In a society where the ‘novelty bug’ is rife, Christmas offers us a beautiful opportunity to go for tradition instead. Rather than brand new decorations every year we can have recurring ones that can be looked forward to each year. Seeing these back in the environment reminds everyone what time of year it is, while still being ‘special’ enough to light eyes up year after year.
Little rituals may be refined with practice but if the essence stays the same, it holds the magic of familiarity.
We often worry that children will get bored if we don’t change things up each time, but they honestly don’t. Think of yourself and whether you love having annual traditions that stay the same, and you hold tight to keeping them as they’ve always been.
Children have the same joy in ‘the known’, and actually even more so as they feel so secure when they know what is happening next.
They can participate fully, and invest their energy in the activities and interactions if they don’t have to first orient themselves to yet another environment or experience change.
What we forget if we feel we need to offer a new ‘Christmas menu’ each year is that there is already so much change afoot without us altering anything from the previous year. The children are one year older than the last time they celebrated this season. They have grown and changed, and will approach and experience it differently as a result. There will have been changes in the group, and a different social dynamic always changes the ‘feel’. The team may have changed in its make up, and even if not there has still been growth. In short, everyone has changed, and bring a ‘new self’ to a familiar experience. And that is part of the magic.
In a society full of bucket lists, we run the risk of forgetting how special traditions are. You don’t usually see a bucket list item that speaks of creating stable festive celebrations that can be enjoyed year after year. We see one-offs and the quest for new, new instead. And it’s a shame to always think that way. Because traditions can and do enrich our lives and those of our children. They are genuinely enjoyed, precisely because we anticipate them.
We talk about humans being creatures of habit, but let’s also be ‘creatures of tradition’, and model for our children just how magical the known can be.
We have created The Heart of Christmas, a beautiful toolkit full of ideas for bringing magic and wonder to the Christmas season.