Recently a fellow blogger, Karla from Hands on Working Mom, decided to write about Christmas Traditions and asked for people to let them know the kinds of things that their families did around Christmas time. She received so many responses that Karla decided to split the post into two parts. You can read those here:I was lucky enough to be mentioned in Karla’s 3 part series of posts and after reading all the different things that people did, it really got me thinking about the traditions that we have as a family, including some that I didn’t realise were ‘traditions’ as we have done them for so long they have just become second nature to us.
A Trip to the Theatre
Each year, as soon as the Christmas shows start, we go to the theatre. This year we went on 26 November and saw Grease. We actually booked our tickets about six months in advance to make sure we got the best price. See my post here on 'How we saved £100 on theatre tickets' .
Christmas Light Switch On
We like to attend the Christmas Light Switch on in town each year and did this even before we had children. It usually takes place on a Sunday but this year it was moved to a weekday evening and we were, sadly, unable to go. Instead, we went in the following Saturday afternoon, once it had got dark, and had a wander around, so although we couldn’t take part in the ‘countdown to the big switch on’ we did get to walk around at our leisure and without the crowds.
Advent Calendar, Christmas Countdown and Advent Tree
We have a wooden advent calendar, which we were given as a gift around 15 years ago, which we fill with our own chocolates. We have a Christmas Countdown board, which was bought very cheaply in the sales one year, and an Advent Tree – a mini tree with mini decorations that are put on each day from 1 December.
Christmas Tree and Decorations
We like to put our tree and decorations up anytime from 1 December – this year we were a bit late doing it and only put them up on 12 December. We have an artificial tree that we put up and the kids decorate it. On our travels, we will often pick up a Christmas decoration from places that we have visited and we love the memories it brings to mind when we get these out each year.
‘Mostly’ Homemade Yule Log
I say ‘mostly’ homemade, as I cheat and buy the actual sponge roll but we (that’s my youngest and I) form this into a log shape by cutting a third off at an angle and placing the third sticking out from the side of the other two thirds. Then we melt some chocolate which we cover the chocolate roll with. It is then decorated with Christmas shaped sprinkles and some Christmas cake decorations which we have collected over the years.
Mince Pie for Santa and a Carrot for Rudolph
Since the kids were born, we have been putting out a mince pie and a carrot on Christmas Eve. Even though they are much older now and know all about Santa (cough, cough) we still do this.
Santa’s Magic Key
Although we have a chimney and two fireplaces, they are both boarded up. For this reason we purchased a ‘magic key’ which we hang outside the front door on Christmas Eve. This key works its magic by allowing Santa, and only Santa (the magic won’t work for anyone else) to unlock the door, so that he can bring the presents in safely!
Christmas Eve Decoration Walk
On Christmas Eve we like to go and see the decorations again – either in the town or locally.
Christmas Eve Goodies
We stock up on nibbles and chocolates throughout the run up to Christmas but put these away (otherwise they would be eaten very quickly!) where they can’t be seen. We save them until Christmas Eve when we like to set them out on a kitchen counter, which we have covered with a Christmas cloth, for everyone to help themselves.
On the day we take down the decorations we like to each write a short note which is kept private and stored with the decorations until the following year. When the decorations come out the following year, we each take it in turns to read the note from the year before. Our notes usually contain things like what we enjoyed most about Christmas, what our hopes and dreams are for the coming year (for the kids, this usually involves the performance of our local football team) and anything else we want to remember the next year. This has been a great source of enjoyment over the years, particularly as the kids are often amazed at how their writing skills have changed over the course of the year and how funny some of the things they write are compared to how they feel as a year older.
Like I said, I never realised exactly how many traditions we had. Some of these are new to our family and some are things that both my husband and I did when we were children. It would be nice to think that some will be carried over into our kids’ families in the future.
What are your Christmas traditions?