Here are five of our favourite experiences that we do on repeat each year:
1. Card Writing
Instead of writing cards to our friends and family once my children are tucked up in bed, we do them together. This looks different at each age. Children may help ‘decorate’ the written cards with Christmas themed ink stamps, sign their own name, write the whole card or the address. Or perhaps they will seal the envelopes and stick on the stamp.
Christmas tunes and conversation are part of this ritual, with much talk about who we are writing too, those both near and far.
2. The Countdown
Counting down the sleeps until Christmas Day is incredibly helpful, especially when evidence of its approach begins as early as September.
You can use a bought advent calendar or a homemade one (with notes or experiences organised for each day of December). Or perhaps you’ll simply cross off the dates on your family calendar as each one passes.
3. Advent Stories
‘The Christmas Mystery’ by Jostein Gaarder is a beautiful advent story where a new chapter is read on each day of December.
‘Sparkle Stories’ also have a selection of audio tales, where a new part of the story evolves each day in the lead up to Christmas. Last year we heard details of fictional characters Martin and Sylvia and what they were up to in their local community. Listening in the car was an easy way to fit in some extra Christmas cheer.
4. The Wishing Tree
Christmas is a valuable time to encourage children out of the ‘I want, I want, I want’ headspace and into that of gratitude and giving. On a pre-christmas shopping trip, my children are each given $10 to chose a gift for a child who may not otherwise receive one. Once bought, we bring it home for them to wrap and on a later outing, we place it under the Wishing Tree.
5. Christmas Craft Play Date
The first week of the school holidays is a lovely time to invite young friends over for a play and some christmas crafts. We simply offer a selection of coloured paper, pipe cleaners, glitter, tinsel, glue and tape and encourage their creative freedom. It may sound chaotic but it’s actually a lovely opportunity to chat with other adults and bring the school year to a positive end.
There you have it, the five rituals that my family loves each Christmas. Give them a try. Or perhaps create experiences that have your own flavour. The key message is to create space for anticipation and fun this festive season, as well as an abundance of joyful memories.
Do you have any other ideas? Share with us below.
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