Christmas was almost a week ago and everyone has moved on and is now posting resolutions, reflections, and photos of glasses of champagne. But I decided to take a small break from blogging after graduation to really enjoy the holiday season and time with my family, so I missed out on all the fun Christmas blog posts. However, anyone who knows me knows that Christmas is never truly over in my household anyway. Plus, I consider this week the post-Yuletide mourning period and I’m never in much of a party mood on New Year’s Eve (and also, yes, I just like to go to bed early and mind my business), so here I am at 11pm on New Year’s Eve, writing about Christmas. And I’m not sorry.
Christmastime has always been the best time in my family; we spend quality time together, we get to see family and friends that we don’t see the rest of the year, and we get to celebrate the birth of Jesus. My family has a list of Christmas traditions that we observe every year. Some of them have been around since we were kids and some are more recent; as my siblings and I have grown older, we’ve also developed our own personal traditions, each one as special as the last. Here’s a few of our favourite Christmas traditions…
Carols by Candlelight dress rehearsal at Sidney Myer Music Bowl
We’ve been going to the Carols dress rehearsal on the 23rd of December every year since I can remember. Although now we usually go with friends instead of family and we sit in the seats at the bottom of the bowl instead of picnicking on the lawn (not to mention the $20 it costs now for a ticket, as opposed to $2 back in the day), it’s still so much fun singing carols with a bunch of B-list celebrities and radio presenters.
When we were kids we’d sit down on a Sunday night, put a Christmas CD on, make hot chocolate, and write Christmas cards to our friends, family, and teachers. Not everyone in our family kept this tradition up, but it’s one of my favourite things to do at Christmastime with my mum. Hearing from people who receive the cards makes me beyond happy, and it’s such a sweet and simple way to remind people that you’re thinking of them and wish them well.
This one only started a couple of years ago. Flowers in a Vase—a florist in Woodend owned by the lovely Arnie Way—runs annual wreath-making workshops (amongst a plethora of other Christmas floral workshops). The workshop includes morning tea and champagne and Christmas carols and is worth every single cent. I truly can’t think of a lovelier way to spend a day in the lead-up to Christmas.
Christmas Eve night
Back when my siblings and I were kids, our Christmas Eves consisted of letters to Santa and carefully arranged bikkies for Father Christmas and carrots for the reindeer. Nowadays, you’ll find us on Christmas Eve night huddled onto the couch in the family room watching a Christmas movie, the coffee table chock full of homemade finger foods courtesy of my amazing mother. Pictured above is a sliver of this year’s spread: coconut ice, apricot and white chocolate truffles, strawberries, veggie patties, crackers, rum balls, spring rolls…
Helping the less fortunate
First and foremost, Christmas for us is about celebrating the birth of Jesus. It marks the beginning of a lifetime spent serving others and spreading love and peace. That’s why a few days before Christmas, we go into the city and hand out food and water bottles to the homeless population of Melbourne. Christmastime is tough for many who live on the streets, both physically and emotionally. This is my absolute favourite tradition, because for me, this is what Christmas is about.
Reading the Christmas story from the Bible
The whole reason Christmas exists; there would be no Christmastime without this story. Hearing my dad read the story of Jesus’ birth from the Bible always brings tears to my eyes, no matter how many times I hear it.