Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Traditionally Ours

We have lots of Christmas traditions, many of which I have carried on from my own childhood but some that we have started together and that I hope my children will one day continue with their own kids (many many many years from now!). There is no such thing as 'the perfect Christmas' but this is what makes ours special to us.

On December 1st, we put up our Christmas decorations. To some that may seem early, but we mark the first day of Advent by doing so as well as opening the first window on our calendars, and we sit and watch a festive film together when we're done. This year the boys chose Elf which is a firm favourite in our house (and one they will still be quoting well into the new year). Putting it up on December 1st also sets the mood for the month, I don't want them to think Christmas is a chore for the Mister & I, not putting the tree up until the last minute and then taking it down as soon as we can. I want to make it as enjoyable as I can for them and if that means having a six foot tree and a few miles worth of garlands, paper chains and strings of plastic beads festooning the living room for a month then so be it. When they're all grown up and gone it will be a quieter affair, so for now we are going to enjoy it while it lasts.

Throughout December we try and fit in crafty things, whether it is making paper chains or tree decorations, baking Christmassy treats or making and gift wrapping presents and writing our cards, we make the effort to do something one or two times a week in the run up to Christmas day. I saw a graphic doing the rounds this week that says "Sometimes we're all too quick to count down the days that we forget to make the days count" which are my thoughts exactly.
On Christmas Eve, we get up and have a decadent family breakfast of pancakes and waffles with various toppings, and spend the day watching movies (Home Alone 1 & 2 are good ones, and my kids are huge Jim Carrey fans & absolutely love The Grinch) and getting the last few bits & pieces ready for the next day. In the afternoon we bake our chocolate candy cane cookies together and then decorate our home-made Gingerbread house with treats and goodies, so that we can break bits off to munch over the following few days! I set up the table with bowls full of sweets and icing and let them get on with it. It's not always the prettiest or neatest house but they have a great time making it and an even better time eating it and that's what is important.

Later that evening we enjoy a Mexican buffet dinner of chicken fajitas, quesadillas and tortillas with some delicious desserts, before heading upstairs to have baths & showers ready for bed time. During bathtime, we are visited by the Elves (and it cannot possibly be the Mister or myself, because we are both upstairs bathing the kids...) who leave a present for each of the children under the tree, as well as one that looks suspiciously like it could be a DVD... Previous years titles have included Inkheart, the Harry Potter boxset and Mr Popper's Penguins. This year it *might* be Arthur Christmas, I think I heard an Elf mention something about it...


The present that the Elves leave under the tree is a brand new pair of PJs each for the kids to wear to bed on Christmas Eve, this is a tradition carried on from my own childhood, mum & dad always got us new jammies to wear to bed so it's one that I have been keen to keep going and is very important to me. This year the Elves are bringing onesies for all of them, because we thought it would be rather amusing. The Elves also leave a present on the kitchen table, of hot chocolate stirrers and brand new Disney mugs featuring their favourite characters to have their bedtime drink in while they eat the cookies they baked that afternoon.
After the movie, we set out mince pies and carrots for Father Christmas & his reindeer before everyone hangs up their stocking and settles down to sleep for the night, ready for the next morning when they will wake up (bright & early no doubt) to see what Father Christmas has left under the tree!

With less than a week to go, are you all ready for Christmas? What are your Christmas traditions?

Why not head over to the BritMums blog and link up your Christmas posts, too!

12 comments:

Nichola said...

This is lovely, I think building warm loving traditions like this are vital. They make Christmas much more than just presents on one day.
Mine are still a bit young to totally understand, but I've started to do things like this anyway. I want them to have warm, happy Christmas memories, to carry into life.
I like to get our decorations up for the month too :)

Japolina said...

Love your family traditions. Happy Holidays

Joanna Henley said...

The Xmas eve pajama drop off by the elves happens in this house too!! A tradition that we started with our children. Funnily enough I've heard a rumour about onesies in this house too, hmmmm those cheeky elves! xx

SarahMummy said...

That sounds pretty perfect to me! Makes me think I should chill out and get less stressed! I love your pyjamas idea. We always take a photo of the kids in their jamas in front of the tree on Xmas Eve. I like them to wear newish ones, but had never thought of buying them specially!

Mama Owl said...

I completely agree, when they're all grown up they will remember the traditions and time shared more than the presents and that's what is really important x

Mama Owl said...

Thank you Japolina x

Mama Owl said...

It's got to be done! I can't wait to see my five onesied up ready for Father Christmas haha! X

Mama Owl said...

Dual purpose, nice new jammies as a Christmas present and looks nice for pics ;) win/win! I have pics like that of my kids starting back in... 2003? I think, maybe even before, I've put them on the front of our Christmas photobooks from years past :) x

Laura-Faerie said...

Your Christmas traditions really are the 'perfect' Christmas, for me. As you say, everyone's idea of perfect is different, but those are exactly the sorts of things I want to do for Ethan (And whoever else comes along, doesn't come along etc lol)

I already do the pyjamas, and this year I bought him a dvd too (Didn't know you did that, as well, very pleased to have thought of one of your ideas myself, means I might have hope yet ;) )

The rest of it is a little much for Ethan, yet. But every year I'll introduce stuff until we've built our own idea of perfect =)

Hope you all have a lovely time, again, this year xx

TheBoyandMe said...

Popping over from Britmums' linky.

This year is the first year that I've given The Boy pyjamas, they were left for him by our Elf when he left. We also watch a special DVD but it's always 'The Polar Express'.

Hope you had a fabulous Christmas.

SarahMummy said...

I read this last year and I was in awe! I just can't do Christmas like you. I like the sound of new pyjamas, but I know my husband would just say 'get enough presents on Christmas Day, don't need any more pyjamas' etc etc. I'm a bit of a Scrooge, but he's worse! We always have a bedtime photo in front of the tree on Christmas Eve though!

Cate, Me add three said...

Aah this sounds so wonderful, it's the traditions that make a family Christmas so special. I love the sound of this waffles on Christmas Eve! #ChristmasCountdown

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