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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Christmases past

First living wreath

Every year I do it. Get over-excited. Plan too much. End up feeling a bit less jolly and a bit more postal.

Edge of fabric cracker

Not doing it this year.

Gingerbread house - front view

I do have a few things planned – I mean a girl can’t just go cold Christmas turkey now can she?

Christmas drinks invitations and Christmasy polar bear

But mainly I’m just trying to be present. In each moment. And yes, I know how trite that sounds but I am still committed to doing it because I think it is worthwhile.

Cream velvet bow on golden Christmas tree decoration

And my window of opportunity to have little girls looking at the Elf on the Shelf in wonder is swiftly closing.

Christmas Tea light, vintage bauble and shelf elf

In fact, the older one already maintains that she’s sure the elf comes from Ebay and not the North Pole.

Close-up of jingle bells on Olive's stocking

You have to believe to receive, I say. And that puts paid to her scepticism. Out loud, at least.

Cracker

In the meantime I’ve been looking back through some of my posts from past Christmases. I’m re-posting some of my favourite projects and hope they might give you some festive inspiration…or just provide a bit of xmas eye-candy at the very least.

Christmas Card - bunting

Click on the “Christmas ” in the righthand sidebar to see all these and many more Christmas posts. There aren’t really tutorials for most of these but if you want any details , drop me an email (on the contacts page above) and I’ll be very happy to oblige you with  a quick set of instructions.

Christmas candy cane lollipps

I love the wintery-ness of a Northern hemisphere Christmas. Which is completely at odds with the searing heat of antipodean celebrations.

Tolkien's Father Christmas Letters - Polar Bear's Accident

Don’t get me wrong, I relish everything about an Australian Christmas but I simply cannot help but emblazon things with snowflakes. Feels so wrong and yet I can’t stop.  Christmas crack.

Jube wreath close up with description

This cosy Christmas in July was a natural progression for one so taken with the thought of roaring fires and snow-trimmed windows.

Christmas table by candlelight

There’s a white Christmas in our near future. I feel it in me waters.

Starlight mint bauble with description

What about you, my darlings. Grand Christmas project plans? I love to live vicariously so let me know in the comments if you feel inclined. Oh go on, do.

Starlight mint LED lights

Gingerbread House

Okay, so I might have  a small problem with needing to control things.  Just an eensie weensie one. Which is why, the whole time my mum, Sophia and I were making and decorating this gingerbread house I kept saying in my head “process not outcome, process not outcome” to remind myself to let Sophia decorate it any way she liked.

I’ve discussed many times with Soph’s kinder teacher that kids are able to be more accepting of their own mistakes and more willing to take acceptable risks if you focus on the journey rather than the destination.

Well let me tell you my friends, this was one highly controlled journey. I failed miserably at letting go and, instead, orchestrated the decoration of this sucker like a dictator. The down side is that each time I look at the house I berate myself for not letting Sophia just do it however she wanted. Sigh.

The upside is, we have a bloody perfect gingerbread house.

Can I have a golf clap for the roof tiles and icicles please?  The tiles are made from sour licorice straps. And yep, they’re wrong way up just so you can see the pretty scalloping!

See the little musk stick with the jelly bean on top next to Father Christmas?  That’s a mushroom Sophia made.  She was so proud of it and devastated when it fell over after we had wrapped the house in cellophane to preserve it.  She hated that it wasn’t standing up as it should.  I just do not know where she gets that perfectionism from.

All’s well that ends well, though.  I ended up convincing her it was a good thing the mushie had toppled over because things that are too perfect are boring.  You can’t tell stories about perfect things.  This way, we can tell a story that Father Christmas came out with his axe and chopped down the mushroom to eat for Christmas dinner!  She was happy with that.  And she tells that story to everyone we show the house to.

Now, if I could just take some of the medicine I give my kids.