Traditions in our household are melded from my own upbringing, my husbands and some which we started ourselves since having our children. It’s taken a few years to find the ones which suit our modern family and no doubt continue to adapt traditions to fit us.
Coming from a non-religious family myself, Christmas was all about family, food, TV and gifts. We’d visit grandparents but were always home for dinner and the Queen’s speech and then the afternoon was spent playing with our new gifts and napping before the Christmas TV started and left overs were brought out. Can you beat a cold turkey, stuffing, sprout and apple sauce sarnie? Just me then….lol My husband’s family did things quite differently when he was growing up. Mass on Christmas Eve was a must and everyone spent the night at his grandmother’s house from Christmas Eve until Boxing Day. TV wasn’t allowed and with near on 20-30 people coming and going, dinner needed to be more regimented, but having everyone all together sounds fantastic from a child’s perspective. Having to wait to play with your new toys must have been a challenge, but there were always games and people to play with.
When I started attending my husband’s family Christmas’ I was 20 and had a baby myself. We spent Christmas Day with my family and Boxing Day with his at his Great Aunt and Uncle’s house. This continued for a fair few years and it was nice to be able to experience the huge family gathering. Having no TV was a culture shock to me, but I see the appeal and playing card games and mass pictionary really helps when getting to know the family I was marrying into, something which you don’t really get while watching re-runs of Only Fools and Horses.
We started having Christmas Day at our own home about 8 years ago as it felt like the right thing to do for us. We now alternate between having my in-laws over to us since my sister-in-law moved to Canada and spending time with my family.
I was thinking about starting ‘Elf on the Shelf’, but perhaps next year as Penny is still a little bit young. Christmas Eve is always myself and hubby wrapping up the last of the presents and filling the stockings before bed. We always stay up just past midnight and be the first to say Merry Christmas to each other before settling down for some rest.
Now that we have Penny we plan to rekindle to Santa traditions such as leaving carrots and cookies out and Mummy and Daddy opening presents on Christmas Eve (It saves time when we want the focus to be on the little ones (and not so little ones). We ALWAYS have stockings on our bed. All the kids bring them in and we snuggle up and watch them open them. Then we all walk to the living room together so we can see their faces as they try and suss which pile is for them. I love the look of surprise and excitement as they tell each other what they got while I frantically try and note down who gave who what for the thank yous. It’s chaos but I love it!
Today’s Code word is: STAR
How did your traditions come about? Have they changed over time?