Because who are we to argue with tradition!
For many of us Christmas is steeped in tradition, whether it’s who gets to put the angel on top of the tree, what treats are left out for Santa and Rudolph, or even who gets to eat the last chocolate in the box of Celebrations. But sometimes the smallest things can help to create a magical atmosphere and add to the excitement for children, so it’s nice to think about what fun Christmas traditions you might want to start with your own family. Who knows? Your kids may even end up passing these ideas on to their children (or even grandchildren!) in years to come. To help get you started, here are some of the fun Christmas traditions we’ve been discussing in the office that we’ll be employing in our own homes!
When it’s time to write the Santa letters, make a fun afternoon or evening of it to turn it into a real occasion. Get out some paper and envelopes, coloured pens and some stickers and crafty bits to let the kids go wild. Treat them to some hot chocolate and Christmas-themed snacks while they decorate their masterpieces. You’ll obviously want to supervise the wish lists to make sure Santa isn’t getting any unreasonable requests! Of course if you don’t have the time (or patience) for this, you can always download Sassy Mama’s Santa letter and just fill in the blanks. Once the letters are finished, take a family walk to deposit it in the nearest postbox. Just remember to send them off in plenty of time to reach the North Pole!
Christmas is a great time to talk to your children about giving back and lending a hand to others. Encourage them to donate some of their toys, books and games to those in need. This is a good way to declutter and do good at the same time. You can give them a bag to fill and let them go through their belongings to select some things to pass on. Just make sure they don’t include their most-loved teddy bear or something you know they will change their mind about once it’s gone (a much younger version of this Sassy Mama once made her own mum buy back several items that had been donated to a local charity shop!).
Speaking of encouraging children to give back, why not ask them to donate their December pocket money to a Hong Kong charity? You can then tell them you will match what they donate. Turn the act of choosing which charity to support into a family activity, where you look at their websites and explain to the kids what each organisation does and how their money could help.
Go on a family shopping trip to choose an advent calendar. You can pick a cardboard one up in Bookazine or the shop at St John’s Cathedral always has a great selection. Or buy a reusable one where you can fill up the pockets with a treat of your choice and recycle it every year! Your children can take it in turns to see what lies behind each door or, if you think that will cause too many arguments, buy one each. Younger children may want to open all the doors at once, so you might need to keep the calendar out of reach! Alternatively, you could pick up an advent candle and add that into the mix, making it one child’s duty to supervise the candle to make sure it’s blown out at the correct point each day.
Decorating the tree should always be a special occasion. Divide up your decorations so that everyone in the family has an equal number to find a spot for, put on some Christmas tunes and get busy! Encourage the children to make some decorations of their own every year and put their name and age on it, so you can build up a collection. We love these easy salt dough ones, which are also perfect for pressing little feet or hands into to get some cute prints.
Initiate a baking day where gingerbread is on the agenda. We love this easy recipe from Good Housekeeping, which even has a helpful video that goes along with it! You can spend an afternoon decorating them with icing and sugar sprinkles etc. Your children may want to gift some to their friends and teachers as Christmas presents. Just make sure there are some left for you all to enjoy too!
It’s a nice idea to add some festive books to your children’s reading collection. Make sure you hide these books away at the end of December and can then make a big deal out of getting them out again on a specific date the following year. You’ll probably have some favourites from your own childhood that you can mix in along with some more modern tales. We recommend purchasing a copy of “The Night Before Christmas” and making a habit of reading that to your children every Christmas Eve when they are tucked up in bed.
Many children in Hong Kong may worry that Santa might not know how to get into their flat when there is no chimney. So why not let them choose a “magic key” that will help Santa get through the door. There’s plenty of choice on sites like Etsy, just remember to allow time for shipping if the item is coming from abroad. You can make sure the key is left outside your front door or under your mat on Christmas Eve. As it’s 2020, you may even want to leave out some hand sanitiser for Santa this year too!
There’s always something really satisfying about new nightwear, so it’s a nice touch to give your children a new pair of PJs to open on Christmas Eve. You could also choose warm and cosy Christmas jumpers with flashing lights and funny weaves. Leave them wrapped and labelled under the tree and allow them to open them just before bath time, so they can get cosy and crawl straight into bed afterwards. You can carry this tradition on even when they are teenagers and beyond!
Make sure that a discussion is had each year to decide what snacks and drinks Santa and Rudolph may like (keeping in mind they have a lot of flats to visit so they don’t need a great big meal!). Once your children have decided what they want to leave out, you can take them to the shops with you to help buy everything you need. Then on Christmas Eve, help them to leave it somewhere Santa definitely won’t miss it. They may want to leave some carrot shapes for Rudolph or make sure Santa has a Christmas napkin to wipe away any crumbs from his mouth with.
Whatever fun Christmas traditions you choose to implement, we hope you have fun with them and enjoy the family time!