The lovely people at the National Trust recently asked me ‘what it wouldn’t be Christmas without…’ for me. My first answer was ‘family’, but then I thought that’s just too obvious and a major part of Christmas for most lucky people. So for me it wouldn’t be Christmas without traditions.
By traditions I don’t mean traditions as in generations old traditions, or even a traditional Christmas, but our own personal family traditions. I’m sure many of you have your own traditions, so feel free to comment below with them, as I’d love to hear about them.
As a child, I used to go to my Grandparents with my sisters and often our cousins for the day on Christmas Eve, which I always loved. Every year I take my boys to see them with me in the week before Christmas, and they love playing games with my Grandad Pete. He taught all of the other generations of the family to cheat at all sorts of games over the years, and has done the same with the boys.
There are usually hysterics as they try to hide dominoes or cards in their pockets and get caught. My Nan also bought a Bagatelle for them all to play which they love, and I get to enjoy a cuppa and a chat with my Nan mostly in peace.
I also love taking the boys to see Father Christmas somewhere – although apparently they are too old for this now sadly. We will still be visiting a few National Trust places though, as I love seeing the houses decked out for Christmas. This year, I especially want to go to Cotehele, as they have the most beautiful garland there at the moment.
Even though we won’t be seeing Father Christmas this year – though I may convince them yet – I’m looking forward to doing Christmas trails with them at National Trust properties (our membership we bought earlier this year has been brilliant), and doing our usual Christmas lights spotting.
Every year we spend one evening driving around locally when it’s dark, to look at Christmas lights on people’s houses – the only time of year when it’s deemed okay to drive around staring at other people’s houses intently, the rest of the year we’d just look a bit odd!
At home, most of our traditions are to do with Christmas Eve, one of my favourite days of the year. Every year for Christmas Eve the boys have new pyjamas to put on in the evening, and once they are bathed and ready in their new cosy pyjamas they are allowed to choose one Christmas present to open.
If they have a big main present that year, then they aren’t allowed to choose that one, but other than that they can choose which ever present they like. This has always worked well to actually get them in to pyjamas and vaguely thinking about sleep each year! The one present on Christmas Eve thing is something I was always allowed to do as a child as well, so I like that I’ve carried on this tradition.
After the present opening, we have a snuggly evening with hot chocolates, home-made biscuits and a family film. Just a perfect family evening really.
Our Christmas day is pretty traditional, the boys open their stocking on our bed. Slightly untraditionally for others, they eat some chocolate from their stockings before we open the rest of the presents. This is because excitement can make his blood glucose levels plummet, so he needs a boost first thing.
Then it’s phone calls to family to say thank you, lunch, Christmas day television and board games. Si tries to sneak a nap in somewhere if we let him.
It really is my favourite time of year, not because of the presents, but because of seeing the boys faces in the morning, seeing how much they love Christmas Eve and Christmas day, and just having that perfect family time.
Do you have any traditions that you follow at Christmas time? What’s your favourite part of Christmas?
*I was not compensated in any way to write this post, I just love the National Trust and Christmas!*