Bring Your Own Traditions To Christmas

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, the end of the year is a great time to celebrate and commemorate the year just gone.

Our family tradition lasts three days… As a family, we like to have a decadent BBQ for dinner on Christmas Eve as we’re usually at the beach, go see the neighbourhood Christmas lights, put all the pressies around the tree, and play board games with hot chocolate stirred with hot milk stirrers.

On Christmas morning we open presents, have a delicious breakfast, and head off to the beach. We cook our roast for dinner when it’s cooler – with the table laid by the kids… It’s so much fun seeing what they come up with each year! And a homemade dessert – as fancy as it can be! (Check out the easy option of luxury chocolate pudding with gold glitter sprinkling).

On Boxing Day, we have a champagne breakfast with my favourite – full English breakfast (minus the black pudding but definitely with crispy bacon). Followed by something like a swim, cricket on the lawn and/or a bike ride, and then cuddled up with movies in the evening – just relaxing with the family really.

And I really do appreciate this – and thoughts go to those who aren’t in this amazing position to have family around or enough for a big dinner.

All around the world, communities and families celebrate with traditions that bring excitement and joy. Here are some ideas on how to bring new traditions to your end-of-year celebrations.

Christmas Traditions From Around The World

Christmas Tree Traditions
The Tannenbaum (Christmas tree) is a centrepiece of the celebration in Germany. On Christmas Eve, families gather to decorate the tree with lights, candies, and handmade ornaments. We think a wonderful family tradition is encouraging each family member to contribute a unique ornament, weaving personal stories into the evergreen boughs.

The Joy of Reading with Jólabókaflóð
Iceland has a heartwarming tradition called Jólabókaflóð, where people exchange books on Christmas Eve and spend the night reading. Why not adopt this tradition as a wonderful way to encourage family bonding and the love of literature?

A Finger-Licking Good Christmas
Turkey may be a tradition for New Zealand, but we’re not the only country that has food traditions. Japan has a unique tradition of enjoying KFC on Christmas Eve, a practice that started as a marketing campaign in 1974 but became a national phenomenon. This could inspire a “fun food” night for your Christmas Eve, breaking away from traditional fare and creating a relaxed, joyful atmosphere.

Hide Your Broom
One of Norway’s peculiar traditions involves hiding all the brooms in the house on Christmas Eve to prevent them from being stolen by witches and evil spirits. You can incorporate this into a playful family game to bring everyone together at the end of the year.

A Day To Roll
In Caracas, Venezuela, it’s a tradition to roller-skate to the early morning Christmas Mass. While roller-skating to church might not be feasible everywhere, you can adopt this spirit by planning a family outdoor activity on Christmas Eve, be it a stroll or a bike ride, to breathe in the festive air.

The Giant Lantern Festival
The Philippines celebrates Christmas with the Giant Lantern Festival, where colourful, intricate lanterns light up the night. Creating your own lanterns can be a fun family craft activity, adding a glow of creativity and warmth to your home.

Building Your Own Tradition

The beauty of traditions lies in creating moments that reflect your family’s warmth, love, and uniqueness. Building your own festive traditions is a wonderful way to create lasting memories and strengthen family bonds.

Be it through a Christmas Eve gift box or through adopting novel customs from around the world, each celebration is an opportunity to weave a tapestry of memories.

Here are five tips to help you establish meaningful and enjoyable customs for your family during the holiday season:

1. Start with Your Roots:
Embrace your heritage and incorporate elements from your cultural or family heritage into your holiday celebrations. This might include traditional dishes, music, or decorations. Researching your ancestry can unearth unique traditions you can revive or adapt to modern celebrations.

2. Reflect and Personalize:
Create traditions that reflect your family’s values and interests. Think about what matters most to your family. It doesn’t have to cost the earth. If you love the outdoors, perhaps a yearly Christmas tree hiking trip would be a hit. Creating homemade decorations or a family art project each year could be your tradition if your family is artistic. Aligning your traditions with your family’s passions makes them more meaningful and enjoyable.

3. Involve Everyone:
Include all family members in the planning and execution. Give everyone a voice in creating new traditions. Children, in particular, will cherish the traditions more if they feel they have contributed to them. This could be as simple as allowing each family member to choose a special activity for the holiday season or having a rotating “tradition chooser” each year.

4. Balance Old and New:
Blend old traditions with new ideas. Discarding old traditions entirely is unnecessary. Instead, consider how they can be adapted or combined with new ideas to keep them fresh and relevant. For example, if you always have a special meal, consider adding a new dish each year that someone in the family has chosen or created.

Remember, Traditions Shouldn’t be Stressful! The best traditions are those that bring joy and aren’t a burden. Keep them simple enough so they can be easily repeated year after year. Also, be open to modifying them as your family grows and changes. What works one year might need tweaking the next, and that’s okay. The key is that the tradition continues to bring your family together in a meaningful way.

Explore our Christmas Eve and Christmas gift boxes.