Published On: Mon, Oct 6th, 2014

Start Your Own Traditions

Danielle Mantakoul

Danielle Mantakoul

BA of Ed Early Childhood and Editor at Mummy Weekly
She's described as one of the most engaging & dynamic speakers in the early childhood industry today, now having educated hundreds of thousands of parents & teachers. She has lectured for organisations such as KU Children’s Services, Only About Children, Qantas, National Australia Bank, Child Protection Australia, Goodstart and hundreds of council & private centres. She also developed and ran the popular parenting series for the Australian Financial Review.
Danielle Mantakoul

Start Your Own TraditionsThe word tradition pretty much means the handing down of, usually meaning from generation to generation. Looking back on childhood, I honestly can’t think of any traditions either passed down or created by my parents. Sure there would be things that we would do each year, but they never had a sense of tradition about them. Well I am taking matters into my own hands, and starting some traditions of my own.

Kids love traditions. They bring many a similarity of feelings to kids a little like the sense that rules bring. A sense of security, of being guided on what to do, and that comforting feeling of routine. But what I most like about traditions is they provide us with a sense of belonging and being part of something unique that we do as a family. Many of us celebrate christmas with a tree, lights, presents, santa, the list goes on, but it’s those traditions that only your family does that make them personal and special. If you don’t have any traditions like this, I suggest you make some of your own. After all, with all traditions, someone had to start them so it may as well be you.

I recall a friend telling me when I was a child that each year they would sit down as a family and decide on what colours they would focus on this Christmas. The decorations, wrapping paper and even placements at the table. I recall an instant desire to do that when I was grown. Well no I never did. Do you know how expensive that little tradition would actually be? I did know however, that I wanted traditions in my life, especially at Christmas time. As a child there was something in me that wanted, maybe even needed some family traditions.

I like traditions that reflect our lives. A record or keepsake that marks that point in time. A tradition that I started with my children when they were 4 years old was the tradition of the Christmas buttons. I had made their Santa sacks myself as I enjoy sewing, but wanted them to add their own touch. So each December I take them into the fabric shop where they choose a button they like. Last year Bella chose a butterfly, Will a Santa and Aidan a star. Every year the sack gets another button. Eventually it will have a mountain of buttons sewn on to it with memories of each Christmas, and a window into what their tastes were at different stages of their childhood.

We also do this with ornaments. Each christmas everyone in the family chooses an ornament they like and usually it’s pertaining to their current interests. Will at 3 years chose a Cars ornament, Bella a Winnie the Pooh and Aidan’s favourite colour was red for quite some time, so chose the reddest of red Christmas balls. Every year I look at our tree it is a reflection of the children. That Winnie the Pooh or cars ornament takes me back to a moment in time when it was their first love.

There are also other little things I have labelled as tradition. Everyone helps put the tree up, Daddy always does the star, pouches of gold coins hang on the tree and hold coins in it depending on how old you are. Bella’s wrapping paper is always pink, Wills is blue and Aidan’s red.

Now as unimportant as these things seem, my kids have grown to see these as exciting little events they know will be taking place at christmas time. Events, traditions that make our family christmas truly… a family event.

I hope this has inspired you to not only make a little extra magic for your family this christmas, but to be revisited by it year after year. Be creative, be personal, and you shouldn’t go wrong.

By Danielle Mantakoul
Mummy Weekly Copyright 2012
www.mummyweekly.com.au

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