Christmas Traditions


It’s the last week of school for M this week and we both can’t wait! Activities are winding down too with gymnastics being the only thing still going until next week. Presents have been trickling in too and hopefully by early next week we’ll all be ready for Christmas and Santa.


Did I tell you that Christmas is my favourite holiday? I love Christmas for all sorts of different things but while it might sound very materialistic, the best part of Christmas day for me has always been the glow on M’s face on Christmas morning. There’s something very magical that warms one’s heart when a child who believes sees what Santa had brought her. I think it’s that special feeling that makes parents work extra hard to be Santa’s best helper. We don’t want our children to loose that magic and we don’t want that magic to leave us too.


I didn’t grow up with the Christmas that I try to have with hubby and the girls, the girls mostly since hubby’s at work through most of it. When I was still in Indonesia my paternal grandmother would celebrate Santa Clause day around December 5th. She’d take us to see Santa and I remember being terrified becauseĀ Zwarte Piet might take me away (I am not sure why I thought I was naughty). We’d then stop at a Dutch pastry shop and we could get whatever we wanted. After we came home, she’d serveĀ Spekulaas and other goodies. Then come Christmas eve and we’d go to midnight mass and that’s pretty much it. There’s no waking up to presents. That was my Catholic Dutch-Indonesian Christmas.


Then we moved to America and while I did have a Christmas tree, received Christmas presents for a couple of years from Santa (even though they were never what I asked for), the tooth fairy came and I think we went to a friend to do some Easter egg hunting, we never did anything at home as a family because my parents were (still are) Muslims. And to be fair, none of the western traditions were done in Indonesia. There’s no Easter egg hunt on Easter Sunday or a huge increase in spending before Christmas, just Mass. The one big thing that Indonesians did when I was there was Valentine’s day.

Before I go on, if you’re a tad bit confused, I grew up in a multi-religion family, Christian/Catholic + a smidge of Confucius (ancestral respect and that there’s a chance of an before/after life) from my dad’s side and Muslim from my mom’s. My parents gave their children free reign on who/what we want to follow since they don’t believe in forcing a belief onto another person, even if it’s their child. I was introduced to the Muslim religion but just never had the interest and I grew up mostly with my dad’s family and always attending Catholic school.

Because I grew up with so little holiday tradition, I told myself after I got pregnant that our family will have some sort of a tradition and if I only have the energy to do one, Christmas is it. I chose Christmas because of all the holidays it was the one that was somewhat celebrated when I was little sans the magical feeling. I think I chose Christmas because I selfishly want to experience the feeling that I never got when I was a child via my children (or M back then).


But I suck at keeping the tradition flowing.

Prime example: The Advent Calendar. It was a lot easier when it was just M. I’d stick a piece of chocolate on each date and M (who doesn’t like sweets) would move the star one date at a time and get the right amount, ONE, of candy. With Jovie, I have to fill the calendar one day at a time. Jovie LOVES sweets and if I put 24×2 chocolates on the first of December all 48 pieces would be gone that day. So to not torture my last born, I put two pieces of chocolate inside the right date and Jovie survives. There is one slight problem. This mama is forgetful and so there had been many times where I had to run downstairs after the kids were awake. Actually, after day three M would ask if mama elf went and filled the calendar each and every morning and 80% of the time I’ve had to run downstairs and refill.

Advent Calendar

Another example: Christmas cards. I think I might just win that world cup for the biggest Christmas card mailing looser. It’s not that I don’t have any or that they’re not filled out. They just never leave my desk to get posted.

Despite my inability to be on top of things we have Christmas traditions and I think, for now at least, it’s all that matters!


A summary of our Christmas tradition: We do the advent calendar. We stay home on Christmas day. We each buy and/or make a Christmas tree decoration. We bake. We eat ham. We erect the now (sometimes crooked) 13 yrs old tree. We use blinking white lights on the tree.


I want to do the Elf on Shelf but for now he’ll just be Elf on Tree. Elf on Shelf would end up like the Advent calendar if I try!


I am hoping to see a gigantic ‘OH’ from Jovie on Christmas morning. She’s a more animated little being and I can’t wait to see which expression she’ll use. Jovie wants two big things, Peppa Pig and a kitchen. She loves to cook and M’s old kitchen fell apart earlier in the year. Jovie still cooks but her stove top is currently the couch.


I wish you all a great weekend and I hope you find Christmas fun and magical too!


  1. Smita says:

    I love this!! The papers on your card are fabulously pretty! I do hope, though, that you have posted it to the recipient! Christmas is not that far away, you see ;-)

    Your Christmas traditions are cute :) We are Hindu, and we don’t really have any of this. But for my love of Christmas ( I grew up in a part of India where Christmas was celebrated in many households) and because my own birthday falls 2 days later, I love love the whole month of december. And I do put up a little tree.. and Aaryan is now following my footsteps :)

    I love to hear about your little girls!! They are so cute ;)


  2. Wintam says:

    I love your Christmas card – and I’m not even christian! It’s beautiful! Is there a chance you could upload a picture of the inside of it? I’m not sure I understand how you tied the string and glued the ribbon – and I’d love to make one like this myself.
    Anyway, I wish you and your family (including your oh-so-beautiful kids! they should be models!) a merry Christmas and a very happy (and creative!) new year!

  3. Annie says:

    Such a lovely non traditional Christmas card, but homely feel all the same.. feels like a quilted card :D

    Your girls are growing so fast… Jovie is getting prettier, prettier everytime I see her pic..
    Kitchen ha… mine was a milo cover, over a candle on two bricks.. hehehe..

  4. Clouds says:

    dude, you got infused with so many religions … :) how the heck are ya? we need to catch up! Vcrop soon? Fri and Sat works this wk, or even tomm Mon, I have it off! lemme know! cute pics of Jovie, like you i didn’t really grow up in a xmas tradition per se, i think it’s safe to say my mom wasn’t really feelin’ the xmas energy as we grew up :S I hope you are doing well, don’t see ya on FB so much, hugs to you!! Happy New Year’s!

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