Haven Magazine - - LIFE -

Right about the same time that this mag­a­zine will be chug­ging through a print­ing press, hot on its way to you, I will be join­ing a group of my most beloved girl­friends, and our com­bined seven kids, in our an­nual Christ­mas pil­grim­age to get pho­tos taken with Santa. This year will be our 13th pil­grim­age in a row. This tra­di­tion started in the most tra­di­tional way – you have to get your first child’s first Christ­mas photo with Santa, right? As new play­group mums, we de­cided there was safety (and gen­er­ally some caf­feinated fun) in num­bers so we all turned up to­gether, six-mon­tholds in tow. We shoved those kids in Santa’s face, they freaked out about the strange old bearded man, we smiled at the cam­era, paid in­flated prices for our snaps, and we were done. The fol­low­ing year, we recre­ated that group photo, just to be able to com­pare how the kids had grown. The fol­low­ing year there were sib­lings, so we had to get that shot as well. Thir­teen years down the track, and liv­ing hours from ea­chother, we still man­age to drag that same rag tag bunch of now-tweenagers to Santa for that same group photo. The kids are equal parts en­thu­si­as­tic to see ea­chother, too-cool-for-school Santa, and also in­tu­itive enough to know that this photo can be a pain in the mums’ bums to co­or­di­nate but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Over the 13 years, we’ve seen them change from in­no­cent lit­tle things in their tiny, cute handmade Christ­mas out­fits, to sticky, rol­lick­ing tween boys who would re-po­si­tion the Myer fash­ion man­nequins in ques­tion­able poses as we es­caped the store. There was the year that Miss 4 for­got to put on her un­der­wear and the other odd years when we’d squeeze the dads into our group photo as well. And ev­ery year we gen­er­ally leave the near­est café in war­zone-like con­di­tions but with our friend­ship buck­ets filled to the brim. I'm not ac­tu­ally sure when we'll pull up stumps on this photo. Hope­fully never. But there will be a day... Christ­mas it­self is filled with tra­di­tion - it’s what makes this time of the year spe­cial. What are your fam­ily tra­di­tions? And, if you don’t have a spe­cial one, what tra­di­tion will you start this fes­tive sea­son?

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