Family Christmas traditions
Reviving traditional Christmas traditions

Keep in mind what Christmas is truly about. Set up a nativity scene with your children. I remember my mother taking the pieces out one by one and explaining the significance of each piece as she placed it on the hall table.

We would arrange the animals, Joseph and Mary and the three wise men. The baby Jesus was always last. It was such an honour to place the baby in the manger. To make it fair, my mother made a rule that my brother and I would have to take turns as to who got to place him into his wee cradle.

Midnight Mass

I also have wonderful memories of attending Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. The church was always packed and everyone was in such a happy mood. Usually the children put on a live performance of the Nativity story.

When the last hymn, "Silent Night", finished we were told to head outside to listen for the animals. In some areas, it is believed that at midnight on Christmas Eve animals are given the gift of speech and that they fall to their knees in honour of Christ.

Christmas carols

Put on some Christmas music, grab the kids and sing along. Who cares if it's the Wiggles singing "Here comes Santa Claus", it might not be carolling in the traditional sense, but the kids will sure have fun. (And mum and dad probably will too!)

Family story time

Make a few mugs of hot chocolate, grab a plate of Christmas cookies and gather the family for a read of Clement C. Moore's "The Night before Christmas" before heading off to bed on Christmas Eve.

If you would prefer something a bit more modern, there are tons of children's Christmas books available. Get a copy of "The Polar Express" by Chris Van Allsburg, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" by Dr Seuss or try a Kiwi twist on the original story in "Kiwi Night before Christmas" by Yvonne Morrison.

Customise your Christmas crackers

You can find Christmas cracker kits at all kinds of shops. (I bought mine at the Warehouse last year). The kits include the traditional crown, bad joke and decorations. All you need to do is get inspired as to what you are going to fill them with. No more cheap plastic toys, you can now customise your crackers for each person.

Last year I simply filled mine with Cadbury Roses and watched the delight on my family's face when chocolate came spilling out.

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