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Out with the Old, In with the New Christmas Traditions

by on 29/11/2019 3879

We may not have snow falling on our rooftops or need a crackling fire to warm us up, but surely the sparkly decorations and cheerful jingles do something to ignite the thrill many of us feel during this festive season. For those who grew up with Christmas traditions, you may find some of them fun enough to carry over to your own little family, and some, just simply do not spark joy. There is no need to continue doing them just because they are done every year. Instead, focus on your favourite ones or start new rituals that make you look forward to Christmas each year. Make this year your merriest one with some, or all, of these fun ideas.  

1.       A Community Treasure Trove of Toys

Image: Toy Libraries Malaysia


Declutter and donate outgrown toys to boost the collection of toys at the toy library: a place where parents can bring children to socialise and play in a fun environment. If you have excess non-fabric toys, such as board games, kitchen sets, puzzles or books, consider contributing to bring joy to children in disadvantaged and poor rural communities. They do not need to be new, just gently used, and preferably not soft toys. The facilities give underserved children a chance to access toys and leverage play to nurture their development. To help with the cause of toy libraries, kindly donate to these following places: English Champ, Petaling Jaya; S.P.I.C.E.S., Wangsa Maju; Malaysian Care Centres, Bandar Tasik Selatan; Toy Library Hospital Naluri; Makasih Toy Library and Parents Resource Centre for Special Needs Children, Subang Jaya; Challenges Foundation, Petaling Jaya.

2.       A Different Take on Christmas Traditions

Christmas for most of us involves putting up the tree, counting down with an advent calendar and having the good ol’ Secret Santa gift exchange, but in some parts of the world, Christmas is very different. Make it fun this year by incorporating one of these quirky traditions:


i) KFC for Christmas (Japan)

Image: KFC Japan


Word has it that back in the 1970s, the manager of KFC overheard expat customers talked about how they missed having turkey for Christmas. He then came up with the idea of a party bucket, hoping it would be a good substitute for turkey, and a slogan “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” (“Kentucky for Christmas!”), and the rest is history. Now, every Christmas, Japanese families make reservations one month in advance and queue to have Colonel’s fried chicken. You might want to tuck into some of that finger lickin’ goodness too this Christmas. It’s easy and delicious, and there is definitely no seasonal queue for KFC here.


ii) Find the Pickle in the Tree (Germany)

Image: Crate & Barrel


Maybe have a little extra treasure hunt this Christmas. Just like how children search for hidden eggs during Easter, the Germans look through pine boughs to find the pickle in the Christmas tree. The pickle is usually a shiny or matte green glass ornament rather than the real crunchy kind you get in burgers. The first person who finds it gets an extra gift and will have good luck for the rest of the year.


iii) Donald Duck on the Screen (Sweden)


“Kalle Anka och hans vänner önskar God Jul” That is Donald Duck and friends wishing you a Merry Christmas. Every Christmas Eve, when the clock strikes three, millions of Swedes sit together to watch Walt Disney’s second most famous cartoon character – the squawking duck. This has been a tradition since 1960. Staying home, in pyjamas, watching vintage Donald Duck instead of fighting Christmas crowds is actually not such a shabby idea.  

3.       ‘Tis the Season for Giving

Image: Dapur Jalanan Kuala Lumpur


Sometimes we forget the true value of Christmas and get lost in the frenzy of gift wrapping and thinking of the presents we hope to receive. Of course, that’s not what this season is really about. The commercial saturation of it all is probably one of the biggest terrors that makes Christmas lose its luster. Show your kids how they can give gifts that can help others. One of the most classic ways is baking cookies and spreading the joy by gifting them to neighbours or the elderly at nursing homes. There are also countless ways to get involved in charity work, such as volunteering at a shelter home or serving food at a soup kitchen. Children aged 12 and above can consider volunteering at Kechara Soup Kitchen, with the accompaniment of a guardian.   

4.       One Handmade Keepsake Ornament Each Year

Image: Etsy ArtHStore


For some it may already be an annual Christmas tradition to have a new ornament each year. Why not make it extra special by making the ornament with the kids instead of buying them off the shops. It gives them a fun yearly tradition to look forward to, plus, it’s a good bonding moment too. The ornaments can be reflective of their current likes and interests, and can be simply rolled out of a 3-ingredient salt dough, recycled scraps and metallic confetti.