It’s not quirky… it’s tradition..!

Funny what December does to people, isn’t it? We see the best and worst of people over the Christmas season and I find that fascinating. As I’ve mentioned before we’ve tried to get away over Christmas every couple of years and sometimes we’ve gone with family and other times, like last year, with friends. Sometimes, it’s just us… our little gang of four. But you know, they’ve all been brilliant times in brilliant locations and sometimes – as in North Wales in 2004, we’ve had snow ON CHRISTMAS DAY!!! Could it get any better?!

Capel Garmon, Christmas Day 2004

Capel Garmon, Christmas Day 2004

Having said in previous posts that I have mixed feelings about the build up to Christmas, I am a bit of a traditionalist in some ways when it comes to Christmas Day. If you think about ti, you take in adulthood some of the traditions you had a child and then bringing those into a relationship means combining two sets of family traditions and from there you kind of create your, unique, quirky take on ‘doing the Christmas thing’!!

My parents didn’t put gifts under the tree when we were kids until we’d gone to bed on Christmas Eve, that way, waking up in the morning you really KNEW he’d been! I know other friends who put family gifts under the tree as they come into the house and only Father Christmas presents arrive overnight on the 25th… I still put all the gifts away, out of sight and everything comes out overnight, so when we get up in the morning… BOOM!! See… he did visit! The Hub’s family had a tradition of having a ‘Tree Present’ – something small, that sat in the tree and would be opened later in the day…. it’s not something we really carried on every year – but we do it sometimes.

So it got me thinking about those little quirks  traditions that the Christmas season brings out in or family!

  1. We always have the televised Carol Service on in the background as we sort the last of the presents on Christmas Eve and almost always, we’ll have mulled wine, while we do!
  2. The Polar Express can only be watched before Christmas Day – it doesn’t have the same impact afterwards!! It’s on our Sky Planner – that’s a must for Christmas Eve this year!!
  3. The Hub ALWAYS goes for a run on Christmas morning – wherever we are – he says he likes the quietness and he loves exploring new places. (I think he does it to string out the present opening!)
  4. Stockings are opened on our bed, once both the children are awake, but these days a time limit of 8am has been set… but to be fair, you try getting a teenager and pre-teen up before then!
  5. Stockings always have a choc from the tub and a satsuma (as well as the other gifts)
  6. Stocking gifts are always from Father Christmas and he always knows what little things the children like/need in terms of sprays, hair products and stationery! They are always wrapped in different paper to everything else and never have name labels on, because he KNOWS what belongs to who!
  7. Presents under the tree can’t be opened until everyone is washed, dressed, breakfasted (run is done) and everything sorted. I took a bit of stick for this on social media last week – but it stems from my parents not even letting us in the living room to see the tree/presents until all that was done, when I was a child! (Also, and without meaning to offend anyone… I’d like the day to last as long as possible and not be over in a mass of rollwrap and boxes by 7am!) It works for us and isn’t that all that matters….?
  8. Christmas lunch is turkey and all the trimmings… this must include sprouts (which I hate). I always look a bit daft going into the green grocers and literally buying 6!!!

(Last year we broke our own tree rule and purchased an artificial tree for the first time EVER and you know what… this year, I can’t wait to put it up, without the mess, the heaving of the pot through the house and best of all…. no mess when we take it down!)


I asked the same question of friends recently and as ever, it’s great to hear what things people do, unique to them over the Christmas period.

  • My neighbour Claire wraps 24 books for her daughter, one for each day of Advent, which they read together each day…. I just LOVE this idea and wish I’d done the same when the children were younger.
  • Our friend Michelle says: ‘We open stockings and then have bath/shower get dressed and then go down stairs and open presents one at a time to watch everyone open their presents. Then the kids play whilst we make bacon sarnies and have Buck’s Fizz and then all have bacon sarnies together and off to visit the grandparents.’
  • This one from my dad does not surprise me.. Sausage sandwiches were a tradition at home when we were kids – nice to see somethings don’t change: ‘Take the dog out for a walk, then home to dry off, it always rains, before I have a sausage sandwich for breakfast. Then open presents. Walk to pub for a swift pint or three.’
  • Family friend Alison says presents are opened after lunch and they ‘…Like to watch each person open there present and enjoy and recognise what it is. Play games as well the louder the better!’
  • An old student of mine said they can’t wait and the presents get opened early on in the morning… ‘Once everyone is awake we open all presents before breakfast. Start with our stockings and then onto main presents.’

I promised that I would revisit some of my posts from Advent last year…. I like this one HERE

Take a look and enjoy the links to some amazing advertising campaigns of the past!!

In the meantime – do let me know in the usual way about the little quirks that make your Christmas just that little bit special. I love hearing from you!

MJ xx

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