Written by Millie Braund
It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.
Christmas is my all-time favourite festive period: families get together, it’s the season of giving, and we can all pile masses of food on our plates guilt and judge -free. Of course, this year is a bit odd, but that doesn’t mean we can’t continue our favourite Christmas festivities, even if it means doing things a little differently!
So, here are my favourite Christmas traditions, and ones you may like to incorporate this year or next, too:
Secret Santa gift giving
My family is large – and by that, I mean there are eight of us in my Christmas household alone. That’s seven people to buy gifts for, minus grandparents, cousins, friends, partners, etc.
We all know that things can get a little expensive at Christmas, and even though we want to give our friends and family the world, it sometimes isn’t possible.
So, my family have started doing a Secret Santa version of gift giving instead! We draw names, and then only have to buy one person a gift and can make it as special as we can afford/would like to. And, if we are able to, we can buy smaller gifts for our other family members, too.
I love this way of gift-giving, as it takes the pressure off having to buy a gift for everyone in the family, and yet everyone is very appreciative of the gifts they get!
We have done this for as long as I remember, and it is one of my favourite things. The Christmas period truly is one of giving, and that’s the best thing about it – being selfless and sharing what you have with others (where you can and are able to!)
Every year, a few weeks before Christmas, my dad leads the family in cooking a variety of meals to freeze and donate to a homeless shelter near us.
I love doing this as it allows us to be grateful for what we have and give to the less fortunate. Even if it’s just a can of something dropped in the charity box at your local supermarket, it can make you feel great to give a little extra at Christmas!
Rather than going out on Christmas Eve (which we’ll all have to go without this year), my family like to spend time together at home.
We treat it as our night of games and competitions, where we compete as teams against each other (seeing as there are so many of us) to see who wins at the end of the night; we have party food and drinks, see who can make the best gingerbread house, yule log, snowman out of toilet roll (although we ought to save it this year), and so on. Then, when the games are over, we can enjoy what we made!
This is a fun tradition that we’re able to continue this year despite COVID and enables a more chilled out Christmas day! We find it a great way to play games and get the family together.
Waking up early on Christmas Day
I know that some may be hungover, or just like to have a lie in, but I love getting up early on Christmas day, as it enables me to make the most out of this special time which only comes once a year!
Christmas is probably the biggest day of the year in my house, so we love to drag out the gift giving, movie-watching, roast-eating and game-playing to make the most of the day. Plus, waking up early means more time to digest all that food that I’ll inevitably eat.
Santa Clause is coming to town!
It may sound sad, but even though we all know the truth about Santa, we still like to re-enact those special things we used to do when we were younger, to keep the ‘magic’ of the festive period alive.
Whether it’s leaving out a carrot and cookie, putting out a ‘Santa stop here’ sign, or ‘tracking’ where Santa is online, it’s just a bit of fun to make light of that one character who we all once believed in so strongly.
I am a big dessert-lover and, I have to be honest, love that part more than the big Christmas roast! In my family, we each make our favourite desserts (a few days before) to share with everyone after lunch.
This way, we have a big variety of festive sweets to share amongst us, and ones which can be kept to enjoy days after Christmas! From cheesecake and cookies to pavlova and even cheese boards, we love having lots of different food to enjoy; it’s definitely go big or go home in my family!
I love this tradition, as it means everyone gets to contribute a little something to the Christmas dinner, and we all at least have one thing we like for dessert!
Making salt dough ornaments
This is so fun, and definitely something I recommend you try out! There is a specific salt dough recipe you can make which, when hardens, can turn into cute ornaments.
It’s not something we do every year, but definitely something I’ve enjoyed doing. We’ve done it with our dog paw-prints over the years to watch them grow, our handprints when we were younger, and even just plain ornaments like stars, candy-canes, and so on.
When they harden, you can paint and decorate them however you like! This is especially a great tradition if you have younger children in your family. It’s also just a fun way to add a bit of personalisation to your Christmas tree without having to spend a load of money!
So, these are my favourite Christmas traditions, and I hope there are some that you might consider incorporating this Christmas, too. Even though our year hasn’t been what we planned, I hope you’re still able to get together with your close family, and have a nice time celebrating the festive season regardless!
Merry Christmas and have a lovely New Year!