These last few years have seen major changes in my household, and one thing that I’m sure of is that very soon Christmas will be changing, with old traditions making way for new ones. That’s sad in a way, but exciting too – who knows what great ideas will be introduced into the mix. I thought I’d honour all of our little family traditions by sharing them here, as for some of them it could be their last Christmas.
A Nightmare Before Christmas
I don’t mean that we all have bad dreams on the night before Christmas. Instead, every Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember, we’ve sat down as a family and watched Tim Burton’s A Nightmare Before Christmas. The animation is stunning, the songs and story are so unique, and best of all – it always gets us in the festive spirit!
I don’t know the origins of this tradition for my family, but we’ve always used pillowcases instead of traditional stockings. Filling one with smaller presents was always something my parents did for us as kids, but I remember one Christmas my sister and I prepared a small pillowcase stocking for my Mum as a nice surprise. I’m getting too old for a stocking now, but I love keeping this tradition alive for my younger sister.
A new addition to the tree
This is a fairly new tradition that I actually introduced only a couple of years ago. Now, every year we buy a Christmas tree decoration that means something special to the family – something that reflects the year that has passed, or something from a personal adventure. One year I brought hand-sewn Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth decorations back from a trip to the Jane Austen Centre in Bath – personal favourites of mine!
Roast lamb with jam
Of all the Christmases I can remember, I think maybe one included turkey. We usually have lamb for our Christmas dinner, with strawberry jam (as well as all the usual tasty trimmings). Anyone I’ve told this to before has been really confused, but I’ve been having it for so many years that it doesn’t seem odd to me (or my taste buds) at all – it’s not all that different from cranberry sauce with turkey!
Write on the tree topper
My Mum started this tradition when she was a younger woman living with my Dad. Every year she writes a line or two on the back of a wooden tree topper about the key events of the past twelve months, including births, deaths, engagements, holidays, new jobs – that sort of thing. When I move out next year, I’m actually going to buy a tree topper to write on for myself, to commemorate a new phase in my life.
We really like to split up the opening of presents – a few in the pillowcase stockings, some under the tree, and then at the very end of the evening we each open a present that has been hiding in the tree. This has turned into a Secret Santa event in recent years, with everyone quietly sneaking their recipient’s gift into the tree over the few days leading up to Christmas.
There we have it! It’s funny that when I actually sit down and compile a list like this, I realise just how many traditions this family has! I know that some of them I will introduce one day to my future children, but I’m also excited about growing new traditions when I move out.
What Christmas traditions do you have?