Wow, what a year. When the fireworks crackled and lit up our skies with their colourful magic last New Year’s Eve and our hearts were filled with hopes and dreams of the year to come, none of us expected what was coming. And here we are, months later, with vaccine hope and dreams of freedom in the year ahead. No matter what your faith, this December will be filled with bubbles and tiers, so doesn’t that make it the perfect time to add some new traditions to your festive celebrations this year in Bristol?
Your unique family traditions will mean more this year than ever before. Traditions are more than just something we do; they give us familiarity, a sense of order and predictability, and boy oh boy how we all need that right now. But more than that, they give us that glorious feeling of belonging and help us to feel safe and secure. As this festive season approaches, nothing can completely dim the excitement, that wonderful magic in their air – you can smell it, even taste it. The sparkle in children’s eyes, the growing number of homes in Bristol that have been decorated early and that wonderful community spirit that continues to thrive throughout the area.
We can all find ways to decorate our homes, and they don’t have to be grotto-inspired or filled with tinsel and baubles. Some of the most wonderful decorations can be found all around us, as nature has so many treasures to offer. So whilst you are taking your walks as a family, why not grab some of the glorious decorations that your local countryside has to offer? From pine cones to holly, acorns, twigs and sprigs, why not make some of your own decorations this year, together as a family? What a great tradition to add to your unique celebrations.
Pinch from others
Our team at NEXA Bristol have had their ears open over the last few weeks, listening to festive celebrations that bring joy to others. We have asked them to share some of their favourites.
We just love this tradition that my colleague Stephanie has overheard recently: every year, one family member wraps up an item that means something to them and gives it to another family member to treasure. Stephanie said, “it could be something they have had for years, something they have made, or even an offer of help, but each gift has considerable meaning for both the giver and the receiver.”
“I think I read this somewhere,” said my colleague Simon, “but I heard a story about how a mum used to hide a particular ornament every year on their tree. The children would excitedly search the tree in the hope of finding it and gaining the magical luck that it held. As the children grew and had families of their own, the tradition continued and the mother bought an unusual ornament for her children’s children to enjoy.”
Many children across the globe will be writing letters to Santa, but remember the joy it brings to receive a handwritten note. You may be forgoing sending cards this year, but why not wrap up this year in writing? You could write a letter to your children, your parents, or even a neighbour who has been struggling with loneliness. A letter is much more than the words on a page; it shows that you have put time, thought, effort and love into every stroke. What a precious gift to receive.
Another tradition we have heard on our travels: every Christmas Eve, the children of the family all sleep downstairs under the Christmas tree. With their pillows and sleeping bags or duvets, they are all excited and desperate to see Father Christmas as they snuggle under their twinkly tree lights and wait to hear hoofs on the roof. How the big man managed to deliver the gifts with such eager eyes about, or what the day was like with sleep-deprived children, we do not know, but what a magical experience it must have been for those kids, and isn’t that what Christmas is all about, a little bit of magic and treasured moments?
Honour the past, and add something new
We know you will be treasuring your family traditions this festive season and we hope we have inspired you to maybe add something new. Just because this year is going to be different, doesn’t mean that it can’t still be incredibly special.
Share your family traditions, we would love to hear them.