Grow Your Own Traditions
‘Tis the season for traditions.
Be it an annual carol service in a freezing church, the dog-eared hand-made star that tops your tree, or that patented festive cocktail recipe.
It’s easy to write-off traditions as things that hold us back, adding formality and pomp, but traditions are the walls that keep our Christmas house standing. They connect us with our past, our culture, religion, or ancestors. They add structure and stability. Without them, we’re left with something very flimsy and confusing. Traditions also save us serious amounts of time, effort, and brain-space: it’s so much easier to fall back on the things that work, and frankly exhausting to reinvent the wheel at this time of year.
Image by Drazen Zigic/freepik
Traditions don’t just float my boat at Christmas, either. Call me unoriginal, but you’ll find me happily repeating summer holidays, tried and tested recipes, winning outings, because if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
The John Lewis Christmas advert really got me this year. Perhaps it’s because I have young boys who have wonderfully mad ideas (like the boy who grows a huge, singing, present-eating Venus fly trap and anoints it the family Christmas tree) but I think it’s something bigger: the idea that it’s never too late to create new traditions. However crazy your ideas or your family, there are new traditions hiding in the madness that can be grown and bettered each year.
Here are some festive tweaks that you might personalise into your own new traditions:
Simpler, sustainable gift-giving
Like many large families, Secret Santa (buying one carefully chosen gift for one person) is one of our traditions at Christmas time. It takes so much stress and expense out of this busy time, and makes your to-do list a doddle.
Image by freepik
This year – because we are hundreds for Christmas – we’re going a step further and making a rule that, for adults, our Secret Santa gift must be pre-loved (charity/thrift stores only). It’s an experiment, and might result in some odd offerings, but the principle is a sound one. If this feels extreme, consider whether your gift purchases could be more ethical. I’m trying to avoid giving any plastic to Godchildren (much to their chagrin!) and have some sweet wooden advent calendars that I fill myself with choccies to try and reduce waste.
The tree ritual
I’m sure you have a place you always visit for your Christmas tree. Are there traditions you can create around this to make the day more special or memorable? Maybe it’s brunch in the café opposite the garden centre to discuss tactics and tree height, or a walk in the woods before the sun sets and the decorating begins.
I love to create the same atmosphere at home for decorating the tree every year. I play some carols; we have mice pies and mulled wine and the children squawk about decorations they remember choosing or making. I let my boys choose one new decoration for the tree every year.
Entertaining on repeat
Find entertaining traditions that keep you sane during the Christmas season. Don’t take on too much at home if cooking drives you mad. We try and do one Christmassy pub supper with best friends in the run-up to Christmas before the family time begins. It’s such a treat for nobody to be stuck with the washing up.
If you love hosting a Christmas drinks party but always find it difficult to find a date that works, consider creating sticking to the same formula and date every year. E.g. martinis and blinis on the first Friday of December. Guests will learn to anticipate your invitation, keep the date free and know what to expect.
This Christmas season, as you gather around your own tree and create cherished memories, we hope that little touches of our homewares add an extra touch of magic to your festive celebrations.
It is our privilege to be a part of your homes, and we are excited about the opportunities to continue bringing you exceptional designs in the coming year.
Every Christmas tradition has a story and we’d love to hear yours, what are your Christmas traditions?
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