Christmas… As the song so famously says, ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year!’… There’ll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, and caroling out in the snow…
Traditionally, the tree and decorations don’t go up until the first week of December, but each family’s different, and i’ve even heard of people putting theirs up in September! Since moving to Spain, we’ve started following the Spanish tradition of putting our decorations up on the 8th of December – The Feast of the Immaculate Conception – and like all good Spaniards, the very first thing that we set up, along with our Christmas tree, of course, is our nativity scene. Here in Spain, the nativity scene has an extra little figure, the Caganer, and, believe it or not, it is actually a figure of a Catalan man wearing traditional Catalan clothes with his pants around his ankles, taking a poo! (yes…you read that correctly 🙂 !) This may seem strange, but it is a custom from the 18th Century. His poo is seen as a sign of good luck as it fertilizes the earth and ensures a good harvest for the coming year. If you decide to visit Barcelona at Christmas, you might even be lucky enough to see the large Caganer for yourself!
If you’d like to read a little more about Spain’s Christmas traditions, Barcelona tourist Guide has lots great info!
Here are a couple of other traditions, with some printables 🙂 , to add just an extra sprinkling of magic.
1. The very first Christmas tradition we need to talk about is the Letter to Santa. Now, i know you could email one off to Santa, and that’s fine as a back-up, but i love the ‘old-school’ authenticity of sending off a real, hand-written note! A great tradition to start with the family! I’ve gone ahead and designed one (i know i’ll have to help my little one fill hers in, but big sister’s already said she’ll be joining in this year – now that little sister’s going to notice 😉 ) and i’d love to share it with you all! Just click here to download your copy.
2. One of our traditions that has travelled with us all the way from South Africa is enjoying the Christmas lights together as a family. every year, we pile the kids in the car and head on out to find the most spectacular light displays so that we can ‘Ooohhh..’ and ‘Aaahh..’ in unison. A super fun tweak that i’ve added this year is turning our car into the Magical Polar Express! I even designed a ticket to make things official! Get yours here now!
3. Santa’s Nice List Certificate – I’ve never been a fan of the idea of handing out a ‘you got on the naughty list’ certificates (apparently some people do it 🙁 ), but this seems like such a nice way to acknowledge good behavior and positive attitudes, and even to encourage a child that may be struggling. You could start a new tradition where you present the certificates on Christmas, perhaps with a little gift, or you take a photo of each child as they receive their certificate. We all know how nice it is to feel appreciated! Here is one that i created. (click here to download your copy)
4. Create a Christmas Eve box – All you need to do is grab an old box (a shoebox or an old gift box would be perfect), and wrap that in some of last year’s wrapping paper. Fill it with a couple of things to make Christmas Eve super special. Cute Christmas pajamas, a yummy homemade treat (like a mug of mini s’mores or some delicious hot chocolate), and a fantastic family movie or book. Looking for more ideas (and a printable or too) for your Christmas Eve box? Head on over to Oh My Creative and take a peek.
5. 12 Days of Christmas Fun – Once you take a look at this one, i think you’ll agree, the name actually doesn’t do it justice. 12 Days of Crazy Cool, Fantastic Fun For The Entire Family comes a little closer, but you still have to check this out for yourself. 12 boxes, filled to the brim with Christmas-themed activities and suggestions for a fantastic way to spend time with the family. Amazing! Katherine over at Katherine Maries did a really fantastic job with this one.
6. Donating to charity is a wonderful thing to do at anytime of the year, but creating a special box for a child in need at Christmas can mean so much. There are plenty of ways to get involved and show your child that you can make a difference. You could build a shoebox and donate it to a child through the Samaritan’s Purse or you could take a leaf off of one of the Kids Out Giving Trees and make a child’s dream come true that way.
7. Why not whip up (or stumble around the sewing machine until you manage to pop out 🙂 ) a special Christmas pillowcase for each child! I bet they’ll be so excited when time comes to put it on, you might even have some willing helpers when it comes to changing the linen! Capturing Joy has all the details, and i promise, the pattern’s not that difficult – if it was, i’d have left it off this list 😉 .
8. Kindness Elves are a great alternative to the classic elf on the shelf, and can be used to teach the kids little lessons along the way. The Imagination Tree has 25 great ideas for your kindness elves, and of course, you can come up with your own too! Take a look.
9. Why not add an Oh So Cute elf door this year (and every to come)? It will add an extra special touch to any Elf on the Shelf or Kindness Elf tradition you choose to celebrate. Oh So Amelia has all the details.
10. Scavenger hunts are just so much fun, and Christmas is no exception! Why not add this fantastic scavenger hunt from Frugal Fun For Boys to your Christmas Tradition list? It’s not only boys that are going to love this one, i promise!
11. Cindy from Skip To My Lou (via The Crafting Chicks) shares about a great tradition that her family used to celebrate when they lived in Germany. It involves candy and shoes… sound interesting? It is! But to find out more, and possibly add the tradition for your own family, you’re going to have to head on over to check it out for yourself 😉 .
12. The Holidays are a time of giving, and what better way to teach your family about the true meaning of Christmas than with this great idea by Jamielyn from I Heart Naptime ! 25 days of service is great way to give back, and create a fantastic new tradition all at the same time.
Do you have any Christmas traditions you’d like to share with us? Merry Christmas Everybody!