Part of being a parent is passing down holiday family traditions to our children, while also creating new traditions to celebrate year after year
In our family, Christmas isn’t about the day itself, but rather the wonderful month before that is filled with mulled wine, sparkly lights, indulgent feasts and boozy sing-alongs. It’s the season for visiting the festive displays around town, shopping till your feet ache, sipping hot chocolate, present wrapping, and spending time with loved ones. This Christmas holds extra special meaning for our family as it will be our daughter’s first. And although it might not be the Christmas that we had planned, we’re inspired by the festive spirit to create new holiday family traditions for our family of three to enjoy! Here are some of our family’s holiday traditions—some new, and some old—that we’re enjoying this season.
Celebrating family holiday traditions
Virtual Christmas morning
Like many new parents, our festive season is tinged with sadness that we can’t spend it with our family back home. We’ve had to adapt and find new ways to connect and share our milestones and special occasions. This year, we’ll be hosting a virtual gift opening on Christmas morning as a new family holiday tradition!
With a delivery of some bubbly scheduled to arrive on Christmas Eve at the in-laws back home, we’ll take advantage of the time difference and at 10pm in the UK and 6am HK time, open our gifts together, share some mince pies, and give thanks for the technology that enables us to share this moment together even though we are far apart.
Christmas tree ornaments and decorations
For each trip that my husband and I have taken, we’ve bought some sort of Christmas decoration. From a mini Vietnamese nón lá hat to a Californian sea turtle wearing a Santa hat, our tree is a physical postcard of weird and wonderful memories from our travels. This year, we’ve each bought a new decoration to mark baby’s first Christmas – including some soft ‘chewable’ elves and a little porcelain version of our daughters’ favourite giraffe toy. As expected, our tree is already bare looking as our little elf is on a relentless mission to remove (and eat!) all of the baubles and branches.
Having stayed in Hong Kong for the past three years, we’ve enjoyed a festive lunch at Henry in the Rosewood Hong Kong each Christmas day. Last year, sober, exhausted, and with a HUGE baby bump, I found solace in a mountain of roast potatoes and a river of hot chocolate. This year will be even more special with an extra seat at the table (for baby) and a well-deserved glass of wine (for mama). The members of the Rosewood team are experts at making Christmas feel extra-special. My favourite part, however, is that as a dog-friendly hotel, there’s always an impressive line up of canine guests dressed in their best Christmas outfits!
Christmas is a time for us to also recognise the real angels in our lives – the aunties who look after our babies. They, too, are also severely affected by the travel situation, with little hope of visiting their own families any time soon. To bring a little Christmas cheer, we’re hosting a special Christmas party just for them, with secret Santa gift exchange, some traditional food and a surprise or two to show our appreciation for the love and care that these remarkable women show to our families every day of the year!
The Late Late Toy show
My final Christmas tradition is by far my favourite! As a child growing up in Ireland, there was one night of the year that we were allowed to stay up late and gorge on sweets. The Late Late Toy show is a completely unique (and VERY Irish) tradition that I cannot wait to share with my daughter. Running each Christmas since 1975, for one night of the year, this late night chat show is run by children, for children. It’s a bonkers three-hour extravaganza of singing, dancing, toy reviews and more cheeky bloopers than you can imagine. For Irish expats in Hong Kong, it’s a wonderfully nostalgic connection to home at this time of the year and available to stream all around the world. This years’ show featured a very special celebrity guest and raised over €6 million (HKD53m) for charity.
Watch this years Late Late Toy Show on RTE player.