FROM KATHRYN | Christmas Traditions

The wonderful Kathryn of CloudLoveBaby fame joins us today with a truly lovely post sharing her family Christmas traditions with us.

Kathryn is a Mother. Wife. Maker. Teacher. Learner. Baker. The face behind the sewing machine behind CloudLoveBaby.

Grab yourself a cuppa, sit back and enjoy!

I think traditions are an important part of families.  They are like signposts that guide you all back to the same place.   They are like an invisible safety net that floats under you all and soften the fall.  They are like great big red flags waving in the distance when you are lost.  I think when you build traditions into your family life, big or small, you are adding tools to your children’s survival gear, the signposts to guide them back to that safe harbour.  Some traditions are small, happen every day and may not even feel like much of a tradition, but if you skip it, you feel it.  That missed morning goodbye because you were in a hurry, the two stories instead of three at bedtime, a rearranged seating plan at dinner time.

Some of my best and clearest memories of being a child and my family growing up revolve around our traditions, or more specifically, our Christmas traditions.  They weren’t fancy, didn’t involve a lot of stuff, but they were meaningful and full of love.  We put our Christmas tree up together the weekend after Melbourne Cup (actually, not entirely true, dad somehow managed to have something more urgent to do Every.Single.Year).  We were allowed to open 1 present before breakfast on Christmas morning and then had to wait until after we had cooked breakfast, eaten breakfast and cleaned up, together, to open the rest.  Everyone waited and watched while you opened your present and then made the appropriate noises of Hooray-ness before we all sat and watched while the next person opened one.  Christmas cards were hung or placed where everyone could see them, a decoration in themselves, and it was a ritual of opening and reading as they each arrived.  It made me feel special to belong to this tiny little group of people who shared these secrets that no one else could take or alter.

Now we are our own little family, we are now the Mum and Dad in charge of creating the traditions and rituals.  Some of these we have kept, some we have altered, some we have moulded with the traditions from my husband’s childhood.  Some, like putting up the Christmas tree at the start of November, have had to be changed altogether (I am the mother of a 2.5 year old and a 6 month old, I do not have the sort of sustained energy that is required to maintain a tree in its entirety for 2 whole months).

While carrying over traditions helps create links through the generations, I love being the Maker and Keeper of new traditions for my family.  The first weekend in November has been replaced with Cake Making instead of the Tree Assembling.  Biscuit making and sharing becomes an almost daily ritual.  Our beautifully coordinated decorations are slowly being donated and the handmade ones are replacing them.  Mugs and cups and plates get packed away and the Christmas ones come out.   Wall hangings and table runners appear. My son hasn’t noticed the shift yet, the packing and unpacking, those precious things that are hidden away for most of the year to make their entrance with a sprinkle of (fake) snow and jingle of bells, and my daughter hasn’t even worked out that she and I are separate beings, but the building and the repetition – that is where the magic will happen.  One day, I won’t say, “Flynn, Ruby!  It’s cake baking weekend!” or, “Shut the doors and windows, turn on the air con, put on The Grinch, boil the kettle and get out the fruit mince tarts, the tree is going up!”.  One day, they’ll ask me.  They’ll note the shift in the weather, the storm clouds heralding the start of the build up, the arrival of the Wet, and they’ll know it’s time.  If I succeed in my role as Maker and Keeper of Traditions, they’ll know what is to come. 

That is my Christmas wish for my family.

Thanks so much Kathryn for sharing these special memories and future wishes with us.

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