A ‘Traditional’ Christmas Day – Our Way
I cannot even begin to explain how much I love Christmas. I’ve always been this way; it’s such a magical time of the year for me. As a kid I would love to write my note for Santa on Christmas Eve and leave carrots for every reindeer and also a mince pie and a glass of port to keep Santa going on his travels.
The joy of opening my bedroom door the following morning and finding my giant Santa stocking filled with little presents, chocolates, books and treats always got me so excited. But for me it wasn’t, and still isn’t, just about presents.
It’s really easy with today’s consumerism to get caught up in buying things in shiny boxes. Granted, on Christmas morning there is nothing nicer for a parent to watch your little one be mesmerised with the toys and gifts they’ve wanted all year. But ever since I can remember, Christmas for me and my family, and now my very own little family, is about spending time together.
What that means for us is that no one is ever allowed to open a present from under the tree until we’ve all finished Christmas Day lunch! Yes, you did read that right. As a small child, my Santa stocking outside my room was the pre-cursor to what the rest of the day held. Once the stocking was opened it was time for breakfast and my dad would always take his time and take the longest in the shower. Before long the house was full of people, friends and family coming round for Christmas morning drinks and nibbles. The turkey would be in the oven and the house smelling delicious.
All this time, my brother and I would be entranced with the small items we had been left in the stocking, quietly sneaking a chocolate Lindt Reindeer or pinching a sip of wine out of a grown up’s glass and giggling. Then Christmas lunch would be ready and everyone would devour the gorgeous feast put in front of them. After all the plates had been put away, it was up to my dad to pass out the presents to each of us. As a result of this family ritual, every present was eagerly, yet slowly, unwrapped. Each gift treasured, every recipient excited to see what the paper held – every gift giver receiving a giant hug or a kiss. Our Christmas Day usually ends at about 8pm when all the presents are finally unwrapped – most other households I know are all done and dusted by lunchtime.
Now as a parent and a wife, I still carry on this tradition (and spookily it’s the same tradition my husband’s family held when we met). Last year even though Addison was tiny we followed the same pattern of events that I have done in my 30 plus years. Even Addison had a few presents in the morning and then we waited till after lunch to slowly bring her presents out. It was lovely to watch, as by giving her presents in stages it meant that she took longer to enjoy each gift and was more aware of the toys, books and she really had an amazing day.
This year, now she’s three we will again follow the same process and no doubt our day will end late with everyone exhausted, too full of food, too much wine had but everyone having had an absolutely fantastic family orientated day. It’s the one time of the year when we all get together and it doesn’t matter what we’ve said or done to each other throughout the year! It’s that one day together where we really do stop the clocks and take the time to enjoy the gifts we’ve all saved hard to buy, the food we’ve cooked and the company we give to each other as a family.
I would love to know if you have family Christmas traditions that make your big day together memorable. Please post a comment and share your Christmas with us all!