I had my third baby early on Christmas morning.
Moments after 12:30 a.m., I placed the final touches on stockings and arranged carefully chosen gifts. I was done. I stopped feeling the pressure of the holiday rush. In my mind, I knew I wouldn’t feel ready to have her until after Christmas morning. In that moment, appreciating the peacefulness of a lit up tree and anticipating the morning smiles, I knew it was time to go.
I was holding our third and last baby at 2:19 a.m.
Growing up Christmas was always magical. Lights, celebrations, treats, and so much time together. I loved the magic of the season, and the joy of giving. Attending the candle light services and hearing the congregation sing The First Noel will always be such warm memories to me. The magic of the lights in that old church were as beautiful and safe as you could ever feel.
As I grew older and explored my own thoughts my perspective shifted, and I found myself no longer curious, interested, or believing the religious stories that most celebrate during this time. It felt very disconnecting to continue on with celebrating a holiday I really didn’t believe in. But the holiday homesick can consume you even during the happiest of celebrations. And any time I can sprinkle more magic to my kids’ lives, I’m all over it.
As our family gets older we always look forward to watching all of the Harry Potter movies. It’s also a great excuse to have eight nights of calm couch snuggles during a typically busy and stressful time of year. The Harry Potter Holiday is a great bridge between the religious holiday traditions and family memories, but from a secular, non-Santa perspective.
Harry Potter has always been magic. Since the first time I read the books, to the first time we read to our children. Incorporating a HP movie marathon into our families traditions from Halloween through New Years is something we have done since starting a family. Now that our kiddos are bit bigger, we are so excited to fully embrace this tradition and create a holiday celebration fit for any witch and wizard.
Here is how our family uses all eight Harry Potter movies to create holiday magic.
This is new to me this year. I love changing out our mantle decor throughout the yearly holidays. Using books, and other HP treasures we have I decorated our mantle with a general HP theme. As the season/holidays transition we will add different details. For our first Halloween themed design we will have some creepy themed items. Pulling details in from the first movies. As we go we will replace the details with more winter themed decor. Fit for the Yule Ball. I can concentrate my holiday time craftiness on this specific project too.
One of the most important parts of any celebration. The food! We only do extra themed treats on a couple of the movies. But you have 8 opportunities to try all the HP-themed snacks. We usually do popcorn with Christmas candy topping. But I’ll never turn down a Butterbeer. We also like to try out food and treats mentioned in the story during family dinner and parties.
We plan to pick a couple of times to invite others over to watch with us. It’s so much fun to include others in your traditions but also take time to see how other families celebrate. We like to just do this for one or two movies since it’s already such a busy time coordinating schedules. This year we are planning on kicking off after a night of Halloween fun, and also a Yule Ball themed Solstice dinner and movie night with friends and family.
One of the most important steps to make this happen is to schedule them. When you start making plans for all the the other wonderful celebrations you know you have these eight times set. I also like to plan ahead with special themes to incorporate into our meals, home school lessons, and other fun outings. We mix it up and plan on different nights of the week. Look ahead for days off from school and long weekends to accommodate late nights. We start on (or near) Halloween and space out ending around New Years Day.
We are creating this alternative tradition for many reasons. Mostly an excuse for Harry Potter magic, but it also such a great way to have moments to slow down, focus on what our family values during this time of year, to be able to easily shift the focus on our daughter on her birthday, and to create memories and tradition with our children.