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10 Christmas traditions to keep the magic alive

Lara’s Christmas gnome collection, photo Lara Slabbert
From collecting Christmas gnomes to Boxing Day cricket at the beach, it’s our little family traditions that really make Christmas, well… Christmas.

But sometimes in the stress and frenzy of end-of-year dos, shared lunches, and frantic shopping, we adults can lose the magic a bit.  Here’s where your own special family traditions can inject that fun right back into the festive season and help you feel the love again. And with a bit of luck, you might one day find your grandkids continuing the special tradition you’ve created.

In the spirit of Christmas, we’ve rounded up 10 magical traditions from our lovely readers to help inspire you.

Christmas eve packs: Melissa makes up Christmas eve packs for her family, including a hot chocolate sachet, some reindeer food, popcorn, and a Christmas cookie and then everyone kicks back to watch a Christmas movie together. Mum and Dad get to have a glass of wine and cheese and crackers.

Christmas gnomes: Lara’s favourite tradition is putting out all the Christmas gnomes her family has collected. She says they make her house feel like Christmas and the family likes to joke about her obsession with them as more and more sneak into the house each year.

Christmas PJs: Buying special Christmas PJs to wear on Christmas eve, or night, is popular with readers. Jane says it has the added bonus of everyone looking good for the Christmas morning photos.

Christmas s’mores, by Debbie Snell

Christmas s’mores: Debbie’s family likes to make Christmas s’mores for everyone to enjoy together. This year she’s tried out Whittaker’s new gingerbread chocolate for them.

Homemade Christmas crackers: Another idea that’s popular with readers is homemade crackers. Carrie says the kids are super excited when the crackers are put on the decorated Christmas table and love how small the gifts are inside the toilet roll used in making the cracker. Jennifer’s Mum makes theirs and includes a hat, corny Christmas joke, Instant Kiwi ticket, chocolate, and a small personal gift.

Magic pebbles: Shaine says their boys plant a pebble in the garden and with the magic of Christmas a jellybean-filled candy cane grows overnight. Also, around the garden appear red and green glittery sprinkles to show Santa has been.

Remembering lost ones: Penny’s family has a very special tradition of fish and chips at the cemetery with their stillborn daughter, who also gives her siblings a special ornament every year to remember her. Meanwhile, Linda’s family lights a candle for the family members no longer with them.

Sharlene’s gingerbread house, photo Sharlene Sellabanks

Gingerbread houses: Sharlene enjoys their family’s tradition of making a gingerbread house each year – a different creation each time. Now the kids are old enough, they’re keen to help too.

The gift of giving: Jessica’s kids choose a gift for a child of a similar age which they take to the City Mission Christmas tree at the Cathedral to donate. They then do a supermarket shop where they all choose items to drop off at the City Mission. She says it’s a great way to encourage the kids to think outside themselves.

The Advent of Kindness: As well as chocolate, there is an act of kindness for Tammy’s kids to perform each day in their Advent Calendar – things like picking up rubbish at the park, making cards for grandparents, baking for the neighbours, and buying a gift for their siblings. The kids have even been heard to say it’s their favourite thing about Christmas.

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