There is definitely something festive in the air now isn’t there? The air is colder, the nights darker and the shops are awash with the usual festive frenzy. The panto tickets are booked. The kids are all busy planning and writing their lists and there the countdown is now days rather than weeks. I have been working with Wayfair this year as part of their Home Experts Panel and they have asked me to share some of our family Christmas traditions, so here goes.
Christmas is for me the one time of year when traditions come into play. Each December, we get out the same old decorations that have been lovingly collected over the years, the same card holders, the same Christmas toys and books and each one is greeted like an old friend that hasn’t been seen for years, even though it has only been a year. All of the children love this and even before I have taken the box of decorations out of the cupboard, they are singing a little song that one of the toys sings when you press a button. It is simply part of Christmas.
To the old, we always add the new. I always get the children to choose a new ornament for the tree or a teddy to add to the festive collection, each will be completely different and our decorations are an eclectic mix of old and new, bought and homemade, brightly coloured and totally mismatched but I love that. It tells the story of our many Christmases as a family and that is far better than a tree will co-ordinating colours and decorations. Well, it is to me anyway.
But Christmas Eve is the time for tradition in our house. It is a family day. That is the most important tradition. We always try and get all of the jobs done before so that we can relax a bit.The day itself is usually spent seeing family members, catching up with those last minute people who you haven’t already exchanged gifts with and then Granny arrives with the largest bags of presents (and this from the woman who says every year that she is NOT going to spend a lot again next year). For the last few years, we have introduced a family bake off and we all choose something to make and usually work in two teams. There is no competition, just festive family fun and we always enjoy the end result.
Christmas Eve is all about snuggling up on the sofa for some festive viewing which ALWAYS includes Father Christmas (the Raymond Briggs version) and chants of “another blooming Christmas” will be heard for miles around, followed by me trying to hide my tears when The Snowman melts at the end of that magical film. The Snowman and the Snowdog have become a recent addition too. We try and keep things chilled out and calm in readiness for the excitement of the day to come.
Then we have the job of getting three over-excited children to bed which is definitely getting harder as they are all getting older. Preparations begin for the great arrival; running around the garden like lunatics spreading the magic reindeer dust and then coating the kitchen floor with mud, carefully placing a couple of Granny’s homemade mince pies somewhere obvious with a bowl of water and some fat juicy carrots for those weary reindeer and then the discussion about which tipple Father Christmas would like this year (we find that he is rather partial to a large glass of Baileys).
Finally comes the Thomas family song. Now I was a little cynical about the song in the early days, but I have to admit that it has grown on me as time has passed. It was a song that my husband’s family made up when he and his brother were little and it is very important that we continue this family tradition. It is sung to the tune of Jingle Bells and the children sing it as they walk up the stairs to bed with their stockings. It goes something like this:
Christmas Eve is here
as we go off to bed
as we climb the stairs
not a sleepy head
take our stockings off
hang them in a row
then jump quickly into bed
and off to sleep we go
oh jingle bells
jingle bells etc
And so it ends with our not so sleepy heads all discussing how they are going to stay awake this year and catch Father Christmas in the act… but they never do.
What are your Christmas traditions?
This post was written in collaboration with Wayfair