Christmas is a special time of year, and each person or family celebrates it in their own unique way. Traditions bring people together, and having traditions to look forward to can make the holiday even more enjoyable and memorable.
Many aspects of the modern Christmas celebrations derive from ancient Pagan traditions, including the Christmas tree and the Yule log. There are many ways to tap into the spiritual roots of the holiday, so here are our ideas for some special Christmas traditions to incorporate into your celebrations this year.
Enjoy the calm before the storm
Families with small children (or even big ones) know that the earlier you wake up on Christmas Day, the happier they will be. However, waking up before the sun to deal with excited kids and stacks of presents can often be a stressful start to the day. Even those without children most likely have busy days planned out, and so don’t have much time to relax.
Start your day off right by waking up a little bit earlier, and enjoy the calm before the storm. You could use this time to meditate and reflect, or simply have a cup of tea and enjoy the peace and quiet before the craziness of the day begins. Starting your day off in such a calm way will help you feel less stressed and more prepared throughout the day, which will make everything more enjoyable!
It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of opening presents on Christmas Day. We’re often so busy rushing to open gifts and see what everybody else has, that we can forget to practice gratitude. This year, take a few minutes to pause and reflect. Go round the room, and have each person say what they are grateful for.
Another great way to practice gratitude is to write thank you letters to each person who sent a gift, or even those who helped you in some way throughout the year. This could be a family member, a friend, a teacher, or even the person who serves your coffee every day. A small token of thanks can easily put a smile one somebody’s face, and make them feel appreciated.
Give back to the needy
Christmas can be an especially lonely and difficult time for those in need, such as the homeless, the elderly, or children living in group homes. Why not do something to make their day a little brighter?
There are many charities and other companies that run Christmas programmes, such as collecting boxes of gifts for children, or essentials for the homeless. Alternatively, you could volunteer your time. Visit a nursing home and give the residents some company, or volunteer at a soup kitchen. Or if you know somebody who will be alone at Christmas, why not invite them to join your family for Christmas dinner? It won’t be much trouble for you, but it will mean the world to them.
Look to the future
As the year is coming to a close, most people begin to look forward to the next 12 months. We all have things we want to achieve, and many of us will make new year’s resolutions. Why not share your hopes and dreams for the future with your loved ones? During dinner, go around the table and have everyone talk about what they hope to do in 2018. This act of sharing will make everybody feel closer, and it will be great to have people who know what you want to achieve to cheer you on throughout the year.
Give a nod to the history and meaning of the Winter Solstice during your Christmas celebrations, and celebrate light. The Yule Log tradition comes from the ancient Solstice traditions of lighting fires to represent the light and heat of the sun.
Honour the power of the sun during your Christmas celebrations. If you have a working fireplace, you could carry on the tradition of the yule log. If not, light some candles; there’s the added bonus that they add a wonderful atmosphere to the room with their flickering glow.