The TMK ladies were chatting in the office this week about how we make Christmas “ours” – what were the traditions that our family enjoyed every Christmas that made it just that bit different and special and “simply wouldn’t be Christmas without ” and as we grew up (whether we want to our not) and established our own families what are the new Christmas rituals that we look forward to and hope that our children will in turn embrace?
A family tradition I started when I had my own children was a new pair of fluffy cosy pajamas all wrapped up and allowed to be worn on Christmas Eve as we sit together watching a family movie and before tucking them into bed and doing any last bits of wrapping for those forgotten presents you just remembered you’d hidden away. Just would not be the same without having this little ritual and there’s something amazingly comforting about this simple act which always makes me very happy and thankful.
One tradition started a few years ago on the 1st December. We read one chapter a night of the Advent Story Book by Chris Schnieder. It is basically a retelling the Christmas story one day at a time. Each story is about the bear looking for the new born baby, with a simple moral relating to the Christmas message. On Christmas Eve, not only do we read the final chapter, we also read The Night Before Christmas and the nativity. This winds the children into an absolute frenzy and last year they ran around the house
squealing I mean singing ‘Santa Claus is coming to Town’!
My family tradition is steak and chips on Christmas Eve! We usually have chicken on Christmas Day (we’re not that keen on turkey) but the meal we all get excited about is the steak, chips, peas, onions and tomatoes. When Mum and Dad have spent Christmas on their own, because my brother and I have committed ourselves elsewhere, they have their steak and chips on Christmas Day instead.
Two key things spring to mind. Firstly, there are no Christmas decorations in place before 13th December. My late Mother’s birthday was December 12th and it was nice for her to have her birthday without it being totally eclipsed by Christmas – so now we’ve made the 13th “our” decorating day. I also like that the house isn’t over run by Christmas for more than 24 days! But beware anyone who is scarily organised (Penny I’m looking at you). Christmas cards arriving before that date are opened, admired and filed until the 13th! Similar to Nat we celebrate Christmas Eve with a box for the children. Their joint present contains a new onesie, a new dvd and some popcorn and hot chocolate. We start our family celebrations snuggled up together on the sofa sharing treats, entertainment and cuddles
I am that annoying neighbour that always puts her tree up on the last weekend in November and tries to string out the ‘holidays’ for as long as I can. There are a few traditions that I’ve only just realised happen in our family, some which aren’t unique to us but make the children super excited anyway. Firstly my mum, every year, takes the children out individually to by our presents and this year she had them to sleep over which gave me, much needed time to wrap the gifts. They squealed with delight when they got home to find the Christmas Eve parcels under the tree. These always contain brand, spanking new PJ’s so they know what to expect but they get so excited. Even I get excited that I’ve wrapped up some new ones for me too.
Christmas Hams ALWAYS make an appearance and we end up making them for a few families every year now. One of these hams usually lasts about a week with us all carving a slice off when we walk by (teamed with Tiger Bread and Lurpack = heaven!) A christmas log also adorns the Christmas Plate and contains enough chocolate to warrant the scales slipping further under the bath.
This year we’re going to try something different, we’re not going to have Christmas Dinner! Shock, horror! Instead, we’re going to have a nice big meal on Christmas Eve followed by me reading The Night Before Christmas and then we’re going to open presents (just the ones from Mummy and Daddy as he’s working on Christmas Day) On Christmas morning the kids will, hopefully, find sacks of goodies from Santa and then we’ll spend the rest of the day in our, new, Pj’s and eating leftovers.
Our Christmases tend to be shaped by my husband’s job – he manages a hotel and has to work hard during the run up to Christmas and until after lunch every Christmas Day. To make up for less family time, we let the kids open a special present on Christmas Eve, when we also put out our Santa snacks and reindeer food. I’m inspired to add PJs, DVDs and hot chocolate to our Christmas Eve traditions now. Our Christmas Day itself is actually pretty low key and we save our big Christmas dinner for Boxing Day, when we can all be together. The highlight of the meal is finding the coins hidden in the Christmas pudding. Christmas lunch is always followed by fiendishly competitive game playing and more than a few Christmas cocktails.
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This post is linked to #ordinarymoments on Mummy Daddy Me