How to create a family Christmas tradition
Elfs on shelfs, carols Christmas Eve, family photos with Santa, visiting local Christmas light displays... it seems like every family has a special "tradition" at Christmas.
But what if you don't, really? It's easy to feel like you're shortchanging your kids special memories, particularly seeing it all splashed across social media this time of year.
Traditions and rituals are lovely, but they're not everything. So don't feel bad if you don't stand in shopping centre queues to sit your kids on sweaty Santa's knees, or write individual cards to every teacher. Often they're more about the grownups than the kids, if we're being totally honest. But if you do still want to do something - maybe a bit more low-maintenance! - here's a few fun ideas.
1. Start with what you've got
Don't forget, you probably do already have one or two traditions, you just don't think of them as such. Just putting up a tree, exchanging gifts or visiting relatives, these are all traditions in themselves. Cut yourself some slack! Your kids will remember these simple things far more than complicated and expensive Christmas fuss.
Perhaps when you put up your tree, everyone can wear a Santa hat. Perhaps you always play a favourite CD while that happens. In one famly we know, they play KISS music and call it "Kissmass" tree time. These organic tradiitons, which emerge from things you arleady do and have elements of your own family's personality, are truly lasting and authentic.
2. Give books & pyjamas
They're two things that are perennially useful, kids can look forward to each year getting in their presents from Santa. They can wear their new pyjamas and read their new book Christmas night.
3. Shoot a video
Take a quick video interview on your phone of your kids Christmas Eve, saying what they're looking forward to, or Christmas morning, and upload it to somewhere you can keep them each year, like a folder on Facebook.
4. Advent love notes
Instead of a chocolate Advent calendar, write a little love note to your child for each day in December. Write something you love about them and watch their eyes light up every morning when they unwrap it! These are lasting self-esteem boosters and a wonderful way to embody the spirit of Christmas.
5. Donate a toy
Take your kids to Kmart and buy a toy each to wrap and put under the donation tree for kids less fortunate.
6. Santa's been!
We all know about the milk and cookies, and the carrots for Rulolph but how about santa footprints? Take some flour and dust in near the outside door step then use Daddy's shoes to make footprints.
7. Christmas Eve movie night
There's always a cheesy Christmas movie on telly... a great excuse to huddle in and eat popcorn together!
8. Make a gingerbread house
You can buy these kits pretty cheap at most major supermarkets and discount retailers. The kids will love making their creation then bringing it along to Christmas day.
9. Christmas tree photo
Like the idea of an annual Santa photo but can't do queues? Just use your own Christmas tree. Stand the kids there Christmas morning each year and you'll have a beautiful pictorial memory book as they grow.
10. Christmas bath
Give your kids a Christmas bath with a few drops of green food dye and holiday decorations in the tub!