I’m not sure how anyone else feels about Christmas, but for me Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year. Everything about it just feels so warming & cheery. I love all the excitement surrounding that one day of the year and even more then that I love creating memories with my family.
For us the festive season couldn’t get a busier time of year if we tried. All 3 of our Children have their birthdays in the months surrounding Christmas. Some real bad planning on our part! So we have to be super organized and try to get as much of the planning done well in advance. But as this year has proven, that isn’t always possible and its left me feeling rather stressed about the coming month even though we keep to a very simple Christmas. It left me thinking about how stressful Christmas can be for all parents!
I look around and I often feel like there is so much pressure put on parents to create the most magical Christmas that they can. It almost feels like a competition to create the perfect Christmas. It makes me feel a little sad that the meaning of Christmas has been a little lost whilst people make efforts to compete with the next person for the ‘best Christmas’. With lavish Gifts or Santa hauls piled as high as the tree. Eating fancy food & attending overpriced events are all part of the protocol to be in with a chance to be the best.
I think that this only creates unnecessary stress for parents and also takes the magic & excitement out of Christmas for those who have to spend their time planning all of the above. Every family is different, and their circumstances vary a lot. Not everyone can be together at Christmas due to work & other commitments. People’s financial situations vary too. It can be hard for families to keep up with these perfect Christmases they see perceived through the media.
This is why for the best part I keep our Christmas as a time of privacy & simplicity. For my husband & I we made the decision when we became a family to keep Christmas a simple time without too much of a big fuss, we center this wonderful time around creating memories and spending quality time all together. Over the years we have made our own lovely traditions and look forward to these each year. Last year I was asked a lot about our Christmas, so I thought I’d share some of the details of our Christmas with you. Maybe this is your very first Christmas as a family & you’re looking for some little traditions to set.
Our Christmas Traditions
Our festivities always begin with visiting a local Butchers usually around the middle of November. We collect our turkey & pigs in blankets, then take these home to freeze until the 23rd December. We have been buying our Turkey in the middle of November for years because it means that we don’t have the stress of rushing to the shops in the run up to Christmas.
We also like to have a sort through their toys around this time & donate many of them to our Local Hospital’s Children’s Ward. I think this is such a lovely way for the children to give something to others. And learn that Christmas isn’t just about receiving.
The next event is probably my favorite, we take a trip to our local Christmas Tree Farm where we search the field to find our Favorite Tree. We always go all together and then my husband & eldest daughter, Cerys, go to collect our chosen tree and bring it home, the first weekend of December.
We all put the Tree up together, normally dancing to Christmas songs. Our tree is decorated with decorations we have collected over the years from places we have visited and memories we want to remember. There are also lots of decorations that the children have made over the years too. The children love to hear the stories behind each decoration as they get put on the tree. And they absolutely love to help be a part of turning the house Festive! Even if it does create Tons of mess & chaos!
Because all of our Children’s birthdays are so close to Christmas, instead of getting them gifts for their birthdays and ending up with more then they need. We focus their birthdays on creating memories. We do this through things such as, a weekend away or day out together. Our youngest’s birthday always falls around the very first weekend in December, so for now (until he can tell us how he would like to spend his birthday) we take a trip to see Santa at a local Garden Centre. We go out for a meal all together to celebrate & then take an evening walk around our Christmas Market.
When writing their lists to Santa we always tell them to think of 5 things they really wish for this Christmas, we also remind them that it doesn’t always have to be gifts, it can be anything. Such as going to see a film, a trip somewhere or complete an activity. We limit them to 5 because this way it makes it much easier for us when buying gifts ect for all 3 of them. It means the chances are we can make sure they get their 5 wishes each. It also keeps it realistic & teaches them decision making for themselves. Anything else they get is then extra. We don’t buy them huge amounts of gifts & we try to buy many of them 2nd hand wherever possible too.
During December we like to get really crafty, and love to make our own decorations to put up around the house & bake biscuits. The children take the biscuits into school to share with their friends which always puts the biggest smile on their faces.
On Christmas Eve we like to go for a very early morning walk through the city, its always so peaceful & calm. We go for breakfast and then once we are out the city is usually getting busy, so we head back home to watch The Original Santa Clause Movie & prepare for Christmas.
The children get to choose our Starter & Pudding for Christmas Day & always help me to prepare all of the food & they love to help me set the table.
Our Christmas Day varies each year as our eldest spends Christmas with us & her mum on alternating years. So instead of having a Christmas Day without her to be a part of it. We always move our Christmas Day on the year is with her mum for the day. On this year we always have Christmas Eve on Christmas Day & Christmas Day on Boxing Day, including the visit from Santa & Christmas Dinner. We usually visit family on ‘Christmas Eve’ when our Christmas falls this way & then have family over to us for a ‘Christmas Day’ on Boxing Day.
On the year where she is with us for Christmas Day we like to spend the Day just the 5 of us, having a quiet day together at home. Usually spending the whole day in our Pajamas playing with games & with their gifts. Then have family over for a buffet on Boxing Day where we all contribute with bringing food.
On our Boxing Day the children can eat whatever they choose, even if that means sweets/Chocolate for breakfast. Anything goes! They absolutely love having this freedom.
This year we are adding in a new tradition, one I’ve been waiting to begin since our middle son was born. I have wanted to take him & our youngest ( when he is also a little older) to the Christingle Service at the Cathedral. So this year I am taking him along to this, which both of us are very excited about. He absolutely loves the Cathedral & I think he will find this Service magical.
To some, our festivities may not seem like much but I find this plenty enough to plan & we always look forward to every bit. And if I took on anything more to try and plan to make the occasion more magical, I feel I would loose my own love for Christmas. I also think any more & the children get far too overwhelmed by everything. I love that we have time to just wind down, play games & cuddle. I love that they also play a big & important part of every bit of Christmas. I can’t say that having them ‘help’ is truly that helpful, but they really do love to be involved. Nothing make them smile more then showing family the table they help to set or potatoes they helped to peel. It really is the simple things they value.
Make Christmas your own, don’t try & live up to the pressures that seem to be present over creating the perfect Christmas. Focus on your family & creating wonderful memories that will last your lifetime. If things don’t feel like they’re going to plan, try not to worry because your children will have a magical time by just getting to spend some quality time snuggling up with you & peeling potatoes! Value those smiles & moments of wonder on your children’s faces because I can guarantee your children will have a magical time no matter what.
You don’t have to overwork yourself in the run up to Christmas to have the best time. Relax & enjoy creating memories.