Fun Christmas Eve Family Traditions
Christmas Customs for the Family
Celebrating Christmas is a tradition practiced worldwide. There are common traditions and there are some that are unique and are more personal in nature. Most families have specific activities done during Christmas Eve. If you haven’t started one yet, here are some suggestions:
- Select a family in need of encouragement this coming Christmas. Perhaps someone you know who could be undergoing financial crisis, may have experienced recent loss caused by death in the family, or could be a new neighbor. Simply keep your minds and hearts open and you'll find someone needy. Choose some personal presents for them or assemble a gift basket. Add entertaining items and a few toys and see the enthusiasm build up as the basket becomes full. On Christmas Eve, secretly place the basket at their doorstep and go. If needed you may have to alert them with an anonymous call or text message about the mysterious basket on their doorstep. Nowadays, due to issues of security, people may not trust taking mysterious packages anymore; in this case, you may have to simply hand over the basket yourself. This random act of kindness may go a long way, and Christmas time is one perfect season to practice this.
- Visit Christmas-themed exhibits in your area: light displays, the lighting of the community Christmas trees, Christmas concerts or play, etc.
- During the day time, start a common family hobby such as stamp collecting, photography, family music recitals, genealogy tree; and for the non-snowing parts of the world -- hiking, swimming, cycling, running, or camping.
- On the night of Christmas Eve, Gather the children round (the fireplace if you have one) and narrate the nativity story or talk about the facts surrounding the birth of Jesus. You may be surprised at how many facts there are-- enough to trigger curious questions from children. So you have to be ready with some researched tidbits about this historical event. This is the best time to straighten out facts about Christmas. To make it more exciting, focus on one or two features in the Nativity story (the time of year, the characters, the facts and not so true legends, a slide show of different Christmas themed artworks). As the children grow, they will see the Christmas story with a deeper perspective each year.
- Prepare a plain gingerbread house for the children (or even adults) to decorate and frost.
- Bake cookies with names of family members written with frosting and use them as place-cards for the Christmas Eve dinner.
- Hold a potluck supper with two or three other families or adult couples then sing carols (best if one plays an instrument). If you choose to go caroling have each family contribute goodies to share such as cakes, cookies, homemade jams or jellies, or sweets to drop off at the homes or areas you choose to carol.
- Start or continue your Christmas scrapbook with secular or spiritual themes: add your favorite Christmas poems, short stories, photos, and images. Keep adding to it yearly by checking on newspapers and magazines. Include a Christmas photo of your family per year as a time stamp of the changes and growth. This scrapbook may just turn into a cherished family treasure.
- Have a musical Christmas by having carols played on instruments or sung by family members. This may be the only season delightful for everyone to perform Christmas songs to your heart's content, so go for it! If you aren't musically inclined, play Christmas tunes on your home sound system or mp3 player.
- Begin collecting printed Christmas cards or vintage Christmas cards, you may choose a specific theme: nativity scenes, Santa Claus pictures, Madonna and Child, or winter sceneries. This is a great time to display your collection, either on a mantle or at a special table on cardboard frames. You may also frame them presented as a montage of Christmas cards or postcards and bring them out for display as your holiday wall decor. This interesting display will make great conversational pieces. The younger generation will see and learn how the art styles change in throughout the years.
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