Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Christmas rituals

Christmas obviously has some very strong religious connections. We are not a religious family and sometimes at this time of year I wonder if we are missing out? I don't mean on the religious teaching aspect but on the ritual and specialness of the occasion. Our Christmas focus is on spending time with our families, eating fabulous food and gifts for the kids. It's all very nice but in a way it's hardly different from a birthday party. To add to the confusion Christmas in Australia is a bit wacky, it is the middle of Summer here, it's hot and most Aussies head for a beach over the holiday. Yet our Christmas cards and decorations and the traditional Christmas carols depict snow covered landscapes, crackling fires, warm egg nog and a feast fit for cold weather. It has taken me sometime to convince my girls that it will not snow on Christmas day, they are not too happy about it really!
So this year I have been thinking about how to make this special, to add some rituals that don't focus on gifts and food, although one food related tradition will stay firmly on the list. My mum has always given everyone a gift box full of lollies and chocolate before breakfast and for those old enough a glass of champagne!
I am not having much luck with how I plan to shape our Christmas though, family will still be the main focus of course but I would very much like to move away from the consumerism that engulfs the world every December.
So to start off the girls and I will be making all out gifts this year.
I think I need to find my own way with this, ritual is very necessary for the human condition and maybe more so for mums as we build and nurture our little families.

What little rituals do you love about Christmas?
Any unique ones that you would like to share?


Juanita said...

Sitting in sunny South Africa for Christmas has always left me watching snowy American movies and feeling a little daft while singing about one horse open sleighs. So you're not alone on that one.

SO I looked up some Hawaiian ones, like Mele Kalikimaka that sings about "bright Hawaiian Christmas days". Ok, so still NOT in Hawaii, BUT yes, it is bright here too :-)

I love the ritualism of Christmas. I was brought up in a super-charismatic-Christian home, but have generally shied away from going to church now as an adult. Personally, regarding religion, I believe that if one believes in God (which I do), then it's about a personal relationship anyway, NOT about standing in a church being told how it SHOULD be done or bible-bashing others to do the same.

So I like to make fun, none-religion rituals: Every year I watch "Mixed Nuts" (with Steve Martin) on December 1st while putting up decorations. I bake a batch of fruit mince pies while listening to christmas music (as in, Annie Lennox's Christmas music, not old sad bastard Christmas music). I attend as many shopping mall Christmas charity events as my hubby can stand me dragging him to (so that it's for a good cause). And then I remember, just as you do, that really 'tis the season to be jolly BECAUSE of family and friends, so I hang out with the extended ones as much as my sanity can handle. :-) And in the background, I keep in mind the bible story of the birth of baby Jesus, because it is really quite a cool little story to base a whole month of festivities upon!

I love that you'll be making your gifts this year. Have fun with that!

The Mother Experiment said...

I missed this post the first time. I do think that traditions are good. One that I would like to start next year is put a shoebox gift together for samaritans purse, have you heard of it? You put various things in a shoebox and they hand deliver it to a, kid in a developing country who's never had a present before. I would like to get my daughter to do one for a child her age each year ((and when/if we have more kids encourage them to do one too) so she learns the joy of giving to a stranger

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