My favourite things about Christmas are the build up, the anticipation and the traditions. Tom and I have never spent a Christmas together in 9 years, each preferring our own family Christmases and being too far apart to do both! With our baby due any day now we know that Christmas will look very different next year, so I thought I’d just document some of the things I love about our family Christmasses.
We might be in our 20s, but my sister and I are still very much children at Christmas time! I know that will all change when the baby is here so we’ll be soaking it up one last time.
Christmas Eve day is usually spent delivering and collecting last minute cards and presents, usually from Gran and Grandad’s house. In recent years a Christmas Costa cup and a mad dash to M&S have also been involved. Oh and ‘will you buy your mum something from me’… Then in the evening I help mum with some tidying and dinner. We sometimes pop out for a Christmas drink and Zöe goes out out. I like to read The Night Before Christmas to Harriet Pug and light my Christmas Eve candle. We watch some TV and follow Santa on the Santa tracker whilst tucking into some quality street. I stay up to help mum with all of the last few things right up until she plays Santa, there can be no peeking for that part!
Dad wakes us up these days and I go through to Zöe to drag her out of bed. Then we head down to the front room to see if Santa has been, checking the stockings on our bedroom door for the obligatory satsuma on the way. It’s really not about the presents but this still feels oh so magical.
The four of us (and now Harriet pug too) all get a sack of presents in our specific place and settle down with a drink to start opening. There’s no eating breakfast or getting dressed first in this house!
We have Sunday brunch, or a new Christmas film or CD on in the background and pop out to occasionally check on lunch. Then we have breakfast. Dippy eggs and soldiers for me please!
About 4 years ago Mum and Dad suggested going out for our Christmas lunch. I wasn’t having any of this break in tradition! So I offered to cook and have done each year since. Once even making 3 different options, Turkey for me and Mum, beef for Dad who doesn’t like turkey and Quorn for Zöe who’s a vegetarian. Pigs in blankets are always the highlight though!
Each year the extended family fight to be the ones to have Gran and Grandad over. When we’re the winning house someone goes to get them whilst lunch is cooking. This used to be me. During this time we all get dressed and ready too, and usually eat some festive treats. We call the relatives we’re not spending the day with to wish them a Merry Christmas and thank them for our gifts.
We sit together in the dining room with a Christmas CD and crackers to eat out lunch. Smoked salmon and prawns to start followed by Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. Including peas. You have to have peas.
We’re usually too full for dessert so this waits until a little later. We like to have a walk around the block (Christmas onesies optional…) then we retire to the sofas for the Queen’s speech then a Christmas film; and usually an accidental nap too. We have also been known to take a family selfie…
The evening often involves preparing something for Boxing Day, when the whole of Mum’s side of the family get together, at a different house each year. Then more food (hello Christmas dinner sandwiches) and festive specials on TV.
It’s strange to think that Christmasses won’t be quite the same after this year, and may not even be spent all together. Even more reason to soak up every last second of these traditions and appreciate the time spent together. We weren’t sure how this Christmas would go, if snow would leave me stranded in Sheffield like it did for Mum’s Birthday, or if baby Welbank would make an early appearance. Then Mum goes and gives us all a scare by having to go into the hospital for tests on the evening of the 22nd and being kept in for 24 hours. So this Christmas Eve there has been less rushing around or worrying about everything being perfect. We’re just happy to have us all together.
However you spend your Christmas, I hope it’s magical and filled with love.