This will be our fourth Christmas as a family. We are starting to form our own little traditions and routines at Christmas. This is the first year Harrison has really understood what it is all about so it has been important to work out and agree on how we will do things.
This year is thrown out a bit by the arrival of Benjamin, but we are trying to get back to normality (whatever that is!) as soon as possible!
I guess like lots of people, the way we do things has been influenced by our own childhoods, and that’s very much the case with us.
When I was growing up, we used to put the decorations up on the first Sunday on December, This was usually an all day affair, with my mum and dad getting tipsy on sherry and the christmas CD playing. Up until this year, we have also put ours up on the first weekend of the month. This year we put it up mid week as Benjamin decided to interrupt that plan!
We will take the boys to see Santa. We haven’t got a regular pace to go – this year it may just be one at the school fayre as we don’t have a car to go anywhere too far, but as long as they see one that is the main thing. Harrison knows who Santa is and what he does. Alex points ‘Tanta’ out but I’m not sure he understands the whole present thing just yet!
Last year, the kids had new pyjamas to open and wear on Christmas Eve, and this is something we are doing again this year. We have a lovely box which I’m going to pop them in. In the box will be stuff to make hot chocolate (some marshmallows, squirty cream, hot chocolate etc), and some Reindeer Food to sprinkle outside. This year we are really lucky that we have a beautiful real fire place with a chimney for Santa to come down so we will leave a mince pie, glass of milk and carrot out for Santa and his reindeer on there.
We have hung stockings up on the fireplace but this is more for decoration – we haven’t bought any ‘stocking fillers’. I think by doing that there is the temptation to buy lots of little bits that they don’t need. I’d rather spend the money on their main presents. We will put their presents in the lounge in piles – as a child I always understood that my mum and dad chose and paid for all our presents, which were then sent to Santa to look after. This is exactly what we will do with the boys. Their main gift is a big wooden kitchen between them, which obviously won’t be wrapped, but with the rest of their presents we will encourage them to take it in turns in opening them. Graham and me have agreed not to buy for each other, but will hopefully get the chance to go out for a meal together in the new year as our present to each other.
Gifts from family and friends (apart from my parents and brothers) go under the tree, and they get opened after breakfast. At home, we used to always have smoked salmon, scrambled egg and toast, with a cheeky glass of Bucks Fizz or Champagne. I would love to do this, but I’m the only one who likes it so it would be a waste. I think this year we are going to get some croissants for Christmas breakfast.
Once the presents are all opened and we are dressed and ready (which with three kids is going to take forever!) we will go over to my mum and dads for the rest of the day. When we are there, the kids will open their presents off nanny and grandad, and their uncles and aunties, and we will open ours. From then on the day will be the kids playing with their new toys and the rest of us eating and drinking and having fun. My mum always cooks a lovely big Christmas dinner, and there is always chocolate to hand. On the evening she does a little (huge!) buffet which we all eat far too much of, before we then head home.
What are your Christmas traditions?