NZ Woman's Weekly
New Family Christmas Traditions

New Family Christmas Traditions

Forming your own traditions at Christmas helps bring your family unit closer together. Here are six ideas for creating new family traditions this Christmas.

  • Talk to your kids about creating new family traditions or reviving old ones you remember from your childhood, such as lighting a candle for each person in the family at the beginning of Christmas Day and getting that person to talk about what they’re thankful for. This moves the focus from material things and encourages a sense of togetherness.
  • Talk to your kids about big words like “commercialism” and “materialism” and discuss how advertising works. Ask them to look at the things on their Christmas wish-lists and ask them why they want them. Was it the advertisement that attracted them or do they see those gifts serving a purpose?
  • Design constructive presents such as volunteering to help an elderly neighbour for a year or writing out coupons for favours such as washing the car or cooking a meal once a week (obviously this is an older child idea).
  • If there are a lot of children in your extended family, consider organising a Secret Santa rather than everyone buying lots of presents. Each child buys a present for one other child in the family with a spending limit of $5 or $10. And take it a step further – added to the gift is the understanding that the Secret Santa recipient also gets looked after for the day with some special treatment. Talk about the symbols of Christmas.
  • Did you know that the pine tree represents everlasting hope because it is green all year? And that the pine needles pointing upwards are said to represent man’s thoughts turning to heaven? The star on top of the tree symbolises a heavenly sign from God, giving hope to humankind. The wreath represents the true nature of love, which like a circle never ends, and the holly represents immortality. Angels have significance because they first heralded the news of Jesus’ birth and the candy cane represents the crook carried by shepherds.
  • Christmas stockings come from a legend where St Nicholas threw pouches of coins down the chimney and they landed in stockings that were drying by the fireplace. And Santa Claus originated in the fourth century – he was based on a real person, St Nicholas, a generous man who was devoted to children and did many charitable acts.
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