Christmas Traditions

One of the things I was most excited about when I was pregnant with Sophia, was the thought of future family traditions. And they come easy at Christmas.

You’ve met our elf on the shelf and these are some of the others.

1. Letters to Father Christmas.

In these shots (taken last December) Olive is dictating to her sisterly scribe.

Girls composing letters to Santa  Girls writing letters to Father Christmas

2. Advent Calendar

After last year’s debacle when my daily bespoke creations petered out around the 15th and the mere thought of coming up with new ideas made me cranky, this year I invested in a ready-made calendar. The girls are loving this Playmobil Santa’s Letter Depot set. We’re still waiting on the big-ticket items: the tree, reindeer and sleigh.

Playmobil Advent Calendar

3. Setting out the Christmas books.

Stack of Christmas books

Every year on December 1st we get and decorate our tree and put out the Christmas books. I try to add a couple to the pile each year. These are scenes from some of our favourites. I love coming back to these same books every year and re-reading them in the evenings with the kids.Christmas Book collage

4. Gingerbread House

We don’t do this every year as it is time-consuming. This year, in the interests of staying calm and festive, I bought a kit for this Christmas shack. And I’m loving it – for every reason. Especially as we have an Australian Bush Christmas kind of  theme in mind for the table this year.

Christmas gingerbread shack

5. Christmas pyjamas

Each Christmas Eve the girls get a special pair of matching Christmas pyjamas. They are not always overtly Christmassy (although this year’s with the cute red and white stripey bow have a hint) but just something to build the excitement. As if it needs building on Christmas Eve. We are usually at fever pitch by about Dec 21st.

Christmas pyjamas Sophia package

And I just had to show you this. This is the letter written by Sophia to Father Christmas last year. It’s all very expected until the P.S.  Last year a girl in Sophia’s class began bullying her and we spent much of last year trying to help her deal with that. Anyway, her request made me laugh and seems, in this mamma’s biased mind in any case, perfectly appropriate!

Letter to Father Christmas

Not exactly in keeping with the Christmas spirit, but it did make me laugh. When you’re 7, getting someone banished to FC’s naughty list is the equivalent of bringing in the regiments.

Even better though, she’s asked the big guy to make sure he doesn’t forget the ones who were her stalwart supporters. Now that’s the Christmas spirit.

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Advent Calendar 2012

Advent pictures

Advent calendars. What’s not to love?

This year, I bought Draw Pilgrim’s printable advent calendar* – gorgeous graphics you  print out and glue to match boxes.

Day 2 advent calendar

Because I always get way too excited and plan way too much in December (whaddya mean having your floorboards re-polished one week before Christmas isn’t a great idea?) it should come as no surprise to me that instead of the 24 little matchboxes all piled up on the mantelpiece, what we actually have is a situation where I climb out of bed bleary-eyed each morning and am greeted by two little girls who want nothing more than that day’s matchbox. Yep, it’s all about the little gifts.

Day 6 advent calendar 2

So I quickly cut and paste and stuff a trinket or sweet in and hand it over. There is, at least, no less magic in it for them.

Day 3 advent calendar

And when I wanted to give something a bit less diminutive, I used the boxes to store little treasure hunt notes.

Day 5 advent calendar

I wish someone would make me an advent calendar like this. They’re the perfect size for 24 days of, say, diamond jewellery. No pressure, Andrew. You’ve got the next 12 months to prepare.

*Pilgrim only puts her advent calendar printable in in the lead up to each year’s Christmas. Shoot her an email and she’ll let you know when it’s available again. Also, if you don’t want to buy match boxes, her printable includes little box making templates and instructions.