This year has been a roller coaster one with last Christmas being quite stressful with my Mum being incredibly ill. Then she passed in the February and the year has sort of plodded on with "stuff".
My daughter, who is 15, is quite excited for Christmas, whereas I'm finding it a bit harder to "get going". It's made me think of the times mum made a massive effort for us as kids growing up, to the fuss she made when she came to visit once I had children of my own. She never really said it, but I think she loved this time of year.
Traditions come in all kinds of ways, some that your parents would have started for you (like not opening up a present until you had eaten breakfast!) to the ones you start for your own children, like the tiny stockings we hang on the tree and pop a little Christmas Eve gift into (usually sweet and tasty).
I was recently asked to review a wonderful new audio book called "The Call Of Mektoub, An Enchanting Christmas Tale, by Helen S Michaelsen.
You meet some fabulous characters, including, Lucy and her mum, Emma, Mother and Father Christmas, Jack Frost, Tweeny Bunting and a rather brilliant villain called Whipper-Whopper - plus many more.
The book has 24 chapters so that you can start on December 1st and listen to one chapter every night finishing on Christmas Eve, building up the magic of Christmas and making it a fantastic advent calendar of a different kind - and it will last longer than chocolate and will leave nothing but festive memories.
The story takes you on a wonderful Christmas adventure with Lucy and her mum, and really makes you want to get to the next chapter. It takes effort not to cheat to find out what happens.
The book would be ideal for 6-12yrs but I think that it will be a great tradition for the future and I can imagine that it would be something that is carried on past these ages.
My daughter heard me listening to the book and even though she is 15, she's asked if we can listen to it together as an advent. It's really helped me with this year and closing one tradition and starting a new one. I love that even at her age she's so excited to embrace the magic and take me along with her.
I'm definitely going to recommend this book to two of our older children, who both have their own families at a perfect age to be caught up in the pure magic of this story.
I think it is something my mum would have loved when I was a child at home, and I hope it becomes a new tradition for our children to pass on.