I have such a long list of Christmas traditions that Wyn asked whether I think I'll be finished by March next year. ;-)
Some of the traditions are things from my childhood, some of them I have started over the past couple of years, and some are brand new and I'm super excited to get started!
To me, December marks the beginning of the festive season (and not so much the shops that start in October already...) So come Sunday, 1st of December, I'm gonna get started with my list of the following:
Putting up the Christmas Tree: This involves wearing festive clothes and accessories, like being dressed in red, with Xmas hats or reindeer ears. Must listen to Celine Dion's CD, These Are The Special Times. Must take lots of photos! Also put Christmas baubles on the lollipop trees outside our front door, and hang the wreath on the front door.
Elf on the Shelf: This is a new tradition that I can't wait to start. I saw it on Pinterest last year, and some of my friends started it last Christmas, but I wanted to wait until this year - 3 year old Mia will understand so much better. There's an actual book and proper "Elf" that goes with this tradition, but couldn't get hold of it here in SA, so we improvise. I found the perfect little Elf, who will make his appearance on the 1st of December. His main 'task' is that he watches to see if children are naughty or good and reports back to Father Christmas. But each night he gets up to his own antics or mischief - I can't wait to stage different activities and let Mia find him each morning!
Liggiefees: The Jakaranda Kinderhuis in Pretoria has a festival each year, where they have hundreds of outdoor Christmas lights on display. Get more info on their website here. Once again, this is something I heard about last year, but didn't do it, as Mia was still very much into her set bedtime routine, whereas this year, it won't throw her completely out of sync to have one late night once in a while and go look at beautiful lights. I can't wait! They have the display on for the whole of December, so I want to go quite early on - if it's nice we can go again and again! :-)
Bake and decorate Christmas cookies. Will share recipe when we do this!
Make salt-dough Xmas ornaments. We did this last year and it was lots of fun, definitely want to do this every year. And nice to give to the grannies and godmothers as gifts too. Find the blog post and recipe here.
Wrap Christmas presents together, listening to Christmas music.
Make Xmas cards for family.
Read Christmas books and watch Christmas movies together.
Go to church and pray together.
Listen to Christmas music, sing carols.
Make mince pies! I haven't ever done this before. My darling granny Jill used to make delicious mince pies every Christmas, I must look if I have her recipe in my recipe file or ask my mom for it. If not, there's a fabulous-looking step-by-step post here done by Vanilla Blonde.
Mia's Advent Calendar House - Mia has a supercute Advent Calendar House with 24 little drawers, to fill with small sweets or choccies. She grasped the concept so nicely last year already. See the post here.
Christmas Eve Surprise Box - I came across this idea on Pinterest, and really loved it. I'm still deciding how to do it, as it can either be individual boxes for each child, or else for the family spending Christmas Eve together - I'm quite liking the family idea. Can put absolutely anything into this box, for example, if it was for a child, can put in new pj's, socks, sweeties, a Christmas book, small toy. Or for a family, a Christmas movie to watch together, hot chocolate and marshmallows, a card game, etc. Undecided how and what I want to do, but the concept sounds so special. I will update on this! Here's a nice blog post about it: The Imagination Tree.
Christmas Eve Traditions: Leave milk and cookies for Father Christmas. Leave "reindeer food" for the reindeer - something as simple as raw oats mixed with glitter, how cool is that! Also love the idea of making Santa Claus footprints and reindeer paw prints, with glitter and flour. What fun!
Ooooh I absolutely cannot wait for all of this! 4 Sleepies til December!