It Wouldn’t be Christmas Without …Traditions

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.

It Wouldn't Be Christmas Without

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.

Cotehele Garland

Photograph kindly provided by the National Trust

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?

Stevie x

*I was not compensated in any way to write this post, I just love the National Trust and Christmas!*



  1. Robyn
    29 November 2015 / 9:12 am

    You’re so lucky that you still have your Grandparents around while your boys grow up! Our boy has just turned 1 so we haven’t had much chance to begin any new family traditions for Christmas yet. As a child I loved Christmas Eve – putting out the biscuits and milk for Santa, and watching his progress across the world on TV.

    • 29 November 2015 / 11:27 am

      I have two Grandads and one Nan still, so very lucky. Aw aged 1 means you have all the traditions and Christmas fun to come for years :)

      Stevie x

  2. 29 November 2015 / 10:51 am

    Our Christmas sounds very similar to yours – new pyjamas, hot chocolates, family film – although it is Muppet Christmas Carol every year! I buy a little present specifically for my daughter to open on Christmas Eve and wrap it in tissue paper along with a bag of mini marshmallows (for the hot choc, obviously!) and her new pyjamas.

    We always watch Christmas Day Doctor Who and at some point on the day, we spend some time on video chat with family as we live far away from them.

    • 29 November 2015 / 11:32 am

      We always watch Doctor Who as well, and I love the Eastenders special as well :) Really is my favourite time of year!

      Stevie x

  3. 29 November 2015 / 1:49 pm

    Christmas my favourite time of the year!

    Tradition for me is coming home to Cornwall and spending the day with my parents, brother and visiting my gran. We always start the day with Buck’s Fizz and salmon and stockings happen before breakfast but presents aren’t to be opened till everyone is spruced up in their best clothes and then my brother hands them out one by one so we can all enjoy seeing what each person has received. I really like it as it makes the day last longer. In the last few years we now go and visit my gran after breakfast too so lunch happens around 4pm.

    Everyone in silly hats and we always sing ‘we wish you a merry Christmas – bring us some figgy pudding’ while mum lights the Christmas pud. We always say what we have been thankful for that year and what we are looking forward to next year.

    After that it’s getting cosy and napping.

    I’m excited just at the thought of it, same traditions every year. It’s the best!

    Enjoy yours x

    • 29 November 2015 / 11:42 pm

      Aw that sounds lovely, I can imagine my boys faces if they had to wait til after lunch for their presents though ;) It may be like that when they’re a lot older though!

      Stevie x

  4. 29 November 2015 / 7:59 pm

    What a lovely Christmassy post! Too old for Father Christmas?! Oh no!! I’m dreading that day :( sounds like you have such lovely family traditions, it’s great making them isn’t it? I’m so looking forward to Christmas this year! X

    • 29 November 2015 / 11:40 pm

      I keep telling them even I’m not too old for Father Christmas ;) It’s my favourite time of year and I can;t wait!

      Stevie x

  5. 30 November 2015 / 7:06 am

    Awww lovely traditions! We don’t have any traditions yet but we started the idea last year of letting Little Miss choose a new Christmas bauble every year and we’ll continue this year. Also we’re going to do a Christmas Eve box – new pyjamas or Christmas jumper, some sweeties and some crayons (or something!).

    That National Trust photo is pretty awesome! We’ve not visited any National Trust properties this year – I think we may be more “Cadw” people rather than Trust people! (Cade operate the castles in Wales). We are going to visit Llechwedd Slate Caverns (or Bounce Below as it’s now called) to see Santa. That was a bit of a tradition when I was growing up.

    • 30 November 2015 / 10:24 am

      I’ve never been to Wales, but I love castles so if we ever do I’ll be asking you for recommendations for definite!

      Stevie x

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