Since getting married, Jared and I have always managed to see both our families on Christmas Day. They don’t live super close, but neither of us can give them up – yet! We spend Christmas Eve with my family, Christmas Day half and half, then Boxing Day with Jared’s family, so overall it works quite well. We’re not ready to host our own little Christmas, but I’m starting to understand the appeal of waking up in our own house, just the the four of us. A tradition Jared and I are starting this year is our children opening their stockings first thing on our bed. Something he did as child, which I really love the idea of!
My Mum makes a lot of effort to make her home festive, provide gorgeous food and plenty of plans to spend quality time together. She also plans lovely things for the grandchildren, which she gets more and more excited about each year. It was tricky getting this snap at the weekend. We’ve recently updated our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day schedule to make it more convenient for everybody. This has made me realise that it’s fine to update traditions…what’s the point in having traditions if they don’t maximise enjoyment?
The action starts on Christmas Eve.
The festivities start with Christmas dinner in the evening whilst wearing Christmas jumpers, of course! Dinner is followed by excessive amounts of singing around the piano…we take it in turns playing the piano. A cello, a saxophone and a violin are usually about and if I’m feeling generous I get my oboe out. We then exchange sibling and cousin secret santa presents and watch “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Some of us go to midnight mass at the local Minster, but some of us stay at home and eat more food…then we have a sleepover. Everybody in the house is welcome – not everybody comes, but it’s a tradition that still attracts at least ten people. Last year was the first one I missed, as I was super pregnant. My husband still finds it a bit weird that a bunch of 15-30+ year olds have a sleepover on Christmas Eve, but I love it. The bonus of having six younger siblings is that you have an excuse to keep childish traditions (that would normally be unacceptable for grown adults) going for years and years!
At 7am we are usually all awake and we sit on the stairs in age order until everybody is ready. My Dad stands at the bottom of the stairs and films us as we excitedly run down. I’m not too proud of what happens next – there is no organisation or procedure, we just start opening our presents that have been put in lovely neat piles. My Mum and Dad watch us open ours and then we watch them open theirs. We eat breakfast (or just chocolate) and most of us go to church. After church we play with our new toys and go on a walk if we fancy it. Lunch is a very relaxed buffet with the likes of salmon, cheese, crackers and chutney. Jared and I leave about 2pm and drive to his parents – where the excitements starts all over again.
What Christmas traditions do you have and love?