With the big day almost here, we hope you’re feeling as prepared as you can be given this is, after all, 2020. Despite the fact Christmas will look a little different this year, lots of us are still taking comfort from its familiarity. Usual date, usual tree-decorating, usual present-buying. Usual person-who-you-never-know-what-to-buy-for.
We know that Christmas when you’re involved with fostering can be a bit less predictable, but are there any traditions you try and include each year? Those little moments that bring back happy memories and equally make the present day memorable too?
Many foster children recall that the parts of Christmas they enjoyed most were the special little traditions they joined in with. Safe and stable, traditions help us to belong – and the best news is that it’s never too late to start a new one. If you have foster children, just think how excited they could be to help create history.
If you need inspiration, we’ve found some wonderful and weird ideas from around the world. So go on, begin something brilliant and add even more cheer to your Christmas.
The best traditions bring people together, so why not find a new favourite walk everyone can enjoy? As a bonus, you’ll get plenty of fresh air and there’s the chance to burn off energy or calories - depending on your age. Another great idea is to gather the family together and make a Christmas playlist. Let everyone suggest a favourite song and rate each other’s choices – politely!
Around the world there are some terrific and terrifying traditions to be found. On the nice list is Finland’s lengthy celebration with cookies and a sauna. Stranger, but equally fun are Spain’s December Fools Day and pooping logs. Yes, logs that poop.
One tradition we love comes courtesy of Iceland. Jolabokaflod literally means ‘Christmas flood of books’ and sees Icelanders receive a book as a gift from their family or friends on Christmas Eve. They then spend the evening snuggled up reading and drinking hot chocolate. Sound good? If you can make the time, this is a great way to enjoy some well-deserved calm before Christmas Day.
Baking is a well-known way of bringing people together, so making German Lebkuchen, American Snow Cookies or Swedish Pepparkakor is another great tradition to start. As lots of us found out in lockdown, baking can be very therapeutic and is suitable for all ages. Also, the results taste delicious.
Finally, we have America to thank for ‘Find the Pickle’. The tradition involves hiding a pickle-shaped decoration on your tree and waiting to see who will be the first to find it. As well as the glory, winners should also receive an extra present and allegedly a good year ahead. The tradition’s exact origins are a mystery, but it probably began the 1880s when Woolworths began importing glass fruit and vegetable ornaments from Germany. We suspect the person who over-ordered the pickle design may have known something about it. If you want to extend the fun, keep re-hiding the pickle and if a pickle seems too weird, go for a sprout!
Whatever shape your family looks like, we hope you enjoy spending time together on traditions old and new this season. Merry Christmas!