Year-end winter holiday celebrations like Christmas and New Year have accumulated some accustomed traditions in several households, ours included. When we were younger, my mother have started lovely traditions during Christmas and New Year. On Christmas eve, we often go to church for a evening mass then when we go home we would be told to sleep because Santa Claus is coming and he doesn’t want to see kids awake. The adults will be busy in the kitchen. I would hear clanks and banging of kitchen pots, a cheerful chatters from the elders with a booming sound of Christmas songs from the speakers of our sound system. When we (the kids) are woken up a little pass 12 midnight for our Noche Buena (Christmas feast) followed by opening of presents. Our mother would often give us loads of gifts for Christmas. She would even wrapped even the tiniest gifts separately because she enjoy seeing us open our gifts. We will also check the socks we hang in the window for Santa to fill with goodies, usually with an apple, chocolates and candies. I would keep that sock filled sweets in a shoe box and I would slowly eat them for weeks after the festivities.
During New Year eve, we often lit noisy firecrackers and beautiful sparklers. We have a houseboy at home that took care of lighting up the firecrackers and sparklers for our safely. We often have 12 fruits displayed on a container on top of the dining table for New Year that represents abundance for the next 12 months. My mom just loves our reaction when we open gifts during Christmas so we don’t open all the gifts we got in Christmas and we save it for New Year’s Eve. My mom would often add more for New Year’s Eve.
My hubby’s Christmas traditions involved a big party with his family and the whole clan with lots of games, gift-giving and lots of laughter. He talked fondly of this memories of those parties.
Now that I have my own family, we tried to incorporate some of the traditions we have been accustomed to and made new ones. However, out of necessity, the current circumstances we are all experiencing now and practicality, there are some traditions we have stopped doing during Christmas and New Year.
Here are 5 traditions we stopped doing during Christmas and New Year:
1. Big holiday parties
Because of the pandemic and practicality , we opted for staycations over big holiday parties. We prefer to chill & quiet (me especially) over loads of preparation and more loads of clean up after the party. It is not easy to do big parties even small parties without a helper and with three active young kids. Honestly, I just can’t manage. So we rather book a good budget hotel for Christmas or New Year. Maybe we book reservations for a Christmas buffet or maybe a good Christmas or New Year Eve dinner would be just great. We still attend fun Christmas parties with our friends here over at their homes and exchange gifts days before Christmas.
My hubby and I have already promised ourselves when we were still living in Singapore, in order to save, we decided to only give gifts to each other on our birthdays. So we don’t give gifts to each on Christmas, New Year, anniversaries and Valentines. So no gift-giving between my husband and I are already a given.
Previously, during Christmas, we would give one gift from Santa and one gift from us to our kids. A few Christmas before, I would add lots of little knick knack gifts for the kids. But I realised that kids received lots of gifts from our neighbours too for Christmas. Toys and stuff accumulate and we realised that they start taking their stuff for granted with the massive collection of toys and items. We decided a gift from Santa is enough for us. It is also economical. We prefer to expose them more to experiences instead as well as teach them the value of taking better care of the things given to them.
3. Christmas stocking filled with sweets
I used to enjoy this tradition so much. I love opening my shoebox filled with sweets. But now with my kids, we try to minimise their sugar consumption. We often keep the socks away from them and give them their sweets sparingly throughout the weeks. It would literally take months before they can finish their stocks. Plus we already have a stock of chocolates in our fridge which we eat occasionally for dessert. So we thought we get rid of the stockings filing with sweets because it is totally encourage sugar addiction. They barely even realised they didn’t get it from Santa.
4. Opening presents on Christmas Eve
In our household when I was young, we often open gifts on Christmas Eve but now with my kids, my hubby suggested that the kids open their gifts when they wake up in the morning of Christmas. It makes the kids excited for the morning of Christmas.
5. Twelve fruits for the New Year
We don’t buy 12 fruits for New Year for abundance. It seems like a superstitious practice. I rather pray and work for abundance & prosperity for the New Year rather than relying on fruits for my luck.
Another practice we will probably stop for New Year are firecrackers and massive sparklers. Here in Oman and before in Singapore, we never do it because it is prohibited. But if we are in the Philippines, I would like those firecrackers too because it is quite unsafe.
So there you have it, the 5 traditions we stopped doing during Christmas and New Year. Do you have traditions you decided to stopped too?
Some Christmas tradition I am keeping is attending mass to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ though I do it online now. I also want next time to buy a cake for Christmas for Jesus’ birthday and sing a Happy Birthday song with the kids. For New Year, I still do my New Year’s resolution, of course. It is one of my favourite traditions of all time.