Do you remember childhood Christmas’ as if looking through rose-tinted spectacles or do you remember Christmas because it really was that special? If you are able to look back fondly, surely you owe it to your children to make their Christmas memories equally ‘cherishable’. The thing is that too many people, especially children, associate Christmas with massive spending and overindulgence and some kids even regard Christmas as a failure if they don’t wake up to the latest Xbox or PlayStation game and this year budgets are stretched further as all kids want the new versions of the console to play them on too. Thank Santa for making sure the consoles aren’t released every year too!
Change the Mentality and Change for the Better
My siblings and I were brought up to know the real meaning of Christmas and it definitely wasn’t gifts, but I can never accuse my parents of not going all out to make sure I had just as much as my peers. I knew that Christmas, aside from the religious holiday, was about being good to others and the true spirit of the season of good will. I was a child of the 70s so saw Live Aid one year at Christmas and the idea that others were severely less well off than us has never left my mind at Christmas since. It’s thanks to my parents gentle insistence that I should understand the meaning of charity that I look back at Christmas as a special time because of the good I do, which in the great scheme of things, is very little.
Charity Begins at Home – All Time Gratefully Received
Although I believe that good will to all is an important part of Christmas, I still realise that it’s really all about the kids and that’s why I make a special effort to spend as much time with my children doing what they want to do. That used to mean making a fort out of the empty boxes their Christmas presents came in, but today it tends to be sitting with a game controller in my hand and wondering what’s happening with the character I’m supposed to be controlling in the latest Call of Duty or whatever game they are into at the time. However, I always make sure we play at least one board game where we all sit and enjoy each other’s company because that’s one of the special memories I have of my childhood and I want my kids to have those memories too.
The Christmas Trip
I always like to venture out at Christmas for a short while because the streets have a strange atmosphere at Christmas that’s hard to describe, but is almost palpable. Fortunately, my in-laws have moved closer and we walk to theirs for Christmas dinner each year, but before that, I always liked to take in the atmosphere and feel the crisp winter air.
The hours out of the house might stem back from the times when my kids’ had new bikes for Christmas instead of something electronic, or it may just be because Christmas day is one of the great days to be alive? Whatever it is, the family jaunt is a modern tradition that we’ve introduced that is my wife’s and my touch on Christmas. The question is, what will traditions will your kids remember when they grow up?
My Suggestions to Help You Out
If you’re stuck for ideas, I hope some of these are suitable and you enjoy creating your traditions as much as I have ours:
1. Feed Rudolph
We are fortunate enough to live near a country park that has many reindeer and each year, Santa has a grotto with Prancer, Dasher, Vixen Rudolph and co all ready to tuck into whatever root vegetables you can chop an place in a goody bag. A friend of ours lives in the city and they also have something similar, so it might be worth checking out.
2. Decorate your Christmas Tree with secret gifts.
It doesn’t matter if you have a small, large or even an artificial Christmas tree, the decorations make it what it is and we always sneak a present for the kids into the tree. In the past, we’ve used a watch, bracelet and once we placed an envelope with money in it because we were stuck for ideas. The reason we do this is so that after opening all the presents, it’s good to surprise the kids with an extra gift that we must have ‘forgot’. After a few years, the kids always throw a sneaky glance to the tree to see if there’s something else for them there and it’s one of our traditions.
3. The Christmas Picture
We always pose for a family photograph and I suppose this started when I had a camera for Christmas one year and I wanted to ‘test’ the timer function. The mad rush to get in position, smile on cue and the inevitable closed eyes or badly timed smiles always manages to produce a few pictures for Facebook that ensure nostalgia will feature heavily in the minds of my children when they grow up.
Even if you only introduce one or two annual events to your Christmas and stick to them, your kids should grow with similarly find memories to yours. Good luck and have a very merry Christmas in 2013.
About the Author
Shaun Thomas is a father who loves his children and wants every moment together to be special. The trouble is that it’s hard to remember that all through the year, but he believes that’s why Christmas is so special.