So Christmas magic is a big thing in my family…
My mum absolutely LOVES Christmas… That’s is no exaggeration at all. It is her favourite time of the whole year.
She went hard core when we were kids… Like super hard core…
Even if the boys or other kids aren’t around her it doesn’t matter.
My Mum and Josh getting buckets to leave out for the reindeer Christmas 2015- even more important as mum lives in country town Australia, its hot! Like 45 degrees Celsius hot…
I am as much my mothers daughter as I am my fathers one (I get told “you are your fathers daughter” often for the record…)
But my mum and I, well we are a lot alike too.
We are social creatures to say the least.
A party is a good place to be for us. Throwing parties, even better…
Christmas and entertaining go hand in hand. Everybody wants to catch up. There are parties left right and centre with all kinds of different gatherings and people and places and such…
I get why it is her favourite time of year.
I love it a little bit too… Not like her for the record.
This is my Mum’s house at Christmas.
She never has one tree but actually several… with one LARGE feature tree of sorts…
This is last years with Josh in the Santa’s helper outfit she got for him. The hat indeed moved and made sound even…
This is the extent of our Christmas Tree for example.
Its a Dawn Red Wood for 2016 the record, last year it was Kōwhai, the year before a Pōhutukawa, the first one of Josh’s Christmas’ when he was only 6 weeks old, it was a Monterey Pine, what one may classically think of as a Christmas tree.
Most of our minimal tree decorations are hand made…
The boys painting some decorations the day we brought the tree inside
We have a few traditions in my wee family that we made up when Josh was born and it was at a SPACE session that one of the wise “been there before you” mamas and leaders highlighted that we had a choice when our babies were so wee and it was the beginnings of “what Christmas meant” to them and for us in our own lives.
We could either think about it a bit and maybe talk with our partners to consciously create rituals and traditions for our kids to grow up with; we could adopted what our parents and society before now has lead us as adults to believe about Christmas and what that meant; or we could just leave the room and think nothing more off it..
No biggie, no pressure, just here’s a thought…
One of my favourite things about the whole SPACE program was this approach, and the families I did it with who are still great friends years later, in fact some of them are coming over for our annual Christmas BBQ get together here on the weekend!
And so James and I sat down and talked about it. We loved this idea, “it can be whatever you want it to be for your children”…
That sounds ridiculous maybe but its empowering, hugely.
James was born in the UK, things like turkey are important to him. I was born in Australia, things like prawns are what I remember as being key at Christmas. Then we are raising Kiwi kids, so of course you have to chuck a Pavlova in there right?! (see don’t hate me I am Australian here guys, I do know NZ created the Pavlova!)
And that’s just the food. Hahaha
So we made some choices around what we wanted Christmas to be like for our kids.
This is not to suggest what I am saying are “our” traditions are not also someone else’s, or that someone else should adopt them if they didn’t like them… The point is, you get to choose…
Really, you can do that… Especially if they are little, they won’t know it being any other way…
So for us, Christmas is about the magic.
I didn’t hate my mum nor did I perceive it to be lying when I found out she have been the one in the night that had gnawed bits of a carrot we left out for the reindeer’s.
I was stuck with how much she loved us and this time of year to go to that effort.
But, this concept I grew up with as a kid where everyone is forced to sit on some random dude’s leg so they get lollies even when they don’t want to is messed up.
That part of Christmas grates me.
In terms of Christmas photos specifically. We have always gone as a family and all sat with Santa for a photo.
One uber keen kid, the other, not so much hahaha this was our trip to Snowplanet and Santa’s castle last year 2015
It makes it less weird to our kids. They are more comfortable talking to some random dude knowing we are there to support them and we get the family photo for the year done at the same time.
One of our kids loves it, the other, nope not at all keen. So that’s cool. One sits on Santa’s knee, the other on mine next to Santa.
It’s still a Santa photo.
No one is uncomfortable and we are not telling them its ok if a random dude you don’t want to touch forces you to do something with your body you don’t want to in exchange for lollies.
Consent is a big thing for me in terms of lessons I think are really key for me to drill in now for my boys, especially driven by my life experiences and journey as a girl too, but that is a whole different post.
Key message, unless it hygiene related (like I need to brush your teeth, I don’t care how much you hate it!!) or medical (I am sorry but you have to open your mouth for the doctor to look in your throat, I know that isn’t fun but it is necessary) I encourage and reiterate often that they have control over who can and can’t do what to their bodies, just like everybody else does.
This year we have had lots of talk of avatars as our clever four year old has noticed the discrepancies in the facial appearance of different versions of Santa’s he has seen despite them all having the same suit.
We have had lots of talk of magic and rituals and traditions.
And Christmas for us actually comes in two different forms.
One “on year” where we mission it to Australia and see all the family and do an epic full on Christmas for like two weeks…
Omg I just got a bit tired writing that! It’s beautiful and special and some AMAZING memories are made for our family but fucking hot and stressful traveling with kids..
Thankfully that was last Christmas for us…
And one “off year” where we lay low at home, catch up with friends around the holiday period, host quite a few BBQs usually but then on Christmas day, we spend it chilled out, just the four of us (well actually this will be the first time we get to do it this way with four of us!)
And our “quiet Kiwi Christmas” includes the following key rituals in our house:
- We pick a tree together (a living like in a pot one from the garden centre) which we then plant somewhere on New Years day as a family.
- We don’t have that many Christmas decorations. Well obviously I have lots of hand me downs from my mum so I get the cardboard box out the shed, let the kids do what they like with it and string up some lights on the deck if I don’t lose my shit trying to unravel them in the process..
- Santa brings a “big” present for all four of us… Then each of us do or make or get something small for the others (obviously, Jai is a bit little still but maybe some paintings he’s done at Playcentre or something – ahem, Hannah, you may have to help with that… :P)
- Presents aren’t the focus. I do love the note writing and surprise elements but that is like first thing when we wake up. All done before we finish our morning coffees. We leave presents from other family sent or given to us for later in the day or another time, it’s too much to have it all at once we find. They just don’t appreciate it all the same when its handed over too quickly!
- We play with our Santa presents. All of us hahaha
- We have prawn cocktails (it’s like prawns on a bed of lettuce with fancy sauce my great grandmother used to make for the record not some gross drink..) for an early lunch that I make. We have turkey as a later lunch that James makes. We eat Pavlova and fruit for dinner!
Santa as a concept is there. He is a big part of the magic but he is NOT the magic of Christmas.
The magic of Christmas is like love and togetherness and celebrations and joy and all that shit.
If sitting on some random dudes knee to have a photo fucks with that, then drop it from your traditions if you want…
Or if you have Christmas crazy family who NEED a photo with Santa each year, why don’t you all jump in too?
From my family to yours, Merry Christmas xx Snowplanet 2016 (today!) x