My favourite thing about Christmas, aside from having extended time off work, is spending it relaxing with my friends and family. It represents some well-deserved time off work filled with delicious food, drink and lots of lovely company. Is there anything better?
And I love that every family has its little rituals of things they do. These are the things that make Christmas what it is.
As our families are 100 miles apart, I normally spend Christmas Day at my mum’s house in Northampton, Rob spends it with his mum in Sussex, and then we both join up together in the evening. It’s a compromise that means we both get to see our families but spend a bit of time in the evening together too.
On Christmas Eve the centre of my parents’ village closes for the evening so that hundreds of people can all stand together in the streets, wrapped up warm, singing carols. It really helps to make you feel festive! When we’d return home when I was little, we’d leave out a mince pie, carrot and glass of milk for Father Christmas and Rudolph. (Poor other reindeer had to go hungry!)
Regrettably I’m too old for a visit from Father Christmas now, but when I was younger I’d wake up on Christmas morning (no doubt excruciatingly early) to find a pillow case full of presents wrapped in Disney wrapping paper. My brother and I would go up to our parents’ room, or down to the living room and excitedly tear them all open at lightning speed.
Afterwards, we’d all open our presents from family with a Christmas CD playing in the background. One of my favourite Christmas songs is still Fairytale of New York, it never ages! And we always got – and still get – a Terry’s chocolate orange from my mum. It’s become a bit of a running joke, or a Christmas tradition if you will! It wouldn’t be Christmas without it.
Mum would also put small stockings up by the fireplace – one either side, one for me and one for my brother, which would be rammed full of chocolate bars.
We’d have to wait till the evening to open presents from extended family, as we all get together then and open them in front of each other.
We used to eat Christmas dinner at home, but we’ve started eating out instead so there’s not as much cooking and washing up to do! So we normally dress up a little bit and head out at around lunch time to a Northamptonshire pub for a roast dinner with all the trimmings.
Films and games
Later in the evening, extended family come round and we have a bit of a buffet while watching TV and playing games. Last year we played Cards Against Humanity which had us all in tears, mainly for the wrong reasons. My mum’s got an expansion pack for us so that we can play it again this year – and I’ve also bought us Speak Out, which I’m really looking forward to playing after seeing it on TV!
I think my favourite Christmas films are The Santa Claus, Elf, Love Actually and Home Alone. I watched Love Actually while I was wrapping presents last week and Home Alone is one of those films that seems to be on all year round, but I still love watching it at Christmas time!
Mum and I will often start up a jigsaw puzzle which we’ll try to complete over the Christmas period, we’ll do a bit here and there and when we need the table, it gets packed away in a special carrier mat thing (it’s flat and big enough that you can work on your jigsaw in the middle, have the pieces on the sides, and then zip it up and move it when need be without losing where you were).
What are your Christmas traditions?