So we all know how it goes, Christmas is coming and that means Christmas trees, crackers, presents and food. It means tinsel on the tree, up the stairs, in your hair. It means naff jumpers and Christmas socks. IT means lights, advent calendars, Christmas wreaths and eating too much turkey whilst watching the Queens Speech.
Or does it?
That’s the picture the adverts paint. That all sounds like a normal Christmas and the way it’s meant to be but in reality we all do it a bit differently. Every family has their own Christmas traditions and the things that, without which, Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas. Real tree or fake? Pre-lit or a fight with tangled lights? Chocolate advent calendar, picture calendar, neither? Or maybe an advent candle? Turkey, goose, beef, maybe just a chicken will do or maybe you’re a veggie.
For our family there’s a few key Christmas traditions which make things just right. Firstly the advent calendars, always a chocolate one for the kids. Some don’t like the idea of giving children chocolate everyday but I grew up with chocolate calendars and hey, they’re only tiny chocs. My husband and I share a reusable Father Christmas advent calendar. Each year we fill the numbered pockets with chocolates, though my husband always seems to forget to eat his!
Next comes the tree. Well sometimes advent calendars and the tree happen on the same day, we like to put the tree up on or close to the first of December. This year it’ll likely happen on the 5th as that’s the first weekend because, that’s the other key thing about the tree, we ALL have to be there. We have a fake tree and a few years ago bought a pre-lit one because it was becoming a rather unfortunate tradition that we’d get crabby at the tangled lights! So pre-lit and no more illumination drama!
During December, we go to see Christmas lights and snuggle up with Christmas films at the weekends. Each day, another door being opened and 6 year old Big Robot showcasing his maths skills by calculating how many days left until the day itself. The children play with the wooden nativity scene and then finally Christmas Eve arrives and by this point the kids are bouncing off the walls with excitement.
We make reindeer food and sprinkle it in the garden after it gets dark. Last year, clear skies and a perfectly timed pass of the International Space Station meant we could show the boys a bright light zooming across the sky which surely must be Father Christmas on his sleigh. He’ll come back to our house later, we assured them, when it’s really dark and everyone is asleep. After a nice Christmas Eve dinner we put out cookies, milk and a carrot for Father Christmas and Rudolph. Tuck the kids into bed before the husband and I sneak about, filling under the tree with presents (which, unbeknownst to the kids, I have hid downstairs whilst dinner was cooking). Then it’s feet up and a glass of wine for Mother and Father Christmas before the craziness of the next morning. Oh which reminds me, you must go to bed before midnight on Christmas Eve. That’s another Christmas rule for us.
The day itself brings excited children in our room with a stocking of presents Father Christmas has left by their beds. The bigger ones, we tell them, are under the tree downstairs. No one is allowed downstairs until we’re all ready to go down, not because we think they’ll jump right in and start ripping off paper but because we want the video camera ready to capture their faces. Soon enough presents are opened, the kids are playing, my husband is cooking and the house is full of the smell of roast dinner and the sound of happy children.
I love our Christmas traditions. They make Christmas really feel just right for us. Do you have any Christmas traditions in your family?