I love Christmas, it is my favourite time of year. My friends joke that my countdown to Christmas starts on Boxing Day! This holly, jolly spirit has stayed with me through working both days and nights over the festive period since I qualified in 2006. This year, thanks to a change in my job circumstances, I am off and able to celebrate with the twins and my family. I am very excited to be able to start new traditions with Biscuit and Cracker, continue ones Rob and I have formed over our years together and rejuvenate ones from my childhood.
When I look back on Christmases past, there is a warm glow surrounding all those things that we did every year, things that meant Christmas to me. There were the small, but important, things like watching ‘Muppets Christmas Carol’ and ‘Santa Claus, the movie’ until we knew all the words, driving round the neighbourhood to see the lights and decorations, going to Carol Services at church and spending hours scouring the Argos catalogue to see what we might put on Christmas lists.
Now, what I am about to reveal my shock you- I did not have a chocolate advent calendar until I was at university. Mum and Dad are traditionalists and we were taught the ‘reason behind the season’ instead of focusing on the commercial aspect. Of course every year we were disappointed, but looking back it makes sense- what does Hello Kitty or Peppa Pig really have to do with Christmas? Our way of counting down advent was having an Advent Candle. I still use one and the twins like watching the flickering light, even if the meaning behind it isn’t obvious to them!
I am a big fan of decorating the house in preparation for Christmas, although having a tree went out the window when we got the kitties (I’ve even given up attempting as every year it still gets climbed and destroyed). Having mobile toddlers also throws in a safety aspect of sparkling and very breakable decorations within their reach. Trust me, there are things that you can do if you can’t have a tree- we hang the decorations off the ceiling so you can see them but they are well out of the way of little hands and paws! We have a felt tree on the wall and lights in the window. It feels very cosy and festive!
Last year, when the twins were less than five months old we started a family tradition of going to meet Father Christmas at Harrods. Yes, they were incredibly young and will have no recollection of it whatsoever but we have a lovely family picture of the event and this is something we will do every year to build up the photo collection for them to look back on. We’re booked to go next week and I, for one, am super excited. Going to somewhere like Harrods to do this is fantastic- they really know how to pull out all the stops and make it magical. I was amazed at the library style queuing area with story screens and Christmas fragrance.
In Italy, where Rob is from, they don’t leave anything out for Father Christmas or Rudolph (it’s so interesting looking into traditions from other countries) but this is something we always did and will continue to do with the twins. Of course, you don’t need anything specific to do this, a plate with mince pies and a carrot next to a glass of something warming is all that’s necessary. Having said that, to make more of this tradition, there are things you can get. We found a fantastic little company called ‘Gift Maid – Bespoke Hampers, Nappy Cakes and More’ on Facebook who make fantastic personalised plates that your little ones can put out every year for the man himself. I love our plate, which has just arrived in the post and is sitting waiting for the 24th!
Being our family, there are also many traditions surrounding the food and drink that we’ll have on Christmas Day. We are trying to incorporate Italian traditions into our meal (my mum has already got the Panettone in) but I don’t think I will ever be able to swap our roast turkey or goose for the lasagna that Rob grew up having in December 25th!
The whole families stockings are already up and waiting for Christmas Eve (including a little one for our remaining fur-baby), Biscuit and Cracker are dancing to one of my many Christmas CDs and there is a smell of Christmas cookies from our candles (you didn’t think I actually have time to really bake some did you). Christmas starts early in our house and the build-up can be as fun and as exciting as the day itself.
What are your traditions?