Family Christmas Traditions

Now that it is December, I can start to get into Christmas mode! Yippee! I love this time of year and now that we have 2 young children it is going to be even more magical. One of the great things about being a grown-up is that we can start our own traditions for our family, but also combine our favourite things from each of our backgrounds. We both have English parents, so the traditions are very similar, but even so each family does things slightly differently. Thr trick is trying to remember what we told the girls last year and sticking to it!

We are not a religious household, but we are well aware of the significance of the season and are respectful of the beliefs of others. I offer no apologies for the lack of church activities here, but if this bothers you, please look away!

These are some aspects of our Christmas traditions.

1) Writing a letter to Santa

Last year, when our older daughter was 3, we wrote a letter to Santa on the computer and mailed it at the local mall. The girls like to look at Santa, but they don’t want to get too close yet. Pip says she will be brave enough when she is 5. In last year’s letter she asked for a mermaid outfit and dress up shoes (the year before it was a blue dinosaur and a green dinosaur). The highlight of the letter was this “I have a baby sister. She is called Milly and she is too little to write, but I think she would like a pretend reindeer with a pretend reindeer nose.”

2) Leaving snacks for Santa and his reindeer

We always leave snacks, of course. Even when my brothers were too old to believe, we still left snacks. To be honest, I even left snacks when I was grown-up, living on my own and didn’t have children! Traditionally for us, it is a mince pie or cookie and a glass of milk for Santa and some carrots for the reindeer. Last year Santa left footprints on the hearth (flour on a boot!), so we have already been told this year that we may have to clean the carpet. That girl has a great memory, which makes it very difficult to buy things for her. It is no good buying something in June and thinking she will forget about it by Christmas. She doesn’t. Anything from Santa has to be bought when she is at preschool. Which reminds me that we have to find a better hiding place….

Mum even brought some deer poo to leave on the deck to prove that the reindeer had been here. Now that is dedication to a story! She also bought a set of bells and my husband stood out in the dark garden jingling them so P. could hear that Santa was nearby.

3) Stockings

In our house, now, Santa does the stockings. We do the presents, but he is in charge of the stockings. Traditionally for us, the stockings contain an activity of some kind, underwear, chocolate, toiletries such as bubble bath or bath pearls, a book and the all-important mandarin.

4) Christmas morning

We, by which I mean the children, as we decided there was too much excess and the adults didn’t need a stocking, open the stockings and the grown ups drink Buck’s Fizz and eat chocolates. We then have breakfast, still dressed in our jammies, before getting back upstairs to open pressies. We used to do it slowly and take turns, but we are more go-with-the-flow now and fit in with the pace of the children. Occasionally we take a break so I can check on Christmas dinner.

5) Christmas dinner

We have our big meal at about 1pm. This came about a few years ago when I took over the cooking and hosting. The alternative was having to be thinking about it all day, everyone stuffing themselves with chocolate and falling asleep in the afternoon, while I still had to cook. This way, the prep gets done early in the morning, the chickens are cooking while we open presents and we all get a proper meal. Yes, we have chicken. No one is fond of turkey, so we don’t have it. This may have something to do with having a restaurant for many years and having to serve turkey all month!

Once lunch is over and cleared away, we relax, open presents if there are any left, watch Christmas movies, play with toys and fall asleep. In the evening we usually have a hot and cold buffet of appetizers, sliced meats, cheese, crackers, sushi and fruit.

Time’s up! The children are stirring. So much for cutting out a dress this morning! I will edit this later and add a little more.

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~ by Pip 'n' Milly Creations on December 1, 2008.

2 Responses to “Family Christmas Traditions”

  1. Advent calendars are one of my favorite holiday traditions (well, that and eggnog).

    In addition to my Trader Joe’s chocolate one, I’m doing my own Web 2.0 advent calendar here: http://urbzen.com/urbzen-2008-advent-calendar/

  2. Oh yes! When we were children, our friend’s Mum used to send us an advent calendar from Scotland. It was the plain version with just a picture behind the door, but for us it was incredibly exciting, especially the 24th, as there were sparkles on the door. We have drifted quite a way from that simple calendar and now have a 5″ high advent tree which my brother built some years ago. There are 24 hooks and handmade fabric bags for holding whatever goodies Mum has found for the girls.
    I haven’t had eggnog for years. Maybe this is the year to start again!

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