Christmas heralds the birth of Jesus. The spirit of the Season can be more meaningful the first time you spend Christmas in a new house. There is something about a new home that makes us feel optimistic and hopeful about a new beginning. Christmas is a season of hope, good news, peace, restoration and new beginning. Thus, it is also the time to start “new rituals” and memories that you can share with your kids (and grandchildren later ) which they can later call “our family tradition”.
-Start with a family advent wreath four months before Christmas. Make sure that the wreath has four aromatic candles that are purple or pink (which stands for Royalty and Joy). Ask your kids to help you decorate the wreath which you can either create or buy in most stores offering Christmas decors. Aromatic pink candles are likewise available in stores and online but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get those “handmade” though they may be a little more expensive. Lay the wreath at one of your coffee tables on your new living room. Make it a family ritual to light one candle every Sunday before Christmas, preferable after your family dinner. If you have kids, may them light the candle and say a secret prayer and wish for someone in the family (much like when blowing out the candles on a birthday cake). After making the prayer/wish, let your kid or any member of the family blow out the candle. After that give out sweets and candies to each other as a symbol of sharing and generosity. Make sure however that these sweets and candies are unique. You can find all sorts of special candies and sweets like Starlite Mints, Swiss fruit and nuts and even personalized candy bars online and in specialty stores. Make sure that you photograph the whole “ritual” (or use a digital camera) so that you can preserve these memories in your family album or family website.
-Ask you and your kids to do craft by turning a tin can into a “Christmas giving savings” pot. Recycle a tin can and decorate it with Christmas colors. Cut a slit for coins and set it up near your advent wreath. Set an example and start saving some coins into your Christmas “pot” and encourage the kids. Tell them that on Christmas day, they can donate the whole “pot” to their favorite charity.
-Another way of teaching the kids gift giving during the Christmas season is to make it a family tradition to set a day within the Christmas season to volunteer at the nearest soup kitchen as a whole family.
– Make the a family Christmas Crest with a Christmas theme. For instance get a “symbol” of the values your family most value. If it is courage then, let the family decide what object /picture symbolizes it. If all agree that the picture of a soldier’s helmet symbolizes courage, then draw it and add Christmas trimmings on it. For instance, a drawing of a Helmet with the Poinsettia flower and pine cones. After agreeing on this “Family Christmas Crest” you can display this on your main door during the season.
– Personalize your family Christmas by encouraging everyone in the family to make and design their own greeting or gift cards to give away. This will teach the kids creativity plus a personalized handmade Christmas card is always perceived as “special” by anyone who receives it. Make them write something specifically special about the person they intend to give it to. For instance, a message to Aunt Mary would go : “To Aunt Mary whose heart is as sweet as her yummy Squash custard”.
– Get the family to decorate the Christmas tree together. Make it always a “team task”. Call it Tree Decorating Day and prepare snacks, soup and candies to give everyone the feeling that it’s a pre Christmas mini-party. Make it an “event” and take pictures or video. This would be great for family viewing on Christmas day or even many years later.
– Decide on something that will make your house distinctive during this season. For instance, let your house be known as “the house that has the huge Nativity Scene at the gate”. Of course, there is also the option of choosing something like a huge balloon Santa on the roof. Several new great balloon Christmas decors are available in specialty stores and online.
– Schedule water or traditional fireworks on Christmas Eve. When midnight strikes, herald the birth of the Saviour by inviting all your neighbors and their kids to watch your fireworks. Liquid fireworks are great if you happen to have a swimming pool, it is one of the most beautiful firework. These new kind of fireworks can be found online and and at specialty stores. Wouldn’t it be nice to be known as “the house that has fireworks in Christmas Eve?” If your family goes to Midnight Mass have the fireworks display after the mass when you come back to your home.
-Have a Midnight Christmas Eve dinner. Make it a family party but invite some of your friends. Most of your friends usually have their main Christmas dinner on Christmas day and may be free to attend your Christmas Eve late dinner. Serve dishes that are extraordinary like Paella, Galantina, Sausages and non-typical Christmas dishes. The typical Christmas Turkey and Ham can be served on Christmas day instead.
– Have a running family theme when wearing your Christmas clothes to Church on Christmas day. Mother and the girls do not have to wear the same kind of dress BUT they can have the same colors or accessories, while father can wear the same color on his necktie. Better still, have the design (if not color) of the dress “run like a family theme” like having all the clothes in your family “tailored” for Christmas mass.
– Most Churches have the Nativity scene. Make it a family tradition to leave “letters to the Baby Jesus” thanking Him for anything good about your family. Drop these letters in the Nativity Scene of your Church. If kids can write to Santa Claus, why not Jesus? This will make the kids and even the parents focus on the spiritual aspect of Christmas and make everyone make it a “grateful and giving” season.
Starting a family Christian tradition doesn’t start and end in your new home. It symbolizes a new life, good news, goodwill to all mankind and giving. Christmas is the season for love. Thus, every minor or major celebration during this season is definitely worth it. After all, you are creating memories that you can pass on to your children and grandchildren.