By Emma Thomas


Christmas, Easter and New Years. Birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and Valentines Day. 


I’ve recently been thinking about the ways in which we celebrate as a society. We enjoy our celebrations but we stick closely to the calendar and celebrate things at their ‘proper’ time. Judgement tends to be thrown about for listening to Christmas carols too early, taking down your Christmas tree too late or enjoying Hot Cross Buns in January!


For our children the celebrations that we take part in as a family and a society are hugely important to their development! There is great power in our family traditions and rituals. These celebrations mark the passing of time and the growth of children and families. 


Our Celebrations

My daughter is 3 and just loves celebrations! Christmas, birthdays and Easter are all special times for her. Recently she rediscovered her advent calendar which I had packed away. She has had a wonderful time playing with it and remembering all of the fun things we did at Christmas. 

We’ve had lots of extra time at home due to sickness and our neighbours loaned us a set of plastic Easter eggs. This has been my daughter’s favourite activity! We hide them around the house and she goes hunting for them!

When we were at the shops the other day she was overwhelmed with excitement when she found ‘hot cross buns’ in the bakery (these were just fruit buns).

Even though her birthday is months away she loves spending time ‘reading’ the Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake Book and imagining what cake she will choose!


It is so precious to see the excitement of young children. While we should save the main activities for the time of year when the celebration occurs, it can be great fun to mix it up. 


Why not:

  • pull out a Santa hat in June. 
  • make Hot Cross Buns in July
  • go on an Easter Egg Hunt in August
  • hold a ‘half birthday’ celebration – serve half a cake and make a special meal (this can be particularly meaningful for family members who have their birthdays in December or January!). 
  • put balloons up for a Wednesday night dinner


Sometimes when children are going through a challenging period going back over their special family memories or participating in mini celebrations can be very reassuring and grounding. 


These special celebrations are really meaningful for children. Revisiting them in small ways throughout the year can help build their growing sense of identity and understanding of their family.