One of the joys of parenthood is creating and establishing your family traditions. I think traditions are important for a number of reasons; they can help to create memories, as well as providing some predictability and a sense of stability. Hopefully they will also bring joy and laughter and a sense of belonging too.
For a family like ours, with people spread all around the world, the place we celebrate will be changeable, but the things that we do can be the same. For birthdays we decided on balloons, bunting and birthday cake, all of which are easily transportable to any location. Christmas I hope will always be spent with extended family, either in the UK or Australia. We did get a tree last year, and made our own decorations which is another tradition I would like to foster. I am also planning on creating a little ritual of Christmas PJ's, where we each get new PJ's on Christmas eve to sleep in that night. Also when BB is older, I plan on us each writing a modest Christmas list, of three items; something I need, something I want and something I'd like to do.
The question of what to do for New Years eve with kids is now something I am starting to think about. I know for many families, New Year involves getting a baby sitter while the adults get a rare night out, but I don't think that's for me. Although I won't be starting it for couple of years yet, allowing the kids to stay up to see the clock strike midnight on this one day is a tradition that I will happily encourage. Again the venue may change, and the family and friends that we are with might vary from year to year, but our traditions will be that we that we see in the New Year together as parent and child, and that we set some goals for our year ahead.
I have recently heard about Butlin's family friendly New Years eve breaks. Butlin's is such a huge part of British culture that it almost seems a rite of passage for a child to spend some time there, especially one who may end up living in Australia in the future, and who will look back at his early life in the UK. My own memories of Butlin's are very happy ones. My first experience was a couple of days break at Skegness with my grandparents when I was about 10. We joined my great aunt and young girl that she cared for who was around my age. Us two kids had a great time together, with the freedom to explore by ourselves in a safe environment.
My second Butlin's experience was as a trainee teacher, with three classes of Year 8 Special Needs students in the early nineties. I will never forget the joy that simple holiday in Minehead brought to those students. For some it was the first time they had seen the sea, and for many it was their first residential school trip. I have a really clear memory of some lovely year 8 boys telling me that I should have children as I would be a great Mummy, and so for me it was one of the first times I really thought about how it would be to have kids of my own someday.
It makes sense then that my third visit should be with my own family. A Butlin's New Year break would definitely fit all the necessary criteria of our soon to be established New Year traditions, so it's definitely on the cards for the future. We just need find some pals to go with, and to save a few pennies.