My Christmas Family Traditions

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William will be 9 months old at Christmas, so this is our first family Christmas with the three of us. We’ve decided to try and create our own simple family traditions that we can follow every year.

Christmas Eve

As my husband and I are self-employed with our own business in the retail/animal care sector, Christmas still means lots of work. Animals need to be fed and watered every day, including Christmas day of course, and Christmas Eve is actually a big shopping day for us. So on Christmas Eve, William will be spending the day with his grandmother and visiting relatives such as his aunts, uncles, and cousins. My mum is very sociable and loves taking him out and about. This will give the husband and I time to work and sneakily wrap some pressies too!

Once the shop is closed and William is home, we’ll be having a dinner that’s non-traditional. I find we eat Christmas leftovers, turkey and stuffing for the entire week after Christmas, so on Christmas Eve, I like to cook something different, like a little buffet party, something spicy, or fish. This year I’m doing a sushi party – although the baby won’t be consuming any raw fish, so it’ll be mostly vegetables, rice and some spices for him!

After dinner, we will be opening our Christmas Eve Box. I bought this one from the Sue Ryder Shop – a charity which I support. It’s big enough for a little gift for all three of us!

In our Christmas Eve box I’ll be putting:

  • New Pyjamas for all of us
  • Hot Chocolate Reindeer
  • Speciality popcorn
  • A Christmas Book
  • A Christmas movie
  • A bottle of cider for Daddy!

We’ll be opening it up as a family and then watching a movie with our hot chocolate and popcorn, followed by getting into our nice new PJ’s to read a book in bed. I even use Christmas themed bedspreads at Christmas for the week, to make it feel special!

Christmas Day

I have done the same thing every Christmas day since I was a child. This is what I’ve been doing every Christmas for over 30 years.

We wake up ridiculously early and get coffee/tea and a small breakfast. At home, I was the one hounding my mum to get out of bed – and I have to hound my husband too! He’d much prefer a lie-in even on Christmas Day but not me, I’d like to get up and about. Who our son takes after remains to be seen. After I’ve plied my husband with copious amounts of coffee to stir him from zombie mode, we open gifts from immediate family. When I was little, this was from my mum, then when I moved in with my husband, his gifts. Now it will be the gifts between my husband, myself and our son.

After this, we open gifts from friends and family we won’t be seeing that day who have left them under the tree, and I take this time to text everyone to wish them a Merry Christmas and thank them for gifts as it’s now reasonable o-clock. Next up – walk the dog. This is really important to us and she gets a long walk on Christmas Day. The park is always full of families either with their dogs or out with their kids, trying out new bikes and skateboards or running around working off that extra energy. I find on Christmas Day everyone is smiling and happy, everyone says Merry Christmas or good morning to strangers and I wish it could be like that every day!

By now it’s around 11am and we go to my uncle’s house. When I was little, this was my grandmothers house. My uncle is disabled and lived with my grandmother and after she passed away, I still kept up the tradition of going to visit him. This is really important to me as he’s a wonderful man but can’t get out of the house by himself. A lot of my family shocked me after my grandmother passed away – they basically forget he exists, and never visit him, which I don’t understand at all, but perhaps that’s a rant for another day. I make him up a hamper every year and he loves trying out new foods and looking through all the little luxury things he couldn’t stretch his disability payments to get usually.

Then it’s FOOD TIME… well, soon. I love turkey and Christmas Dinner so I’m always excited by this point. We head to my mum’s (who lives a few minutes from my uncle), and I’ll spend the next few hours cooking in the kitchen. The house and garden will be filled with horrifically tacky Christmas lights, statues, and decorations, but it makes my mum happy, and part of the tradition is grimacing as we walk past each garish abomination and listen to the terrible noises they make. It really is not to my taste at all, but whatever makes her smile is fine with me.

It’s not until well after the meal, usually around 4-5pm that we sit down and open gifts from my mum and then usually head home, over-full and full of smiles, around 7-8pm, to play with our new gadgets and watch a movie. When I was a child we had lunch at my grandmothers and opened gifts to / from her after this, and I realize that my son will grow up experiencing the exact same Christmas Day each year as I did. Since my husbands family are American and live many thousands of miles away and have never suggested spending Christmas together, it’s really my family traditions that dominate.

That being said, now we do have a child, we may in the future make some new traditions and incorporate our American relatives into the mix. It doesn’t have to stay the same, because at the end of the day my main Family Tradition is just to spend time with your loved ones, relax and spread happiness where you can. We can do that anywhere, so who knows what the future will bring!

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