With just over a week left until the big day, our thoughts have turned to some of our favourite memories and the festive rituals that we look forward to every year which make Christmas feel extra-special…
The biggest tradition in our household is that everyone gets up early doors and we all pile into the main bedroom with cups of tea and coffee (some have nips of whisky in them!). Then we all pile on and around the bed to open the presents together, taking it in turns to give them out. It’s difficult for new people on the scene as they just have to get in their PJ’s and get stuck in! By 9 am its all over.
Then we have traditional Christmas breakfast and the turkey always goes in early.
The Sunday before Christmas we would go as a family and pick a real Christmas tree. This would consist of wrapping up warm and standing in the cold for hours while mom went on the hunt for the perfect tree. Dad would have to pull out each potential tree, give it a shake and stand it up while mom had a good look and decided if it was full enough at the top and the bottom; if it had the right shape; if it had a flatter side to face the wall… Dad would start relatively enthusiastic but by the 26 millionth tree the words “is this the one” would be said through gritted teeth. This is a tradition I have continued, it gets everyone in the mood for Christmas.
Another tradition I have done since I was little is a Christmas morning horse ride. Over the years as people and ponies have got older or moved on the size of the ride has decreased as there was only two of us last year, whereas when I was a younger the whole yard would get involved. We dress ourselves and the horses up in decorations and hack around the estate spreading Christmas wishes to those who come out of their houses to say hello.
When I was very young my mum used to get a baking delivery just before Christmas and I used to love the meringue snowmen.
My mum and dad would take me to my nan’s every Christmas Day as a kid, annoyingly I could only take one of Santa’s presents with me but I did love my nan’s roast potatoes and could not wait for the yearly brandy snaps filled with cream……..yummy! I still love brandy snaps!
Up until a couple of years ago my uncle would always make me homemade mince pies, all placed neatly in a large recycled margarine tub and separated with kitchen roll. They were amazing, filled to the top of the pastry and with extra brandy in them. I never did get the recipe and there is no match out there to replace them. I must have a go and try and make my own.
Our Christmas tradition is that we always have a stocking from our grandma. This year sadly we won’t be getting one but we really look forward to them. I am starting a new tradition this year for Christmas Eve – wine and cheese night and I can’t wait!
When we were younger we would make my nan and grandad come round at 6.30am on Christmas morning so we could open the presents as early as possible! And then I’d eat the chocolate coins from my stocking before breakfast.
Now we all have a glass of sparkly whilst opening presents, youngest first (which is always me) to the oldest. Finally, going to the pub (remember when we could do that?!) whilst the Christmas dinner is cooking.
Every Christmas Eve since I can remember we’ve gone to Robin Hood Crematorium to pay our respects and we would always go back to my Aunt’s house (when we were younger) and now my cousin’s house for drinks, too many mince pies and chocolate biscuits!! It’s the one time of year that we all gather and have a big catch up and see how big the extended family has become, who went where on holiday, who’s doing what work-wise and where everyone is spending Christmas – it’s always changing! Although for 12 months a lot of us don’t keep in touch, it’s never awkward and always good fun! That’s family for you!!
Most Christmas Eves for me involve drinking copious amounts of Malibu at the local pub and making the same joke about some of the decor looking like a famous brand of tiny Edam cheese before making a swift exit to get into bed before Santa makes his visit to Wolverhampton.
Christmas Day kick starts with a festive bacon sandwich (spoiler: it’s a bacon sandwich with a bit of brie and cranberry) and orange juice before heading over to my grandparent’s house in Solihull – but not before trying to get my annual selfie with my cat, who could not care less for the festivities.
Of course this year will be looking a lot different with no trip to the pub or to see my grandparents which I will miss, but I will miss the festive Babybel most of all.