Christmas movies and songs are filled with references to festive season traditions. From the traditional foods of holiday meals to when to decorate the tree, there are many things that help to define the festive season. For some of us, however, we either didn’t grow up with many traditions for the season or we want to start new ones with our own children. This can be particularly tricky if you’re married to someone with completely different ideas on how to best celebrate. With that in mind, here we offer some ways to combine traditions and develop new ones.
Decorating for the festive season can be surprisingly complicated. When to put up decorations, when to take them down, and whether to buy a “real” or artificial tree can all be important. If your family decorated the tree on Christmas Eve and your significant other’s family put the tree up in early November, you’ll have to either adopt one or other or compromise. Remember that maintaining a specific schedule is less important than the family fun and special memories your children will form.
Christmas trees and wreathes will come and go but family belongings can be passed down as a tradition through the generations. Father Christmas figurines, nativity scenes, and even Disney-themed Christmas figurines can delight imaginations now and for years to come. Each year their reappearance can signal the start of another festive season. Special ornaments for the tree that mark important family milestones or celebrate each year can add significance to your decorations, regardless of which tree they’re on.
Meals are an important part of any special occasion but they take on more significance during the festive season. While having favourite dishes for the big meals may seem like critical parts of the tradition, don’t put too much emphasis on one perfect meal. Make sure you still have plenty of time to spend together with your family, even if that means cutting a few corners when preparing a fancy feast.
While you are focusing on a big Christmas dinner, your kids might end up with more fond memories of the quick breakfast you serve before they open presents or the bubble and squeak they enjoy on Boxing Day. Baking and decorating festive biscuits together can also be one of the best Christmas traditions.
While Hanukkah celebrations are nicely spread out over numerous days, for people celebrating Christmas, there can be a temptation to try to include too many activities on Christmas Day. Don’t be afraid to pace yourself, and your family, by developing festive traditions on other days. A day of family Christmas baking takes place weeks before the holiday thanks to the ease of freezing all those baked goodies. In fact, cooking as much as possible ahead of time can make way for other festive traditions, like family games, carolling or trips to go sledding.
Regardless of your family’s festive traditions and which days you celebrate, after the celebrations are over, the months to come can seem disappointing. Don’t be afraid to have other traditions to greet the New Year, celebrate the winter, and look forward to the coming spring. This will keep you and your family looking forward to the upcoming months rather than counting down the days until the next festive winter season.
Remember that festive days are about spending meaningful time with your friends and family. They aren’t occasions for you to do everything on your own. Incorporate everyone in the process, whether it’s eating fabulous meals or cleaning up after. Making decorating and other preparations part of the festive fun, you’ll have more time together and wonderful memories to treasure.