Creating Festive Traditions

As an indecisive person at times, things like Christmas become rather stressful for me. Not just as a gift giver and wanting to get something nice for our family members, but now that we are Father Christmas too, there are so many choices to make of what’s best to give the kids and what to pop in their stockings. I am content with our gift giving choices, and super pleased with Ethan’s things, but Megs has had me stumped (now just about sorted) and then Ethan, in a concerned and serious voice sat me down the other day and said he really NEEDED a super hero coat to play with his friends at school (one that fastens under his neck to make into a cape) and so after some consideration, rather than make him a costume I’m gonna make his day and surprise him with that!

We also can’t escape the fact that now they are completely aware of what Christmas is and what will play out on the eve before and day of, brings the pressure of remembering it all and hoping they love the choices you went with. To be honest all of this, remembrance of our loss and more illness, has meant that I haven’t been feeling super christmassy this year…

I think my favourite aspect of Christmas and what truly brings the spirit of the season are the little family Traditions we create, and as a (youngish) parent and fairly new to all of this, I’ve been thinking a lot on how we/I can start to establish some yearly festive things that we look forward to and dilute the stresses of gifts, shopping and general busy prep which comes with Christmas. And so here are some things we have enjoyed, and would love to maintain in the future.

1. IKEA Santa Lucia Celebrations – If you have an Ikea near you, you need to check this out next year! I had never heard of it and by chance saw a poster when I was shopping for puppets there a few weeks ago with a friend. and I have been super duper excited for it since I bought the tickets (which with a family card were very reasonable), and it was such a great evening out as a little family.
It was ticket only in the cafe and everything was “free” once you were in, so we had a salad buffet to start with cooked meats, cheese and crackers and prawn cocktails. Then lots of delights on the hot counter for mains.
The kids enjoyed helping themselves to dessert and milk and the christmas crackers, and a little treat at the end of a selection box from Santa.
WP_20151210_18_25_51_ProWP_20151210_18_07_04_ProWP_20151210_17_53_17_ProWP_20151210_17_19_16_ProI hope this is something we can do as a family every year because it was a lot of festive fun and the lead up was exciting!

2. A Christmas Play – I don’t think that the kids are quite ready for a panto yet, and to be honest im not too keen on them myself. Yes I love the theatre, plays and quirky productions, but there is something about panto’s that just doesn’t really interest me!

Last week however, The Rainbow factory invited us to their production of “The Shoemakers Christmas wish” and we all absolutely loved it. xmas shoemaker and elf. Copyright C Johnston PhotographyThe kids mostly sat still, were engaged and laughed in all of the right places and because the stage there is small and there were only a handful of families, it was a very personal experience and just as lovely as the rest of the adventures that take place. Emily Goldie and Jennifer Carss were absolutely brilliant together and have so much talent.
xmas stocking. Copyright C Johnston Photography
Megs CONSTANTLY talks about ‘that funny elf’ and how she knows all about elves because she met one in The Rainbow Factory. She asks daily when we can go see it again.
Xmas show. Copyright C Johnston Photography.
As a mother who adores theatre and drama, this makes my heart sing! I hope that they do these beautiful little productions yearly, because it would be the perfect family tradition, I can just see it in the kids faces! It was funny, engaging, musical and with a good message…what more could you want?!
 *Photography by C.Johnston*  

3. School Carol Concert – There is nothing sweeter than hearing children sing and tell the story of Christmas. I adore hearing them gleefully sing songs (with actions) that I too loved as a kid and its so great to see them remind us adults about the simplicity of the season.

We all thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon at Ethans school yesterday, the last day of term, sat listening to Key Stage 2 perform solos, duets, mini group pieces, whole hall pieces and feeling christmassy. I was so happy to be there and hope as a mummy I can always make it to things like that.

4. Christmas Movies – I think most families have this one, but there is nothing more beautiful on a winters eve to snuggle together with a Christmas movie. Our fave as kids was “Muppet Christmas Carol” and I love how I feel when I watch it still as an adult. I loved seeing the kids enjoy this year too when we introduced it to them for family night.
They love ‘The Grinch’, which is another of my faves and I love hearing them laugh their heads off every.single.time!

I am grateful for these events in our lives over the last few weeks that have made the Christmas season more exciting and magical and given us quality family time.

What are some of your family Christmas traditions? 


  1. December 19, 2015 / 5:00 pm

    I love creating traditions at this time of year, and as my kids are getting older we are starting to think about new traditions for next year (bye bye Father Christmas sob). I am loving the event at Ikea. Our local store is only 20 minutes away so I will keep an eye out for this next year. Sounds as if you have had the perfect start to the festive season xx

  2. December 20, 2015 / 8:27 pm

    I am not a panto fan either, like you I love the theatre, I studied Drama but I had a childhood fear of pantos and it has stayed with me now, haha! Lucas has just been to one with his Grandparents and he loved it so I hope they will take him again. The Ikea evening sounds like so much fun, I’ve seen them advertised but never been too sure what they were all about and your photos looks really good. I think making new traditions are a great way to start to feel Christmassy, I think you have the best outlook for what must be such a hard time of year for you Mary. It is definitely more about fun experiences and making memories than spending money. I hope you and your beautiful family have a lovely Christmas xxx

  3. December 22, 2015 / 2:24 pm

    We have a few Christmas traditions, buying our tree, making Christmas biscuits, go on a few Christmas treats. This time is so magical for little ones I want them to have so many wonderful memories. I love the look of the Ikea event it is something I might look into next year. Have a Merry Christmas xxxx

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