We all want to create a magical Christmas for our children with traditions and celebrations they will remember for the rest of their lives. But sometimes in the mad December dash, it’s easy to get waylaid with all the buying of gifts and preparing of feasts. So this year, we asked some of our favourite designers and writers to share one or two of their Christmas family traditions. We’d love to hear about your own traditions for the festive season, and here’s to your very own merry, magical and meaningful celebration of Christmas!

“As a child, my fondest Christmas memory is of the excitement I would feel as my sister and I prepared letters for the ‘Christkind’ – a little Child Angel that we celebrate instead of Father Christmas here in Vienna. We would write down a wish and put it in the window before going to bed. I remember gazing into the intensively dark winter sky and thinking of the angel coming down while we were sleeping. I recall every detail of the window sill above the radiator in our old house which leaves me with a lovely, warm feeling.” Sabine Fajana, founder of Vividgrey

“The tree is a big feature in our house, the bigger the better. Each year we let our children choose an ornament, then when they leave home they can take those – and all the memories they hold – with them for their own tree.” Mandy Sutcliffe, creator of Belle & Boo
See the Christmas collection from Belle & Boo and shop from their Christmas Shop

“We have ‘Elf On the Shelf’ who visits every year and my two boys, Morgan (seven) and Elliot (five), can’t wait to get up in the morning and see what ‘Max’ has been up to each night.” Lisa Long, founder of More Than Words
Just in case you’ve missed hearing about this 21st Century tr-addition, the Elf on the Shelf is the story of Santa’s little helpers – one of whom is sent to each and every house to watch over the children who live there, to check who is naughty and nice, and return with his report to Santa each night.  Next morning, the Elf flies back to his allocated home, but lands in a different spot around the house – and so each morning the search for the elf begins. Of course, some elves are a little naughty themselves and play tricks on the family while they sleep. Read more about the Elf on the Shelf and the the parenting debate that this new Christmas phenomena has prompted…  

“I love Christmas. We have many traditions we repeat year after year. On December 1, I find my mother’s old cake recipe and then I bake cookies with my boys – our dog Pluto watching in the hope that we lose some cakes on the floor.” Annemarie Franck, founder of Franck & Fischer

“We are pretty traditional. We nearly always go to our house in Suffolk for Christmas. I love Christmas decorations and have a collection of natural animals and corn dollies that I use on my tree – the children think I am oddly obsessed about it. So we have another tree on which I let them hang anything they like!” Harriet Hastings, founder of BiscuiteersSee the Christmas Biscuit collection from Biscuiteers and shop from their Christmas Shop

“Sinterklaas is a very big event in the Netherlands, even bigger than Christmas. Sinterklaas arrives in the Netherlands on December 5 and every weekend, the kids are allowed to put their shoe next to the stove with a letter for Sinterklaas or a carrot for his horse, etc. And the next morning they will find a little present in their shoe that Sinterklaas and his helpers throw through the chimney. For the big event on December 5, we make ‘surprises’ – gifts that have been creatively disguised by being packaged in a humorous unusual way with poems that accompany the gifts, bearing a personal message for the receiver.” Romy Boesveldt, founder of StudioRoof
See StudioRoof’s gorgeous Totem Christmas tree and Pop-Out Christmas decorations

“This year my 17-year-old daughter Grace is about to see The Nutcracker for the 15th time. We went to our first matinee performance at the London Coliseum in St Martin’s Lane in 1998, and Grace, coming up for her third birthday, wore a pink tutu. We were seated in the stage box and in such close proximity to the spectacle that it almost felt like you could reach out and touch the dancers. Over the years, we’ve seen some splendid productions by the English National Ballet that have included brilliant Liquorice Allsorts dancing sweeties, and the magnificent Gerald Scarfe set designs and costumes where the dancers wore curly-wurly wigs that resembled characters from Dr Seuss Whoville, and fluttering snowflake dancers leapt from a giant fridge. Long may our love affair with The Nutcracker continue, and I hope that one day I’ll be attending with the next generation in tow, too.” Catherine O’Dolan, Editor-at-large of MyLittleStyleFile

8. READ The Night Before Christmas
“My favourite family tradition is one that my Dad did with me and my siblings, and one that I’ve continued. On Christmas Eve, I bundle into our big bed with our girls and read aloud The Night Before Christmas by Clement C Moore. It’s a lovely poem story of the magical night that used to fill me with such excitement. My sister swiped our original copy but I bought one illustrated by Christian Birmingham and I think it’s a brilliant version. Our daughters are now 18 and 15, but I don’t see the tradition being dropped anytime soon.”  Roz Streeten, creator of RosieFlo

“Until last year, we were always some place warm like Atacama desert etc when celebrating Christmas with our son Elias, with just a nice dinner to mark the occasion. Last year was Elias’s first Christmas with snow – we were in Switzerland with my husband’s family. In David’s parents’ house they have a nice chimney, perfect for Santa to come down. I never enjoyed Christmas so much as last year – just the sheer joy of Elias being so excited on Christmas Eve, anticipating Santa’s arrival and excitedly running downstairs next morning to see if Santa delivered the presents, and actually finding the presents… It all sounds so simple and so generic, happening in most families – but it is such a big joy for a parent – to enjoy Christmas through their kids’ eyes – I think that’s what Christmas is about: magic for our kids, which results in utter happiness for parents – so therefore, magic for them too.” Oyuna, founder of Oyu Moyu

“Christmas for me is all about traditions. My parents had a collection of Christmas books that only came down from the loft for Christmas, and my sister and I would be so excited about reading them. The best was Raymond Brigg’s Father Christmas. I’m going to buy it for my boys this Christmas.”  Mandy Sutcliffe, creator of Belle & Boo

“St Nicholas is a tradition in Vienna. Every year when I was little, he would come to visit our home on December 6. I never doubted his authenticity even though he had very different shapes and sizes each year – this was because my beloved grandmother, who was very little and round, dressed up as St Nicholas one time, while another time a tall and thin friend of our family played the role. I think it was only when my older sister noted that the shoes of St Nicholas belonged to our uncle that we started putting this tradition into question, otherwise, I certainly would have kept believing for who knows how long! Of course I would love to pass some of this magic on to Raven, my little boy. But as kids seem so much more informed nowadays, I will need to work harder to trick him. We let St Nicholas leave some big footprints in our courtyard last week so Raven could make up his own  of how he looks like..!” Sabine Fajana founder of Vividgrey

“In 2010, the year my son was born, we started the tradition of having Carols in the Garden at my parents home in Sydney. We’d been living in London for almost a decade, so this event also became a remarkable catch up with friends and family we hadn’t seen in quite a few years. It is now an annual tradition that the Sunday evening before Christmas, we gather to sing carols with all our closest family and friends. Each child chooses a favourite carol and either performs it as a solo (to wild applause), or leads the song with everyone providing the chorus. As I’ve had a babe in my arms for two of these past four years of carols, I never fail to get all teary when we all sing ‘Away In A Manger’. It is possibly the most special event of our family’s Christmas season.” Suzanne Milne, founder of MyLittleStyleFile

“Christmas is a warm family event, with candles, good food, time for a rest, time to spend time together with yourdearset. In our family we of course always set up our Totem Christmas Tree along with the real tree… we create angels, doves, birds, stars, snowflakes and many kind of animals from paper to decorate the tree, and of course we also decorate with our Studio Roof Christmas decorations.” Romy Boesveldt, founder of StudioRoof

“I must have been about 13 when I watched It’s A Wonderful Life for the first time on the night before Christmas. Now, it just doesn’t feel like Christmas until we’ve all sat down and watched one of our favourite Christmas movies on Christmas Eve. Mind you, I have been known to throw a curveball after a long Christmas Day with all the family by suggesting we extinguish our inner snob and sit down to watch Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation.” John Stanley, Sydney radio broadcaster and MyLittleStyleFile contributor
Take a look at 12 We Love: Christmas Movies for great movies to enjoy with all the family this season. 

“We are busy at work up to Christmas, and our monkeys Frida and Frederik tell a Christmas story every Tuesday and Friday on our Facebook page… and we have an Advent ibook here. But the monkeys also help to decorate with Christmas decorations, baking cakes and buying Christmas presents. And, as a gift from Franck & Fischer to you, I’ve collected photos of Frida and Frederik’s Christmas preparations and put them together as a Memory Game – print two of them and play with your child during December. Merry Christmas!” Annemarie Franck founder of Franck & Fischer

“Whether it is just a few strings of lights on the Christmas tree or a heavenly host of bright eyed angels atop your roof, you really know it is Christmas when the lights have been switched on. This year we not only celebrated our own lights being turned on, but also went for a drive to discover the best-lit houses across the city. Even Charlotte, who has just turned one, was excited when she saw some of the remarkable displays.” Brenden Lovett, founder of MyLittleStyleFile

“On Christmas Eve we usually go to the beach for a walk and a pub lunch before attending a candlelit evening carol service in one of the local churches. Then we come home for a hot ham supper before the children hang up their Christmas stockings on the fire place. As a family we do like our traditions and of course just being all together.” Harriet Hastings, founder of Biscuiteers 

“We spend every Christmas as a family with my mum and dad, and my sister and her family. When everyone is up on Christmas morning, we wait outside the living room until my dad has been in to check that Santa has been; he then comes out screaming “He’s beeeeen!!” and we all get super excited. We’re all big kids really!” Lisa Long, founder of More Than Words

“My eldest daughter usually plans the games for after Christmas lunch! We’re opening a new shop in the Northcote Rd in South London at the moment and of course it is our busiest time of the year so we are all looking forward to Christmas and all our traditions more than usual!” Harriet Hastings, founder of Biscuiteers

“Back when I was about two, my father bought an 8mm movie camera and every Christmas Day the camera would come out and record our goings on, whether it was the unwrapping of presents, our joy at the new toys – or the new kitten – we had received or the friends we were holidaying with. We now have a wonderful collection of memories of growing up via our Christmas holiday movies; they are utterly precious, irreplaceable and something we still love to watch. Thanks to today’s technology we all have copies of these movies and still bring them out over the holiday season to watch again and again. Despite the fact that there are now probably nine or ten cameras in the household, the past few years have been a little hit and mis with the movie making. This year, I am going to make sure I am ready so I can make a proper Christmas holiday movie that my children will love to watch and share with their own children too, and I will feel like I have been able to continue the tradition that my father started all those decades ago.”  Suzanne Milne, founder of MyLittleStyleFile