Friday, 7 December 2012

Christmas Traditions

Tonight we fly out to visit my family in Western Australia for a week.  I haven't been back to where I was born for about 7 years and it will be lovely to catch up with family and friends and also to see how places have changed.
I loved making these melted snowmen cookies last year.  
Many years ago, about 20 actually, my husband and I moved to the opposite side of Australia from where I grew up for him to study at a university he needed to be at and then we loved it so much here that we stayed.  Our children have all grown up and lived here most of their lives so this is where we call home now.

I remember that first Christmas when we left was hard because we are usually surrounded by family and extended family for the entire day and here we were, many many miles away from them and there was only my husband and I and our two (at that time) little children.  I couldn't see how I was going to make this feel like Christmas for any of us.

It is times like these that you can do one of two things.  You either fall apart and let despondency and sadness get to you or you can take it as a challenge to be overcome and make it into something special.
I am a 'glass half full' type of person so I took the challenge to have a wonderful Christmas anyhow.  It was a perfect time to start our own family traditions and they are the ones we still hold true to today.

Doing these same things year after year make them traditions and now I see my grown children repeating them with their own families and I know that all those years ago I made the right choice when I rose to the challenge to have that first special Christmas despite our circumstances.

Some of our Christmas traditions we do now are not expensive or even amazing but they are ours and that is what makes them special.

On the 1st December every year we all come together to put up and decorate our tree.  We have Christmas carols playing, yummy snacks set out to nibble on and of course the camera is flashing away to capture the moment.  Other decorations are put up around the house as well and the boys help Dad to put the outside lights up.

When the kids were little we would get an old tree branch with no leaves on it and make paper decorations over the few weeks before Christmas and hang them for all to admire.  You can paint the branch white, add glitter, or just leave as it is for a lovely natural look.

We bake gingerbread men and have an evening where we all decorate them.  A contest usually erupts to see who can make the most unusual ones.  We have had pirates, surfers and all sorts of characters in our gingerbread men.  The last few years we have made Ninjabread men with these cute cutters.

Another tradition is that a few days before Christmas we all load up into the car with drinks and sweets and do a tour of the Christmas lights in our local area.

Our Christmas Day is hot here in Queensland so we have a cold lunch where all the family gathers together.  The day starts with everyone arriving for the opening of gifts over breakfast and then we go to church.  Once home we begin the food preparations which usually comprises of cold ham and chicken or turkey, prawns, watermelon and mint salad, green salad, potato salad, spinach pear and walnut salad.  Then for dessert there is always pavlova and trifle.

I will be taking a break from blogging for a few weeks, to relax and enjoy the holiday season with my family and will see you all again in the New Year.

I hope you have a Merry and Blessed Christmas.


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