Anyone that knows me, will know that I am a MASSIVE fan of Christmas- my maid of honour even considered hosting a Christmas themed hen do for me… in May. I love the excitement, the taking time out, the food and all the love! Our second Christmas as parents is approaching and (having spent last Christmas in the throes of parenting a newborn with bronchiolitis), it seems like the perfect time to start off some new family traditions. It’s so easy for the ‘spend, spend, spend’ consumer, materialistic attitude to take over at Christmas, but does it really need to be that way? Is that what Christmas is really about? Plus, Santa’s gone back to Uni in our house this year, and the NHS Student Bursary doesn’t stretch very far! So now, more than ever, we find ourselves looking for ways to create that ‘Christmas Magic’ on a budget! I’ve been getting some tips from other fans of ‘The Danish Way’ and included a few of our own regular traditions too!
We’ve been doing this amongst the adults on one side of the family for a few years now and it’s worked so well! We set a budget and buy just one gift for just one person. It cuts out the buying of ‘random gifty crap’, and everyone ends up with something quality, that they actually need or want.
On the other side of the family we set a budget and make a stocking for one person to open on Christmas Morning. After all, is it even Christmas if you’re not wearing novelty socks and feeling sick after eating an entire chocolate orange?
Wear, Read, Want, Need
Something that seems popular amongst ‘The Danish Way’ parenting community, and something Father Christmas might adopt for Oatcake we think! You buy them ‘something to wear, something to read, something they want and something they need’.
Letter to Father Christmas
We would do this every year as children, a few weeks before Christmas, we would write a letter to Father Christmas and pop it in the fireplace. A few minutes later, it would be GONE! (As if by magic!!) Definitely something we will start doing when Oatcake is old enough!
Story Book Advent Calendar
One to hit the charity shops for! Not something we will do this year, but a definite possibility for the future- instead of a chocolate advent calendar, you wrap 24 Christmas books and read a new one every night of advent. Pop them away in the loft and reuse them every Christmas! The perfect excuse to buy The Jolly Postman at Christmas! (My favourite childhood Chrismas Book!)
Reverse Advent Calendar
Take a basket, at the start of advent, and each day put an item of food in- on Christmas eve, deliver the basket to your local food bank for people in need to have over the Festive period. This idea struck me as really ‘getting’ the meaning of Christmas!
The Kindness Elf
Think ‘Elf on the Shelf’ meets ‘The Danish Way’! You don’t even need an actual toy elf- he or she can just visit in the night! Instead of causing mischief, and requiring parents to purchase all kinds of tat for the elf to play with, the elf leaves little notes sharing kindness or leaving tasks. This can be anything from ‘Bake Christmas Cookies and share them with your neighbours’ to ‘Tidy up your bedroom to prepare for Father Christmas’! A really sweet idea for slightly older children!
The Giving Sack
Another great idea shared by some TDW fans! If Christmas is approaching, and there’s toys or clothes in the house that don’t get played with or worn, pop them in a sack or pillowcase and on Christmas Eve, leave them for Father Christmas to take away and share with Children who may need them! A lovely way to introduce the ideas of recycling, charity, sharing and gifting with our children!
The overwhelming response that was that the best thing about Christmas is the ‘doing’! Whether that be woodland dog walks as a family, baking traditional Christmas treats, Carol Singing, swimming on Christmas morning, cuddling up and watching Christmas Films or decorating the tree to Christmas music. None of these cost anything, but they’re the things we remember as we grow up.
What are your best money saving, magic making, Christmas traditions?