For those of us who celebrate it, Christmas is a magical time of year, packed as it is with memory-evoking traditions and rituals. From stirring the Christmas cake to putting up decorations and switching on the lights, family Christmas traditions are different for every household. One thing they usually all have in common, though, is that they centre around the home and the cosiness the interior provides.
For many couples, one of the particularly special things about starting a family is the opportunity to create your own traditions. As a new household, you can shape how you celebrate events like Christmas so that it’s as memorable and special to your children as it was to you.
When you’re creating your ideal Christmas as a new family, you’ll likely want to take your favourite family Christmas traditions and pass them on. Just as you may have inherited traditional Christmas decorations from your culture or family, the customs matter too. This might mean playing Christmas carols while you decorate the tree or burning an advent candle over dinner every night.
You’ll also want the atmosphere in your home to reflect your family Christmas traditions. That might mean filling your home with the aroma of a real Christmas tree or a wood-burning fire, if that’s what you’ve always done, or even just picking out a scented candle that reminds you of how your childhood home used to smell during the season. If your favourite Christmas memories involve snuggling up to watch a film or play a board game, make sure to have plenty of cosy cushions and throws to keep everyone comfy during family time together. Remembering your childhood Christmas highlights will help you pick out the key cosy pieces to bring into your home.
Usually when you start a family you’re merging two existing families, and that includes combining family Christmas traditions from both sides. Therefore, the most touching and most meaningful way to create your own celebration is to keep traditions you love from each side of the family.
Perhaps you’ll use Grandma’s traditional Christmas pudding recipe from one family, but the mince pies will come from the other side. Perhaps you’ll combine one side’s love of decorating the house with festive door wreaths and twinkling lights in the garden with the other side’s skill at decking the halls indoors. Or maybe your tree will be a colourful mix of two families’ most-loved Christmas decorations. In this way, your home can be a balanced and welcoming blend of traditions from both of your families.
One exciting part of having your own family is making brand-new traditions. If you’ll be visiting relatives on Christmas Day itself, then creating some Christmas Eve traditions in your own home can warm the heart. This could be lighting candles, singing carols, having your neighbours round for festive treats or perhaps spoiling yourselves with one pre-Christmas present from under the tree.
Whatever your advent traditions are – whether you want to celebrate the old or create something that’s just yours – a Christmas at home should be joyous, warm and full of light.