Coming out of the pandemic, many of us found ourselves challenging long-held values and considering how to spend more time with the people we love and doing the things that matter. But as the pace of life returned to normal, it was easy to fall back into pre-COVID routines.
With our second post-pandemic Christmas almost upon us, it’s a great time to think about how you can bring that spirit back to your celebrations with some new traditions. And do a good deed for the community, the environment and your wallet in the process.
Here are a handful of traditions to consider starting in 2023.
1. Make giving back at Christmas a yearly ritual
Volunteering as a family doesn’t just give to an important cause. It can be incredibly fulfilling and create a shared sense of purpose that brings the family closer. Choose a cause you’re passionate about, such as a soup kitchen or a toy drive, and dedicate a day to volunteer as a family.
Make it a yearly ritual and consider including multiple generations. It will offer another reason to get together with loved ones and give children a solid grounding in empathy they can carry into their adult lives.
2. Give gifts without adding to landfill
Australians are expected to spend $10.5 billion on Christmas gifts this year, with around 30% of people receiving a gift they don’t want or won’t use. The impact isn’t just felt on our wallets either. It creates thousands of tonnes of waste.
So, this year, consider a Secret Santa, whereby each family member buys for just one person with an agreed budget. That way, each person spends the same amount of money but buys just one gift. There’ll be less money wasted on stocking fillers that end up in landfill, less time spent running around shopping centres and far less chance of unwanted gifts.
You can also encourage everyone to donate 10% of their budget to a charity they choose. So if it’s a $100 limit, $10 goes to a chosen charity and $90 goes on the gift. Or, for those who are more minimalist or simply have everything they want, consider giving in their name to a cause that matters to them.
3. Create a memorable ‘advent’ calendar
For those with younger children who love an advent calendar, make each window about a family experience instead of a plastic toy. Ideas include a family Christmas movie night where the kids get to pick the film and the snack, a family walk to check out neighbourhood Christmas lights or playing a board game. It will create lasting memories and give you more time together leading up to Christmas.
4. Share the cooking duties
If you are hosting Christmas, the preparation can be time-consuming and draining. Share the cooking duties with a ‘bring a plate’ lunch or ask close family members to arrive early and lend a hand. Put some music on and pour some drinks, and you can make cooking prep fun and memorable.
5. Take an annual Christmas lunch photo
If your extended family only gets together a handful of times each year, make sure you capture it with a group photo. Looking back on these photos will bring back memories and allow you to watch younger ones grow up. They will also become treasured mementoes when the time comes that some family members are no longer there.
General Advice warning
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