Creating Family Traditions

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I love Christmas and the holiday season’s festivities and celebrations. No matter what you believe or celebrate, this is a period when families spend extra time together and is a perfect opportunity to create beautiful memories and special traditions. So I’ve gathered some ideas and included a few of our own traditions to form a bit of a selection. Incorporating the ones we love into the holiday season can hopefully create precious and lasting memories – both for our children as well as ourselves.
I think back to my own childhood and as simple as it was I loved the sound of Christmas carols playing while we decorated the tree – even if when we lived on a small island it was an Australian eucalyptus tree!

1) Thanksgiving Notes
Place a jar on your kitchen bench or dining table and throughout the month of November write something you are thankful for on a piece of note paper every day. On thanksgiving open the jar and read all the thank you notes as a family.
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2) The Christmas Eve Box
Find an old show box (maybe a couple) or a cheap larger sized gift box from a two dollar store. Fill it with goodies for your family to enjoy on Christmas eve. Include things like new PJs for everyone, new socks, hot chocolate, a Christmas movie, pop corn, bubble bath, new toothbrushes, new colouring book etc

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Click here for other ideas from The Imagination Tree
http://theimaginationtree.com/2011/12/christmas-eve-surprise-box.html

3) Christmas/holiday themed story books
We’ve started a collection of Christmas story books. We either wrap them individually or place them in a basket under the tree. Each evening we choose one to read throughout the month of December.
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4) Advent Activity Calendar
Buy or make an advent calendar that has 24 empty boxes/pockets/windows and put a note in each day with something fun on it. My friend Jaclyn Jenkins does this with a string of little stockings she’s made. They’re seriously adorable! Check out the pictures below.
You could include things like…
Today we are going to go for ice cream.
Today we are going to do a shop for the food bank.
This evening we will play some board games.
Today we will go for a walk at the beach,  in the forest etc
Things that can be done together as a family. Some things can be big and some small,  some just for fun and some more charitable.
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5) Christmas Tree Decoration
Each year make or buy a new decoration to hang on the tree for each child. Eventually they will have gathered quite a collection they can take with them when they are all grown and leave home.

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6) Christmas Lights Tour
Wait til it’s dark, make sure you’re all snug and cosy in some PJs, hop in the car and tour your neighbourhood. Enjoy all the Christmas lights and decorations as you drive around. Take special snacks and hot chocolates for the trip.

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7) Christmas Crafts and Cooking
I love any excuse to make delicious treats like gingerbread and coconut ice. What’s not to love about the scent of cinnamon, ginger and spices drifting through the house. I also take the opportunity during December to add Christmas spices to play dough for an extra Christmassy sensory experience.

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8) Donate or Buy a Toy
Depending on your preference, your child’s personality, family circumstances etc buy or donate a toy to charity. If your children are happy to do it they could choose one of their old toys to donate to a child in need. Or you could go on a shopping trip especially to buy a gift for an anonymous child in need.
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9) Make your own Christmas Stockings
I love having our own, home made Christmas stockings. I wish we had an old ornate mantle piece,  but we just hang ours on our bedroom door handle or bed ends.
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10) Home made baked treats for the neighbours
It’s fun and definitely cheaper to bake some Christmas goodies to gift to your neighbours.
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11) Christmas Carols
In most neighbourhoods there are Christmas carols in various community locations during the weeks leading up to Christmas. Most hand out mini candles, often the safe, battery operated kind which look just as pretty. Our girls love them!

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12) Camp Out by the Tree
Might not be your most comfortable night’s sleep but it will be fun! Camp out beside the twinkling lights of your Christmas tree, all snuggled up with loads of cushions and blankets.
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13) Extend an Invitation
Growing up we would often end up with extra folk around the Christmas table. There are often people in our midst that have no family or nowhere to go on Christmas day, so why not share some love and hospitality with someone who would otherwise be feeling lonely and displaced.

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14) Treasure Hunt
Throughout the festive season try to find the following things on your travels…

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This scavenger hunt list is from the following website but you could easily make up your own that suits your area.
http://sweetsugarblossoms.blogspot.com.au/2014/12/christmas-tradition-light-display-photo.html?showComment=1418858423419&m=1#c2840167913730123827

15) Nativity Scene
There are some gorgeous wooden nativity scenes on the market. Our girls love rearranging and playing with a nativity scene at their Nana and Papa’s.

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16) Make a Wreath
As simple as it is, our girls love hanging a Christmas wreath on our front door. This year I want to make one using a collection of old fabrics.  I’ve also seen some stunning ones made from felted pom poms.

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17) Make your own Decorations
Making your own decorations is fun and can be done as simply or extravagantly as you want. Kids can colour and decorate pre cut shapes or using a sewing machine cam create some simple Christmas shapes with off cuts of fabric or use beads and thread them onto wire or string. The options are endless. Then keep them for your own tree or give them away as gifts.
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