I don’t know whether it’s the memory of childhood excitement, the thought of surprises and fabulous food, or just that everything is sprinkled with glitter and festiveness, but it is magical at this time.
I recognise that those with young children have already had a week of them bouncing out of their skins (yes, I know – it’s only been a week since they broke up from school!). Many are at utter fever-pitch at this point. So this is a good time to slip into traditions – the relative calm of repetitive activities.
I’m sure we all have our Christmas traditions and many will have been handed down through the generations – adding your own individuality as you go.
We’re no different in our house. One of our favourite traditions is watching the obligatory Christmas movies. I think this tradition comes from my own mother’s need to get all the food preparation done and keep us out of the way.
Food is a huge part of our tradition too – there are certain foods I just MUST have at Christmas – and quite frankly don’t think about any other time of the year! Twiglets, sprouts, bread sauce, mince pies, Christmas cake…
Christmas Eve is when I will finally allow the family to start tucking into the secret stash of goodies ‘you can’t touch until Christmas’. It’s a bit of a snacking day for us – pork pie, sausage rolls and mince pies.
I do like to squeeze in a carol service – just a moment of stopping and remembering the true meaning of it all.
As the kids have grown older a lot of the traditions have changed. Tracking Santa with Norad, sprinkling reindeer dust on the lawn, leaving a mince pie and glass of sherry for Santa has gradually been replaced. Time for a board game or game of dominos at the local pub is a new one I hope to cherish. And then there is still the tradition of opening just one little pressie on Christmas Eve.
I might be very old fashioned with this (or maybe it’s just something I made up), but I do like to mark the twelve days of Christmas – nothing like the raucous tales of medieval and Tudor times but just a nod to mark the occasion. So on Christmas Eve, I bring fresh holly into the house to add to my already Santa’s grotto-style decorations (see my previous blog). This holly remains until Twelfth Night – 5th January. So even if the rest of my decorations come down early (although I do like to leave them up as long as possible) the holly remains until then. It can’t stay any longer though! It is bad luck to have any decorations still up after midnight on 5th January.