The Christmas Traditions Thread ;) (in July, oh yes, for real)

(105 Posts)

Hello, all Christmas Lovers 'tis time to settle down and consider the Christmas Traditions. Then in December when everyone else is running about , tearing out hair and raging at Amazon/Post Office or supermarket of choice, we've got it sorted. wink

(Bit of background here) I was born in the late 1960s so Christmas in my day <<old gimmer emoticon>> was much more low key. Memories were a pillowcase of presents and buying tangerines from the market.
Then age 8+ my mum especially was very meh about Christmas, too much effort (though she didn;t actually do much) . Meals got made because we had a family friend who visited,and cooked , then I used to cook. Any decorations were done by us.

So when I had my own DC, I had a mental image of how I wanted Christmas to be. DH takes the mick says I'm over-compensating for my youth. I like to do things to build up to the Day. Doesn't have to cost much.
And every year as the DC get older, things change. We add a new Tradition each year, some get abandoned.
The DC are involved more now but when they were little I wanted them to think it was all 'seamless'. in hand, here we go. grin

I do a £2 jar from January. Try to save £4-6 a week, then we open it, put it in the bank and share the money out. (DH,DS,DD and me)
I save my Sainsbury Nectar points (and use the extra points vouchers) usually get £120+ in rewards for my Christmas food shop)

DS birthday is December so we don't do any decorations until 10-14 days before Christmas. Some of my decs are 23 years old, but every year we buy a couple of new ones.

We have a little advent calender (with decorations that are hung on a little tree) and room for a chocolate coin.So on Dec 1st it starts.
I do have an Elf on the Shelf that I made from a doll (A-Team - liam neeson one) before it was a Dr Who doll (Christopher Eccelstone- he was scary). I made clothes from felt blush. He hides round the house each night.

When DS was about 3-4 yo I made a little sleeping elf in a bed and we walked down the Playhouse with a candle in a jar to peep.
I put lines of candles in jars on the lawn to make a guide for the sleigh.
We did Reindeer Food (once) edible glitter, coloured sugar and porridge to scatter on the lawn. It sat like a lump of vomit for days shock hence only once.

We do a family day out to London. See the lights. Go to Hamleys. Count the Hamleys bags.
Winter Wonderland (though last year it was really busy)
DD and I go to see a ballet

DH,DD and DS go to the cinema to see a film while I do the food shop in peace.
DH and I have a child free shopping day at end November.
Then we take DC to Lakeside/Bluewater to do their shopping (with their share of the £2 jar)

On Christmas Eve, we used to feed ducks or reindeer, now they are older we go for a walk (park usually) and they come back to their Christmas Hampers in front of the fire.
Lunch is chips,salad,fish fingers for DS, veg grills for DH and I.
Trifle for us, ice-cream for DC.
We have crackers and poppers etc on the table.
We watch a Christmas Film.
Check out Santa Tracking (online)
DD does a tray for Father Christmas (which I eat)
We do a late night buffet- sandwiches and crisps things.
DS sleeps in DD room (grumble grumble) grin so we can hear them wake up and open their stockings. They can't go downstairs until the fibre optic little tree (on a timer) lights in the hall.
The lounge door is covered in wrapping paper that they burst through.

I do the same meal every year for Christmas Day (I don't like these new fangled 'different' meals).
Has to be dark and has to be finished in time for Dr Who.
I spend all day pottering about, cooking, setting the table, watching the soaps as I work.
Candles, all my nice crockery (I have a Christmas Cupboard ) , popper, crackers, lovely tablecover.
We don't eat Christmas Pud so I don't make one (or Christmas Cake but I like fruit cake and cheese)

The DC used to dress up(fancy dress) on Christmas Eve but they are too old now.
Christmas Eve Hamper (CEH) is in a nice festive box: new PJs, annual, jar of sweets, hot chocolate sachet,a Christmas mug, mini biscuits, bath bomb.

Christmas Morning Stocking:selection box, tiny Lindt reindeer or teddies. Underwear. Earrings for DD. Keyring for DS. Books (I Spy book or paperback)
All wrapped with extra sellotape to keep them busy grin

My DC are 11 and 13 now so every year it changes and in a couple of years my DS won't be out of bed until noon. The presents are getting smaller and more ££. (So that's why we need the stockings. Little 'filler' presents but useful and only a couple of £ each).

Come and add to the list (if you've managed to read this far)

And - Yes I KNOW it's July before anyone says it,
But this is THE CHRISTMAS THREAD. wink

DocBrown Wed 24-Jul-13 14:25:06

I think I am going to steal most of your traditions!!

I go to the Christmas Eve Christingle service with MIL and the children whilst FIL and DP get a buffet ready for our return. Children have a mini Christmas Eve hamper - annual, Mr Matey bubble bath and some nibbles.

I Love Christmas

anklebitersmum Wed 24-Jul-13 14:59:47

We do shopping for a real tree all together. That usually involves much tree twirling on DH's part and lots of excited charging around on the biters parts until we get THE TREE. Said tree must be is usually at least a foot too tall for the ceiling hubby traditionally gets the saw out with no 'bald' bits.

Quite often finding somewhere other than the big chains that does real trees is a whole adventure in itself and has led to us meeting some fantastic characters.

Decorating the tree is done on the evening of the last day of school by all of us I don't tinker afterwards like Monica in 'Friends at all The rest of the house becomes 'twinkly' over a few days think grotto with niace lights

The huge advent calendar goes up on Nov 30th so that the 'Elves' can come overnight and deliver chocolate coins and such to the biters that are well behaved.

X-mas Eve brings Magic Oat scattering, bath-time and new PJ's all round.

I did pillow cases as a wee biter myself but we have big red santa sacks as an equivalent now which go on the end of the beds at bedtime X-mas Eve. This necessitates some stealthy work on Santa's part as regards getting the sacks out, pressies in and sacks back but he uses his magic and sometimes 'the force'.

Biters descend into our room and onto our bed X-mas morning amongst a flurry of excitement and chocolate oranges (a must in all sacks). Then we do 'Christmas clothes', a light breakfast and then 'under the tree pressies' are accompanied by a list (for Thank you's later), champagne and schloer as age dictates.

A sherry marks the start of the dinner preparations and we all potter about to Christmas with Frank Sinatra & Bing Crosby.

The Queen's speech marks nearly time for dinner and hubby usually stands to attention hmm

Dinner is usually goose with as many trimmings as the table will hold. Bread sauce, red balsmaic'd cabbage, parsnips etc etc etc. We always buy, but generally forget to use crackers though.

Post dinner is playing with new toys, nibbling at the niace nibblies that we've been 'saving' for weeks and Dr Who on the telly here too grin

anklebitersmum Wed 24-Jul-13 15:01:40

blush forgot the Santa online and the personalised videos! Mind you they're all very new..

Chihuahuahua Wed 24-Jul-13 17:53:06

Not traditions, exactly, but there are a few things I always try to fit in, so we can start feeling Christmassy in the run up to the 25th.

Go to big garden centre to see the Christmas displays.

Portable north pole, DD loved last year.

Always try to get to a Christingle / carols, a Christmas market, a panto, and a lights switch on.

Usually try to find some live reindeer to visit somewhere.

I always mean to book a Santa steam train ride, but so far have not got round to it.

Have bought this to do in the run up to Christmas, as DC love all things Disney.

Always make several pomanders from oranges and cloves.

DC make their Christmas cards.

There's probably more which will come back to me.

Chihuahuahua Wed 24-Jul-13 17:55:37

It's a Christmas Tradition in our house if we do it more than once.

Dressing up nicely for dinner was new last year (when they were 10.6 and 13) and we'll do it again this year.

Eating a sprout didn't make it beyond the first year it aired wink

Last year was the first Christmas that DD started to get what was going on. The 'traditions' we are going to do this year:

First Saturday in December we are going to buy a new decoration for the tree. I've bought one for DD since I was pregnant and when she leaves home she can take some of them with her for her first Christmas.

The Elf arrives with the advent calendar on 1st Dec. The doorbell rings and there he is

WE put the tree up as a family

The children (mine and the mindees) make a special decoration to take home, last year it was wreaths, this year snowmen.

Christmas day at home smile

Chihuahuahua Wed 24-Jul-13 19:33:32

Oh, yes, we buy one or more new tree decorations each year.

some of them are ones we've bought on holiday in the summer.

The last couple of years we've had great fun with playmobile advent calendars, but I think we've had the nice, Christmassy ones now, the ones we haven't had don't look as good.

Yay! I've been looking forward to this thread!

We don't have many yet as dc are 2 and 5 months. I have just ebayed some nice knitted stockings for them both. I think I will do a christmas eve hamper this year too, as dd1 will hopefully have an idea what's going on now.

One tradition I'm keen to start is for an extra present for the whole family to magically arrive during Xmas lunch, this being a game we can play together. Dp and I are big board game players, it's something i'd love to share with the dc.

forcookssake Wed 24-Jul-13 20:29:59

Wahey! Gleeful thoughts of Christmas are all that's been keeping me going through this unbearable hot spell grin
On my phone so I'll be brief, but me and DP are still TTC so we don't have kids to do the traditions with yet but I am keeping a special notebook of all the super ideas I'm reading about on MN wink

50shadesofknackered Wed 24-Jul-13 20:44:26

At the beginning of December I take the girls to the massive garden centre by my mum's and we look round the Christmas section. We each pick a new decoration for the tree. We usually put the tree up together on the second weekend in December. The girls write Father Christmas a letter each and we post them, they get a letter back written by me on Christmas Eve. I take the girls Christmas shopping (but only after I've got everything so there's no stress) On Christmas Eve we pop to the shops first thing in the morning, for things like fresh veg. Then we watch films and have a takeaway. The girls have a bath and put on their new pyjama's. Then they leave out the mince pie and milk for Santa on his own special plate and the reindeer's carrots. Dh puts out the 'stop here santa' sign in the front garden, the girls put their stockings (red pillowcases) at the end of their bed. I read 'twas the night before christmas and then they're off to sleep. On Christmas Day we always alternate between our parents, so after presents are opened and we have a cooked breakfast we're off. My own tradition is to wrap all the presents I've a couple of evenings in mid December, on my own, watching christmas films with a drink. Ooooooooo I loooooovvvveeee Christmas!!!!! grin

50shadesofknackered Wed 24-Jul-13 20:47:03

Must just say, I tried to start a new tradition this year of going out for a meal on Christmas year. Never again, at least not till the kids are bigger, it was soooo busy. One tradition I started this year that we will keep up, s taking the kids to the cinemas the week before christmas.

50shadesofknackered Wed 24-Jul-13 20:57:12

That was obviously Christmas Eve not year. It was also the cinema, just one, not cinemas blush

Last year DH was working on Christmas Eve so I took DS and DD to the cinema (Guardians of something-cartoon)
That was nice, relaxing in the rush.
We went to a cafe for breakfast before our family shopping trip which is something we'll do again.

And I forgot the fleeces - I have 2 Father Christmas and a festive teddy bear. So one on each DC bed and one on the sofa.

buzzgirly Thu 25-Jul-13 08:51:05

I love these threads! Our traditions are-

Elf on the shelf - he arrives on 1st December with advent calendars, new christmas book and DVD. This year he is also bringing a couple of Christmas fleece blankets.

A new decoration every year for the tree, this year we got one on our trip to disneyland paris.

Trying to do a Christmas activity everyday in December. Pretty simple stuff that we do anyway like baking cakes, making cards, trip to panto.

On Christmas Eve the elves deliver a hamper with new pjs, bubble bath and a choc Santa. We also do a landing strip for Santa on the driveway with jam jars and candles; then we put out biscuits for Santa and read night before Christmas before bed.

In the morning there will be footprints with talcum powder in the hall and wrapping paper over the living room door.

This year I want to add a Christmas Eve walk to deliver presents to neighbours.

All of these have been stolen from mumsnet!! It all brings so much more fun to Christmas.

Umlauf Thu 25-Jul-13 08:56:50

Ooh I've been so exited about this thread! We will have our PFB in time for Xmas (due in September) and so have our own new little family to start traditions for and so I plan to steal LOADS from here.

Since we've been together, DH and I have bought one Xmas decoration each every year (we now have 14!) with the hope that when we are old we and our children and grandchildren will spend hours decorating our huge tree with unique decorations which all remind of us of something special, although I often just buy a pretty one!

We also try and do afternoon tea at fortnum and mason on Christmas Eve but that might change a bit once DS is here.

I'm massively excited about the santa magic though, although he will be a little young this christmas... How old are children before they start understanding christmas?

Also, Lapland UK! I worked there one year and it was incredible, and I've since longed to take my future children one year :-)

I love Christmas!! My DC are 4, 6 and 7.

I go Christmas shopping for a weekend with my DM in November which mostly consists of drinking champagne to get any bits we have left to get.

On the 1st December DC get up to advent calendars having been left by the elves and we also have a Christmas night (usually on the closest Saturday) where we have nibbles and watch Christmas films in PJs, DCs write their letters to Santa and we drink hot choc.

I try and do lots of Christmas activities throughout December with DH and the DC including baking gingerbread, Christmas walk, visit to see lights, garden centre to choose new decorations and eat cake in cafe, cinema trip, ballet with DD, pantomime, Dc make cards, ice skating, Christmas markets, collecting pine cones, visit to see Santa and making reindeer food!

Christmas Eve is Christmas films for DC then Christmas Eve hampers (PJs, DVD, book, dressing gown, slippers, bath bomb, hot chocolate, tube of sweets) then baths and into PJs before family come round. I do nibbles, carols on, we each have one Christmas Eve present and the DC recite 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' to everyone before getting a tray ready for Santa and putting the reindeer food out. They then go to bed (with lavender on their pillows) and one of us goes into the garden to ring 'Santa's bells'!

On Christmas day the DC bring their stockings into mine and DH's bed and we open them together (I do one for DH and he does one for me). We then go downstairs to see if he's been! Presents are opened and family come round. Bacon and mushroom sandwiches and champagne (non alcoholic bucks fizz for DC) is for breakfast. We have dinner at home then go to DILs in the evening and stay over there. Boxing day is a lazy day and DH goes to the football!

I think this year we are going to try the candles on the driveway!

Probably forgotten something, always looking for new traditions grin

BiddyPop Thu 25-Jul-13 14:10:21

OOOOhhh - sqqqeeeeeeaaallll, the traditions thread!

I am going to start with food shopping and eating, as I know I'll have LOADS to say, and move on to other things in a later post.

I don't have a £2 jar, but I do use my €1 and €2 coins during the year to buy stamps for supermarket savings cards (one chain). I often keep the loyalty points from that and 3 other chains as well. But the stamps one has great offers at Christmas and I use it for a big bulk shop in early December of non-perishables (combination of our needs/wants and a good amount for hampers for others in need). I then hope to mostly stay out of supermarkets until after Christmas Day, or only needing relatively small shops done.

We always go to M&S on Christmas Eve to buy DD's birthday cake and nibbles for the next few days, as well as a turkey if we haven't already got one. I might have got one in the local butcher or pre-ordered in the posh supermarket by that stage. But M&S in the city centre can be manic but well-stocked on morning of 24th, and I always have to go very close by for a couple of hours appearance at work anyway, with DD, while DH potters before meeting us - so it suits us and is less manic than the supermarkets local to us in suburbia! DH makes the sausage stuffing later in the afternoon for the turkey.

2 years ago we did a sort of Smorgasboard/Tapas type meal on Christmas eve - loads of nibbly bits (from M&S, cured meats and cheeses, salad things like olives, cherry tomatoes etc, and nice breads) which was really nice but DH thought was quite fussy.

Christmas morning, breakfast is freshly squeezed orange juice, I often bake a jus-rol pack of croissants, and usually something like bacon sambos, along with a whole pot of fresh coffee. Substantial enough to keep us going until late afternoon with only a couple of nibbles in between.

When we get back home from all the visiting (mid-afternoon at the earliest), we open a bottle of bubbles and some fizzy orange for DD and some crisps or other nibbles to keep us going (will have had some party food things at various houses). We usually stop home between the last 2 visits to put the turkey in the oven so that we eat at a reasonable hour.

For the last 5 years, I had an allotment and managed to grow at least part of the Christmas dinner feast myself (parsnips, brussels, onions, garlic, leeks, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower) - not all of those every year (and we don't eat all of those every year) but at least something on the table was homegrown. This year, I only have my back garden, but so far I have 3 sprouts plants doing ok so I am hopeful! But I will have the herbs, or most of them, from the garden.

The feast is a roast Turkey, almost without fail. We tried pheasant 1 year (present) but not pleasant (I have eaten it in restaurants with pleasure, we just made a mess of it), and we keep considering goose. But we like turkey so it's not a hardship. There is also a small ham joint (which I may manage to do properly glazed some year!) and spiced beef (local tradition from where we grew up). With roast potatoes, sausage stuffing, bread stuffing, loads of different veggies, and real turkey juices gravy. We rarely bother with starter and often forget about desert - we'd prefer to be pleasantly full of nice food rather than overstuffed and uncomfortable. But we may have cheese or desert things later when DD is in bed.

Turkey is de-boned after dinner and bones thrown into crockpot with some fresh veg and the peelings from carrots etc earlier, to slowly cook away and make my stock without me needing to watch it. Leftover meat in fridge with lots going into freezer morn of 26th. (Good reason to use up the party nibbles - to make space!).

Boxing Day is a combination of leftovers (part of the reason to shop Christmas Eve is to get some fresh sliced pan for 26th) and party nibbles kept for DD's birthday, and her cake.

We do a ham and stilton potato gratin later that week - a relatively easy dish but one that we only have once or twice a year and so much nicer when we have proper turkey stock.

Other than that though, we tend to not go overboard entirely on sweets and stuff. I make a few mince pies (HM mince meat), DMum makes me a small pudding, DMIL makes me a small fruit cake, DD bakes cookies for Santa and sharing, and we tend to have some biscuits etc for visitors, but things like a bag of amaretti biccies as my treat to me, and a large bag of Leonidas orangettes as our family choc treat.

BiddyPop Thu 25-Jul-13 14:37:55

Decorations are a huge part of Christmas for us.
30th November is the day that the Advent Calendar my Mum sewed for DD gets taken out and hung in the kitchen. Every day, some small chocolate goes in there (Aldi often have nice nets of snowmen and santa figures – the year DD found the net and ate her way through them so I was short 5, I had to get some Nutcracker soldiers from the posh deli in town as sold out everywhere at an astonishing price!!). The calendar also has some other things some days – I print off a load of free colouring sheets for days I haven’t time or energy for invention, but there can be notes of things we’ll do (including cleaning out room for new toys and clothes, or fun stuff like cinema trip), a small toy (maybe a small lego toy to make up), or a suggestion like “learn a Christmas joke to tell Dad” or craft ideas kinda thing. I keep a list of ideas for these and have yet to use some.

One of the things DD does during the month is slowly makes and lengthens a few paper chains to decorate the hall. I have a shoebox full of strips of paper and give her that with a roll of sellotape – we still have some from last year in the attic as a starting point, but it keeps her busy for a few minutes now and again.

If we are travelling for Christmas (down "home" to both sets of parents), we take out the fake tree that we've had since 1999 when we had our new house and I was desperate to have a tree - so it's 5', and cheap as chips looking. But holds the decs and looks ok once the base is covered in Christmassy fabric and it's covered in decs.

If we are staying put in our own house, we get a real tree - the last few years have been bought either at School Fair or local GAA club sales of same. I dream of driving out into the forest reasonably locally (less than an hour drive) and either getting a readycut one or even cutting our own (some forests allow that) but always too busy.

Tree goes up generally the weekend that is a max of 14 days and no later than 2 days before Christmas, it can happen at any point within that window of opportunity. DH puts up the lights on the (weeping willow) tree on the front lawn – which were extended to the birch tree at the end of the lawn last year. Otherwise, he is on hand to help but it’s my gig to decorate.

We have some decorations that I sewed myself, lots of regular baubles, plenty of lights etc. But we also have a lot of different decorations from various trips we’ve made over all the years since we got our first house. There is at least 1 new one every year (I could decorate at least 2 trees!). So opening the boxes and deciding what to use can take time.

We also have a good few cribs and nutcrackers up around the house. While DD has a couple of snowglobes up in her room (and a tiny crib in a rose-shaped ring box). And I have a wreath on the front door – currently, I am wondering if the one I bought in a florists 3 Christmases ago will do again this year (it was fresh, but dried very well in the dark of the attic so doesn’t look old) or use the base of it to make a new one this year.

We have an open fire and we use that a lot coming up to and over Christmas. (Last year, we even had it lit on Christmas Eve, but that didn’t seem to bother DD about access for Santa). There are also loads of candles up around the house, and we have the Christmas candle that DD lights on Christmas Eve to show weary travellers a place they can rest. More of that in a later post.

BiddyPop Thu 25-Jul-13 15:46:21

Coming up to Christmas is always busy at work. But we do lots of fun stuff at home too.

Every second year, since DD was 2, we have gone on the Santa Train, a 2 hour steam train excursion which involves Santa, a roaming carol-singing guitarist, mince pies and mulled wine for adults and selection boxes for kids. We usually take the DART (commuter train) into the city to meet the Santa Train rather than driving, for added excitement. I was too late to book tickets last year, so we are planning on going this year instead (constant checking of website for sales going on).

There is a Santa party in my work, which DD has gone to since she was almost 1 – face painting, goodie bag of sugary treats, colouring in, dvd in one room, balloon artist who is a DJ as well in another room, and Santa arrives in his sleigh with presents. It usually clashes now with the Christmas party in her sports club – but they have allowed her enjoy it with the next age group as well/instead (same activities for all ages) – Santa makes an appearance there for a singsong and chat.

DD is also commenting in recent weeks about “Green Santa” that we visited last year – in a stately house 90 minutes from home. Where she walked through a wardrobe in to Narnia, then planted a tree and talked about nature with Green Santa, who gave her a candy cane and pack of wildflower seeds as well as her tree. And we had a lovely walk in the grounds and along the lakeshore. I suspect that may become a new tradition.

We take a drive one evening after dinner to see all the outdoor lights one evening the week before Christmas.

DH and I go for a wander around the toy shops over the October bank holiday weekend (we are visiting the parents, and we always manage to get a trip to the local city there without DD for a coffee etc together, so we just end up there – which is DH manoeuvring me not the other way round – even though he says I am the Christmas nut, he does like to get involved and plan a certain amount). We generally decide then what we are getting for DD’s present from us, but DH will then get it another (less risky) time. But I generally do most of the shopping and all of the wrapping.

DD will also have a shopping trip in mid-December one afternoon. Which involves getting a couple of things (but she’s usually already had most things she wants to give either bought by me or together before that), but mostly seeing the “Live Crib” (loads of farm animals), enjoying the buskers etc on the shopping streets, and then getting a coffee/babycinno and finding a windowseat to watch all the people dashing around. Then transport home by bus for added excitement.

DH and DD go to the cinema a lot, but usually find at least 1 movie over Christmas (between 10 days before and going back to school period). And she watches a lot of Christmas movies on dvd at home. We read a Christmas story nightly as her bedtime story in December. This year, I need to think about this as we have reduced story nights to twice a week – but we have loads of Christmassy books.

DH finishes work on 23rd (or earlier depending on when Christmas falls) but I have to go in on 24th for a couple of hours. Kids are welcome that day so DD comes with me, while DH comes to town as well and we meet up afterwards. (For years, DH ended up meeting my uncle by chance outside a particular coffee shop as they both waited for their DW’s to do their duty at the office – related but different organisations.) Then we do whatever bits of last minute shopping are needed, get some lunch or some nice things for lunch at home, and skedaddle out of town! DD bakes cookies in the afternoon (either entirely from scratch if we have time and energy, or we just slice up a roll of frozen surplus dough from a previous batch if not), so that she has some for Santa. Meanwhile, I peel and prep all veg and potatoes for the feast. If the weather is fine, we often go for a walk in the local forest or on the beach, to run off some excitement.

Christmas Eve, after dinner, we get out the Christmas Candle, which DD lights (youngest in household) and we have a few minutes talking about things we have been thankful for during the year. (Honestly, not as preachy as it sounds). Then DD gets out the glass of milk and cookies (that she baked that afternoon – from scratch if we have time, but just sliced from a frozen log of a previous batch of dough if necessary) for Santa, and carrot for Rudolph, and her stocking. We open the Christmas Eve Hamper – new PJs and Slipper socks for all, relaxing bath bomb each for DD and I, sachets of naice hot choc (think the big lump of choc on a wooden spoon to melt, perhaps with some alcohol involved for adults grin), and our copy of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” for that night’s bedtime story. DD then has a bath and goes to bed in new pjs. DH and I then finish any wrapping needed, or other preps, and then relax for a while with a glass of something (maybe open the sloe gin).

BiddyPop Thu 25-Jul-13 15:54:10

Sorry for the epic postings, but I LOVE Christmas too (we weren't as deprived as 70s, but no great build up either) and as DD's birthday is on Boxing Day, she loves the whole season too. DH rolls his eyes at us, but then he buys more lights for the outdoor trees or wants to add something else to the list for buying for DD or has some other way of showing his quiet enjoyment of it all.

This year, as it's a "travelling" year, we won't have all the things we usually do. But we will still have Santa Train, few parties, DD birtthday party, and I plan on bringing the baking ingredients (we are renting a cottage so are ok to do our own thing away from the mania of the wider family at times). And then we will be in the mania at times too - I have 5 siblings, most of whom will be home, and 2 DNiece/Nephews, while DH has 2 siblings who will both be home and 3 DNieces/nephew, all 4 grandparents, and a few wider relatives on DH side (my parents wider families are in the city we live in).

And as we have the cottage paid for the whole week, I intend leaving work on 19th or 20th, and enjoying all that time I usually don't get!! But we may still end up in the local city on 24th....

LentilAsAnything Fri 26-Jul-13 22:25:21

Biddy, how long did it take you to write all that up!? smile

Where is this Narnian Green Santa please?

fuzzpig Sun 28-Jul-13 09:49:24

I love this thread!

I also don't have many good memories of childhood xmases so I really enjoy reading about traditions to try. Basically everything we do is nicked from MN!

We do the new jammies on Xmas eve, delivered by the elves (us too). They are character ones as we don't buy them normally. In previous years we also had a new tree decoration for each DC but last year couldn't find anything nice at all, so we chose a cuddly Disney toy instead. We have also sometimes done an Xmas book, but it's not entirely set in stone apart from the jammies.

We don't put mince pies out for Santa as we believe he gets a bit bored having them (in other words we don't like them grin).

A new tradition seems to be that DH and I spend Xmas eve building the playmobil. My colleagues said I was mad for leaving it til the last minute but it was really fun building the castle last year with White Christmas on DVD and quaffing baileys and then finally arranging the presents under the tree before stumbling up to bed!

Stockings are something I absolutely love doing. No tat, just nice (though not necessarily expensive) stuff that I know will get used and played with. Eg fancy hair clips for DD, Disney figures, crafty bits, some chocolate. Also underwear and socks (again, character ones, as they usually have plain ones). Last year DH and I started giving each other a stocking too which also includes underwear and socks!

Xmas day itself is very quiet. Not particularly traditional food, just stuff we love. Eg pudding is usually eton mess. It's just been us for a few years but I think as family circumstances have changed we will have my parents visiting or may even stay with my mum in her flat. We'll see.

Now I have my beloved piano I also like playing carols so we can all sing along.

Our Xmas is still evolving really as we see what works and fits us as a family. I am trying to think of a special way to honour our great addiction love - DVDs. NOT Xmas films (although there may be some) but general movies from throughout the year (eg this year will probably include monsters university, the Croods, despicable me 2) and older cartoons that we like introducing the DCs to (eg this year I want to get CatDog, hey arnold, rugrats...). Last year we just wrapped them up all together there were about 15 blush but I'd like to do something a bit more special. Any ideas?

fuzzpig Sun 28-Jul-13 10:05:47

Oh and I forgot another new tradition as of last year. Like others have mentioned - a cinema trip. Last year I took DD and my teenage DSDs to see Rise of the Guardians (it was actually DD's first ever cinema trip at the ripe old age of 5.6) early in the Xmas hols, and then we went to pizza hut. It was a really nice day. This year DS is old enough to go to the cinema too so I think we will include him and DH and hopefully DSS (21) too. We have been going to the cinema a lot more now the little DCs are old enough but hopefully the going for lunch (not something we do often) will set it apart as a special Xmas treat.

I have really been wanting to add in more crafty/cooking traditions too but have always been too ill and disorganised. However we are working very hard at sorting the house out this summer so hopefully things will be calmer!

Speaking of tidying it is also a necessary tradition to try and get rid of some old toys/clothes before more inevitably come in (though as I said we are making a big effort to do this more now rather than waiting to do it in a panic in December) and in particular we always clear all the toys from the living room by Xmas eve so there will only be the new ones to play with on Xmas day. Last year DD's mini Dalek figures were patrolling the castle confused grin

I love the board game tradition idea too. DS (nearly 4) is finally old enough to take turns and 'get' games and is able to play properly (especially considering he has a speech disorder) so it is the right time to start this tradition now.

LadyLech Sun 28-Jul-13 10:55:10

I had many magical Christmases as a child, and hopefully am recreating those now for my children. Some of our traditions are:

Rule 1: Finish your Christmas shopping before December starts so you can enjoy Christmas (can be interesting as both my DC have November birthdays, but I usually manage it).

House is decorated first weekend of December. We all go and choose the tree together. I decorate it, the children do the room. Whilst we do it, I drink mulled wine, and we play Christmas songs, eat mince pies and burn the Christmas scented candle.

Under the tree is a 'tree present'. This is heavily disguised, with several layers of wrapping etc, but each day the children get to feel and sniff the presents and make a guess. If they guess accurately, they get to open the present. If not, it goes back under until the next day. They've never yet guessed. On Christmas Day, it is opened and there are clues to the present within the layers. They can only open the last layer once they've worked out what the present is. As a child, it wold sometimes take me all day at guessing. Very frustrating but great fun.

If we have time, a visit to a Christmas market is in order. I also take the children on a shopping trip with my mum one day. They'll buy their gifts for the family, see FC and do whatever activity the mall has got to offer (ice skating etc). On the shopping trip, my DC also buy a new decoration each year. If we get time, they also make decorations for family too.

At some point, the children will write to FC, and they are allowed to ask for three things. One bigger item and two smaller. We will write letters of an evening, and post them the next day when it is light. Once the children are asleep, I steam open the letters and remove the letter. I replace it with a blank piece of paper, and they post that. The actual letter then turns up in the bottom of their sacks with the three items they have requested ticked off.

Christmas Eve, we usually see friend during the day. In the evening, my parents come over, and we play games, the children get a small tree present to open (usually new pjs and something nice) to get Christmas started. They throw the reindeer food, leave a carrot and mince pie and a glass of wine and go to bed. The half eaten mince pie and carrot is then left for them to discover in the morning along with the empty wine glass.

I always say on Christmas morning that they're not allowed to come in to us until 8am. In reality, I usually wake up about 6. DD1 is usually awake, but I have to get her to wake DD2 up. It's a bit of a running joke as I'm very strict about them not waking me up grin they bring their FC presents in and they open them up on our bed, taking turns.

FC is usually very naughty, and always bring them something I do not approve of. Every year, he brings them a big stash of bubble gum (I don't normally let them eat it), chocolatey cereal and other things they are not normally allowed. The DC love this. They also get an annual supply of vests, pants etc which they like, because if they need any during the year, I buy them cheap plain ones, but my DC tell me that FC is much better at buying them underwear because he buys them the decent stuff (tatty teddy, Disney pants etc that usually cost a fortune!). They also get clothes, books, replenishables and a few toys in their sacks.

We always have a nice breakfast, with Buck's Fizz and pancakes. We shower and then settle down to opening presents under the tree. We only open the presents from us. This takes us to mid morning, normally.

Then we go to my parents, and open more presents. Santa leaves a small sack of things for everyone at their house and before lunch we open those. After lunch, we open presents from each other and the children have time to play with their new toys, whilst the men fall asleep on the sofa.

We have a buffet tea of cheese and bread in the evening, and then we play a game. Often FC will bring a new game in one of the sacks, and so we will play that. Chocolate chilli roulette is also played every year. The TV is not turned on on Christmas Day at all.

The next day, we go home and open presents from other people. Boxing Day tends to be a quiet day where the children put their presents away, have time to play with them etc.

Then every day between the 27th and New Year's Day, we will have people over (or we go to them). This is either family or friends, and every day we swap gifts. If it is someone that we usually do not swap presents with, then often there are small tree gifts (small present up to £5) that are opened. Every day, there is always a little something to be opened.

Then the weekend before I go back to work, we take the tree down and our latest tradition has been to invite the local mums and dads that We're friendly with, with their children over for drinks at ours. We all catch up, before going back to work on the Monday.

fuzzpig -the cinema/lunch treat.
A couple of years back I took DS and DD to see A Christmas Carol (IIRC on 23rd) not in 3D thankfully - DD was [shocked] by the doorknocker.

After I promised them a Frankie & Benny lunch....but it was shut. Some problem in the kitchen.
But DS didn't believe the hastily written sign as he could see people eating. (They were finishing pudding/coffee)
He made me go in and double check hmm, he was very judgey. I was blush that my ratbag DS didn't believe them or me.

So I took them to McD (at least they don't mind his strange ways there)

LadyLech Sun 28-Jul-13 10:59:25

Forgot to add, we all watch the box of delights on the Sundays leading up to Christmas, and muppets Christmas carol on Christmas Eve. These are my husband's traditions.

Chihuahuahua Sun 28-Jul-13 11:22:47

There's a new disney 'princess' film coming out early december, 'frozen' based on the Snow Queen.

Might try to book tickets for Christmas Eve.

fuzzpig Sun 28-Jul-13 16:44:58

I'm really looking forward to Frozen. The trailer (which didn't actually include the princess character, it was the snowman etc) was really funny. I'm pretty certain that will be the film we see for our trip.

I'm not sure we'll make the Pizza Hut the traditional lunching place (we are going there for lunch on DS' birthday next month though) as so many places are more pricey. Unfortunately the little ones don't really like Nandos. I do love F&Bs though.

iloveholidays Mon 29-Jul-13 09:07:53

Love this thread!!!

My DDs will be 4.9, 2.9 and 1.1 this Christmas and it will be our first Christmas at home and I can't wait!!

Last year was our first year with the elf so he'll come to stay again when he delivers the advent calendars. The elf brings Christmasy related DVDs, books and art and craft stuff over the few weeks leading up to Christmas.

We try to do something Christmasy every weekend including Winchester market, garden centre, decorations, grandma's decorations etc etc.

Girls come in to do stockings first thing, which I've already started collecting things for. Determined to get better quality things rather than plastic tat this year!!

Then planning to come downstairs and have breakfast, then get dressed, showered etc before opening the presents under the tree! Last year we were at family's for Christmas lunch so the presents got opened very quickly so will be an effort to stop the DDs this year I think but start as we mean to go on!! Lunch at 1ish and then hopefully I will have hidden a few presents to have after lunch.

Can't wait!!!!

MumofWombat Tue 30-Jul-13 12:13:44

Another one who loves this thread!

I have always loved Christmas, but between my inlaws and the fact it just doesn't feel Christmassy in the Australian heat I've just not enjoyed the lat few years. Probably didn't help that I was pregnant last year so I couldn't even drink to dull the pain!

DS will be 2.8 this year, and I'm really really hoping that he is going to 'get' it this year a bit more so I can go all out with it. I'm a bit crafty so I've got a ken doll and green, red and white felt so I'm going to do elf on a shelf. I made a Christmas quilt so that will be on the sofa, and an advent calendar filled with matchbox cars for DS on the wall. I've also made (if i say so myself!) beautiful santa sacks for the DCs. We got a wombat decoration when I was expecting DS and a nice one each year for him (I want to do the buy a nice tree decoration for each if the kids - I got a Kookaburra one for DD last year, so they can have them when they grow up).
One tradition we have started is that we cook Christmas Day brekkie on the BBQ (I know, how Aussie!).
I'll come back to re read this thread to plan some more - definitely want to steal the baking cookies on Xmas eve for Santa one.

When the DCs are older I am soooo planning a Christmas back in the UK, and will get my family to book Santa trains etc in advance!

I need low maintenance Christmas things please.

Jings Olivia you've got nearly five months to plan shock grin

Here on The Christmas Thread, low maintenance is not the way forward wink <<gavel>>

lunar1 Tue 30-Jul-13 14:24:17

The only thing we do that ive not seen on here is that FC puts a goodie box on their beds. It is basically breakfast!

I reuse the same Disney gift boxes every year, and they have a drink in each, a jam sandwich, a pot of fruit and a couple of choobs. my children put eating lowest on there list of things to do so saying FC brought breakfast is a great motivator. they also get a couple of printed colouring pages and a 4 pack of crayons (saved from restaurants) each to keep them happy till we go down.

i get up at about 5 to get the boxes out the fridge and bring up. stockings are downstairs in front of the fireguard for everyone. at about 6 my mum sneeks into the lounge, turns on the train that FC brings for the bottom of the tree and then she fixes the wrapping paper to the lounge door for them to break through.


Jings Olivia you've got nearly five months to plan shock grin

Here on The Christmas Thread, low maintenance is not the way forward wink <<gavel>>


Well this isn't the poncey thread yet is it?
Where do I go for being organised but low maintenance then?
I am having to be V organised because I am expecting twins around Xmas.

LentilAsAnything Tue 30-Jul-13 17:28:53

Wow, Olivia, twins! Congratulations!

fuzzpig Tue 30-Jul-13 20:26:22

Oh I don't know Olivia I'd say mine are fairly low maintenance, they have to be or in our house they wouldn't get done grin

And congratulations! thanks

Aww congratulations on the Twins-to-Be olivia

I had my PFB in the December 1999 (Millenium Christmas) and though I was as organised as all-getout, when DS arrived, we sort of by-passed the big day, though i was decorating like mad when the HV arrived.

High maintenence needn't be poncey wink

BaconAndAvocado Tue 30-Jul-13 20:56:44

This thread is bloody gorgeous!

Loving all the wonderful traditions and will take the time later to read through them all and make notes.

The Yuletide begins in earnest chez nous with Stir Up Sunday, usually last Sunday in November. Everyone has a stir of the cake mixture and makes a wish.

We have a wooden advent calendar with lots of little boxes into which I put an activity or clue (find something yummy under your pillow- a small chocolate Santa). This was very hard work the first year but I've now built up a bank of ideas so,have them at the ready.

This year I'd love to take 2 youngest DCs to Lapland UK.

Another tradition of mine, usually carried out in September, is an evening with Nigella's Christmas recipe book, though I may not be hankering after her glossy, perfect life this,year.....

Keep this thread going, it's warming the cockles of my heart smile

hippoherostandinghere Tue 30-Jul-13 21:11:55

Just watched the trailer for Frozen it looks funny, will definitely fit a trip into to see that close to Christmas smile

BaconAndAvocado Tue 30-Jul-13 21:38:40

Me too hippo now that DD has overcome her fear of the cinema/theatre a Christmas cinema trip will definitely be a new tradition for us!

BiddyPop Tue 06-Aug-13 10:03:49

Lentils, sorry I was offline over the weekend.

"Green Santa" is in Belvedere House in Mullingar, Ireland. It is really lovely, but I don't know if it's done anywhere in the UK. but if you google it, you'll see what it's about.

Elainey1609 Tue 06-Aug-13 11:39:07

We star a £2 jar in January like many other people and save all points on nectar, boots, and tesvo points to buy Xmas shopping
I also save my costa card points which pays for my caffeine when doing shopping in the mosh pit that it the high street during December.

We have advent calendars
We spend day putting up decorations and Xmas tree with Xmas carols films and hot chocolate.

We make Xmas cookies and Mince pies
Watch Xmas DVDs
Go to the cinema once to watch an Xmas movie
Xmas activity sets
Go to a carol service

We each make Xmas box which we wrap up with small bits in which wee give to send to the soldiers at war helping our country
And some children based which we give to the local women and family shelter.

We visit Santa Claus and walk around the local garden centre which has a theme every year and places to have photos taken and raindeers that you can visit.

We each buy a couple of new tree decorations each year which we add to the mixture of ones we already have some very sentimental. We have a few that go back to when my grandmother was little during WWII

We always have a take away Xmas eve which we get after doing a drive around the area to see Xmas lights.

They set up thx Santa Claus tray which is a cookie, milk and carrot for each of the reindeer and little says only one to share between them all is not enough lol

I have a glass of wine Xmas eve and prepare all the veg while watching the carol service on tv

Just love Xmas wish I could do more, but time and money is a problem
But for me I just love the excitement on those faces throughout Xmas morning

LentilAsAnything Tue 06-Aug-13 22:24:29

Ah thanks, Biddy. Well, we can travel!

milk Wed 07-Aug-13 10:52:41

Drinking Advocaat is a must!

BiddyPop Wed 07-Aug-13 10:53:32

Lentils, see, these are the positives about pre-planning. You can find out about and consider things that are not local to you, as you have time to plan a trip and make any necessary bookings and arrangements.

DH is thinking about Christmas markets in Europe for a weekend but won't be home in time to do that. But I am working on skiing for the mid-term instead.

HelgatheHairy Wed 07-Aug-13 15:26:03

Biddy loving the idea of green santa and Santa train (was it you mentioned that?) we would be coming from Kerry so bit of a drive but could do it as part of a weekend in Dublin with a panto or something.

Not this year as DD will only be 4 months so a bit wasted on her yet!

BiddyPop Wed 07-Aug-13 15:56:58

Helga, Green Santa is in Belvedere House in Mullingar so not in Dublin (but possibly do-able en route up or down if you are driving).

In fact, I know some people have used the commuter train from Maynooth to Pearse to get the Santa Train, and then gotten off the Santa train in Maynooth and not returned to Pearse Street on it, so if you make Maynooth or near it your base (there are a couple of nice hotels I think), it could work well. And not need too much driving in the city centre (you're still near Liffey Valley if you want a shopping stop - although the centre is far more magical than LV).

But definitely wasted this year. DD was almost 2 (23.5 months) the first time we went on Santa Train and even then it was a bit beyond her. But at 4 she loved it, and she was looking for tickets both at 5 (we weren't going then) and 6 (when I missed the tickets) and has been hounding me since April this year for them!!

I'd suggest thinking about it for when your DD is aged 3 or a little older to really enjoy it - when she knows what Santa is about but the steam train itself will be fascinating too and the noises and steam etc won't be too frightening.

(Or maybe, having been in city on Sat for shopping and panto (and live crib on Dawson Street - not the most exciting but somewhat special with all the animals) and stayed wherever sat night, move car to Red Cow park'n'ride Sun morning, get red line luas into town, Dart from Connolly to Pearse, Santa train, dart to Conolly (although ST may stop there on return, I can't remember) and red line luas back - leaves you outside city boundaries and on road back to Kerry for the driving).

I need to stop trying to organise everyone's lives - but that's just what would occur to me.

BiddyPop Wed 07-Aug-13 16:00:26

Oh, and Helga, the Live crib is just off Grafton Street for shopping, and Stephen's Green for playground and feeding the ducks (bring your own bread).

The National Art Gallery can be magical too, and free, coming up to Christmas and they have "family packs" to follow with kids getting colouring things and activity sheets to follow a trail - that's close to Grafton Street, and right next to Merrion Square which has another (smaller) playground to allow little ones run.

LentilAsAnything Wed 07-Aug-13 19:04:27

Well, I do like to be organised. DS will be three by this Xmas, so maybe for next! smile

BiddyPop Thu 08-Aug-13 14:43:38

Sorry, last one for Helga (I thought of it last night as DH and I were planning trip to Cork this weekend so I'm meeting him off luas Green line).

Bewleys at Leopardstown is very handy. Just off M50. And walking distance to luas GREEN line, which goes to Stephen's Green. So walking distance to Pearse Street train station and handier for lots of kid friendly things in city. And quite possibly a better option for leaving car, but still getting onto N7 quickly (shorter trip from town, safer, and while a few minutes further from N7, only a few on the motorway).

ohforfoxsake Thu 08-Aug-13 14:50:13

OP I am inspired! I am going to sit down later and go through this thread with my Christmas notebook. I'm away at the end of Nov/beg Dec so need to get sorted in Oct.

I don't think it's too early to start at all. We'll be back to school before we know it, then away for oct half term, kids birthdays, then I'm away, DH birthday when I get back. Best crack on!! grin

HelgatheHairy Thu 08-Aug-13 21:37:28

biddy I need to save this thread somewhere! We're not good with driving to Dublin, generally go once a year or so and take the train but with baby stuff would prefer to drive.

BiddyPop Fri 09-Aug-13 09:23:19

Helga (I was going to PM you but can't seem to),
If you can manage the drive TO Dublin but prefer not to drive IN the city, either hotel at Red Cow (there are 2 I think) and red line luas, or (my preferred) Bewleys hotel at J14 Leopardstown (off M50 southbound, only 10 mins further driving) and green luas line would be good options to bring all the clobber with you but have public transport for the city traffic parts. There are a couple of nice hotels in Dun Laoghaire town which is not much further than Leopardstown (10-15 mins drive) and handy for Dart train or 46A bus (the gold standard in Dublin Bus) instead, but you are going into traffic a bit more to do that - but there are also a couple of playgrounds and nice coffee shops and shopping (and a theatre, cinema too) in DL itself as well.

Sorry, back to Christmas. Low maintenance for Olivia. Empty freezer as much as possible now (clear out all the odds and ends) and fill with a mixture of useful family meals for post-birth and getting ahead on Christmas prep (so make and freeze mince pies, have your breadcrumbs made for stuffing or even buy M&S stuffing balls now, soup, stock, prepped and blanched veg, par-boiled potatoes for roasting - can all be frozen now). And stock up on things for easy prepping of meals and snacks for all - tins of soup, good fish fingers or chicken goujons if older ones eat them, oven chips, part-baked bread rolls (in case you need some and can't get out logistically as much as weather-wise), plenty of tea, coffee, toilet rolls etc. Make use of convenience even if you don't normally - so rather than a block of cheese (or as well as), have 1 bag of grated cheese, have a tube of jus-rol croissants to bake, have good pizza bases and tomato sauce to throw together a pizza or have a good readymade one frozen, a couple of jars of good sauce for foods you like or a readymade sauce eg. peppersauce for DH to throw together a steak and baked potatoes dinner easily etc.

Decide now how you want your Christmas Day to be. Who is cooking? What do you want (traditional turkey feast, own family traditional meal, something fast and easy)? And how can you achieve that when you are busy elsewhere - buying a pre-prepared roast ready stuffed, order the whole lot from M&S or similar to just throw in oven, only cook a turkey crown (would that feed the group on the day and leave no leftovers to be dealt with?)? Or will you go to someone else to eat, so maybe suggest you bring the wine and soft drinks rather than anything you have to spend time cooking/prepping?

(I don't know if you already have other smallies, so will assume yes you still need some magic. If not, you can reduce this accordingly - but still put up a tree to have the photos in years to come).
Get smallies to do pictures, colouring in free printable colouring sheets from internet, which will occupy them (maybe it could be something they do at the table while you sit near them feeding new babies) and can then be the decorations on walls etc. Simplify decorations - a tree with string of lights, and decorations yes, but don't worry about swags of holly and ivy over mantlepiece etc.

Use the internet for ordering presents (and food shopping), and get things wrapped if the service is offered. I was going to suggest writing cards while feeding (I did loads of Sudokus one handed) but that may be too optimistic. Perhaps, if you can find them early, try to get the cards written before birth in batches of 5 or 10 at a time in peaceful moments (that half hour watching tv before bed?). Littlies love licking or sticking on stamps so that could be another distraction for them after birth at home.

When you are sitting snuggling new babies, bring older ones over for a Christmas story together (either you reading or getting them to read to new babies if old enough). If you don't have Christmas storybooks, borrow from library. Practise singing Christmas carols together, turn on a Christmas DVD for older ones (maybe with some microwaved popcorn) while you are sitting feeding littlies in the same room. You might not want to get into full on baking sessions - but if you have cookie dough or pastry frozen in advance, you could do "baking" with the biggies while littlies are napping by just rolling out and cooking them (and a LOT less mess).

And don't have huge expectations - hope for loads but be prepared, at least mentally, to retreat to just yourselves hunkered down in your "cave" at home. Buy in a few tins of biscuits or boxes of mince pies for entertaining visitors, and be prepared to kick them out. Maybe try to set up a changing station downstairs as well as upstairs, and where you can keep a few spare clothes as well for emergency changes, which allows you to stay in the thick of things if you want. But be organised as much as possible beforehand - about the whole thing, not just Christmas.

Best of luck!!

chanie44 Sat 10-Aug-13 13:04:47

Some great ideas on here. My dc will be 3.8 and 1.4 at Xmas, so still too young to fully appreciate Xmas, but I want to make December fun for them.

I'm doing
Xmas eve hamper
Elf on the shelf
Letter to Santa
Snowman soup
Reindeer food
Decorate gingerbread houses
Visit the Xmas lights in Oxford street
Xmas eve buffet party for family

ApprenticeSeamstress Sun 18-Aug-13 23:43:52

I am so happy to have found this post!!
I've been so worried about Christmas since the OH got a job that means we won't be traveling 'home' to our families. Last year was the first DD didn't believe, she was ill and I really felt we'd lost the magic sad So I was worried saving it would be even more difficult without the big family vibe.
But MN to the rescue! I have made a pinterest board with all the ideas I feel will work for us, and am more excited about Christmas than I have been for a while.
Thank you!

Ps.. What is snowman soup?

WaitMonkey Mon 19-Aug-13 10:21:19

Snowman soup is just hot chocolate powder in a Christmas mug, usually finished off with a candy cane to stir with. Topped with a few marshmallows. grin

Our traditions-

We make stockings for the oets!
Letter to Santa
Gingerbread houses
Sparklers on Christmas Eve for Santa to find us!
Homemade gift or card for Santa to find.
Ice skating two days before Christmas!
Treasure hunt for the younger ones...

Also, my parents were Finnish (we moved when I was 8) so I continue some traditions, which is porridge for lunch (whoever finds the almond in it has to sing, but as a kid I hated it as I was terrible at singing, so usually they just 'perform'- so tell a joke or do a silly dance for instance) and we celebrate on Christmas Eve, which is fun as we get to visit friends on their Christmas the day after.

SugarHut Sat 31-Aug-13 19:26:08

I love this!!! Just marking my place to post properly when I get back later smile x x x

BankerMommy2010 Sun 01-Sep-13 07:27:33

Oooh! I love this thread. Seeing as it is now september, I feel
It is perfectly acceptable to start talking about Christmas, I am a huge fan of Christmas and since having my son back in 2010 it has made me more determined to make Christmas extra magical, the past few Christmas' I have really gone to town, but my ds has been to young to understand but this year (he will be 4 in feb) is the first year he really understands whats going on.

This years new tradition is elf on a shelf he will be arriving on the 1st December with ds advent calendar and the elf on a shelf dvd ill also make a letter from our elf explaining why he has been sent.

DH always has Christmas eve off but it sometimes falls that I have to work, this year I break up on the 14th for christmas so have lots of time to prepare abd get organised.

This year, I am planning to have all of the house hold chores done so we can spend the day tiring our ds out. We will do some baking first thing, Christmas cookies for santa and will then head out for a walk and some lunch, when we get bsck, we'll watch a christmassy film, before getting little man an early bath so our elf can deliver his Christmas hamper, tbis will be delivered to his bedroom and I plan to sprinkle lots of glitter and elf dust around the hamper to add to the magic, I am planning to put bew Christmas pjs in, Christmas slipper socks, a Christmas story book a short Christmas dvd and some extra goodies that I come across in the meantime. We normally have a takeaway so we'll gave tgis then we will set about leaving santa and the reindeers their goodies and will spinkle reindeer dust and light our runway then it will be bed for little one, hubby & I will then relax with a little Christmas tipple and when we're certain he is fast asleep we will start the big present haul to the tree for morning.

Christmas eve is definitely the most magical day if the year. I love it x

harrietlichman Sun 01-Sep-13 07:36:18

Fantastic thread! I have a Christmas Book in which I write all my lists and things to do. I have used the same book for the last 8 years, so can look back on each one and know what I bought/made etc. I open the book on the same day every year.

That day is 1st september.

You have no idea how much I love today!!! (Dh thinks I'm mad, and so do most people who know about it. I have a feeling that on this thread, I have found my kind of people!!!!!!grin

colleysmill Sun 01-Sep-13 07:58:44

My Christmas traditions have changed a little over the years but at the mo:

Real tree involving trip to our little independent local garden centre and tree gets decorated by everyone

Christmas eve - crib service in the village church followed by a pint in the pub next door by their log fire (usually the rest of the family join us).
Back for tea (usually something like beef bourgeon already cooking in the oven) then a slow walk to the village green where the local church does carols by the Christmas tree. Most of the village turns out with lanterns and its magical watching all the families turn out.

Christmas day is fairly traditional - present opening is done altogether with mulled wine in hand, dinner by candle light. Board games in the evening.

I like the run up to the big day - we usually fit in a trip to Santa on a steam train and I like the local Christmas market (adults only too crazy for little kids) this year ds is big enough for a pantomime so I'm going to look into that. We lost my mum 6 years ago and she loved the pantomime on Christmas eve. I love getting out the decorations that I remember her having when I was a child - particularly a little pottery nativity scene a friend of hers made many years ago. Very nostalgic

cazakstan Sun 01-Sep-13 08:21:46

From the first Christmas my youngest daughter was born (November. 27 years ago) we all have homemade stockings which used to go under the tree, they now go by the end of our beds, pressies also under the tree we all get new P.J.'s for christmas...and have smoked salmon and champagne for breakfast along with mountains of chocolate...I cook the turkey whilst getting slowly pissed 'cos no one else drinks the champagne...a slurp with orange juice is all my girls and partner have...just to humour me. We all shower and get dressed and eventually sit down at the dining table to a perfect Christmas lunch in our new P.J.'s. We have no visitor''s our close family day...just one day of the year we stay indoors. Eat till bursting, watch cheesy movies and play monopoly to death...which involves...screaming, lying and cheating to win. The one day of the year when we all wear our P.J.'s all day...our family tradition.

happy 1st September harrietgrin enjoy opening your Christmas book

50shadesofknackered Sun 01-Sep-13 08:47:11

Awww Harriet that sounds lovely, enjoy today. I love this thread, I posted in July but I keep rereading it, it makes me feel all christmassy!

BankerMommy2010 Sun 01-Sep-13 11:04:22

So nice to come here and chat with fellow Christmas nutters!

I also have a book, although I tend to buy a new one every year as its gets full of lists and ideas and pages get pulled out when I go shopping.

Wibblytummy Sun 01-Sep-13 15:25:52

Ah finally the 1st of Sep, I can now be open about my Christmas planning and stop hiding it from my rather skeptical family and friends! smile

DH and I have been itching to do Elf on the Shelf for the last two Christmases but this year DS will be 2.8 so think he may finally understand it and we can add it to the traditions list for our house.

So far a few of our traditions are:

The wrapping evening. Glasses of champagne/wine/baileys/anything, DH puts it's a wonderful life on, we sit on the floor organising what's from Santa and what's from us. He attempts to wrap a present awfully, is shooed to the sofa where his role is then to top up glasses and hand me labels, sellotape and scissors as we grow increasingly tipsy.

Trip to the garden centre and local Christmas Barn to awe over incredible trees and decorations. I'm allergic to the real ones so we wistfully look at them before I have to shuffle off sneezing and itching.

Decorations are always up on the 1st weekend of December for us. DH plays his awful cover/karoke style version of Christmas music that he bought 5yrs ago thinking it was the genuine thing. Cat attacks and eats half the bauble strings before we can get them on the tree. We have a little tree that we will leave undecorated and do with DS this year as hopefully he will be old enough.

Christmas breakfast is always poached eggs, no idea how that began but I can't cook them and DH can so I happily support this tradition every year.

Christmas Eve tea is an open sandwich/ploughmans buffet style affair. Lots of tiger bread, yummy cheese, pickle, tomatoes and the honey roast ham.

Bubble bath for DS with matey bubbles and we both sit and read 'T'was the night before Christmas' to him.

My Dad still gives me a stocking as I refuse to grow up. Since I decided I didn't like clementines/oranges age 14 he has made it a feature every year. One year he hid it (literally in the foil) in the packaging of a Terry's chocolate orange and another he time once he wrapped up a mini crate of the things... So find the orange is now a tradition too!

iloveholidays Sun 01-Sep-13 15:32:43

think I need to buy a notebook for Christmas ideas smile

BankerMommy2010 Sun 01-Sep-13 15:45:46

I was poorly with the flu last Christmas. It was horrid and I had to drag myself up to do all the santa stuff with our little boy! This year were dosing up on vitamin tabs and nothing is stopping our fun! Can't wait to start on the mulled wine x

SugarHut Sun 01-Sep-13 18:41:08's September....all things Christmassy are now fully acceptable to obsess over ;)

My first part is about the hitler like thoroughly sensible routines I have adopted through trial and error....the second are our traditions....

The first sort of tradition is that 99% of presents are bought by the end of November. All large presents, for all family members, all small presents....then all that is left is the fun stuff, smaller pressies for friends, stockings, so December I actually really enjoy, instead of becoming increasing panicked as the countdown happens to the big day.

Secondly, I have a Christmas folder, full of the best Christmas cake recipes, decorating ideas. This is great for when you have lazy days in December and you can flick through and stumble across something lovely to make. I make spreadsheets ready printed to note down who other presents are from so my son can send out all his thank you cards in January. All present receipts go in there, all guarantees etc.

My traditions start on December 1st, when the tree goes up...we have a stunning (but sadly fake) one as our dog pees all over any real one for some unknown reason. We spend the whole day doing this, tree up, making gold and cream paperchains, dabbing orange clove oil all over the wreaths...this is the most long lasting gorgeous Christmas smell. I buy some of those make your own gingerbread house kits. We do all this to a Christmas playlist on the ipod-me-bob and the grown ups generally get a little merry, usually resulting in some fabulously exaggerated anatomy on the gingerbread people smile Also at this time I deliver a Christmas hamper to all the women in the the festive period in my humble opinion shouldn't be a massive climax to one day, but enjoyed for the whole month. The hamper has a new pair of slippers, a yankee candle, some hot chocolate, a mulled wine kit, a footsoak/pumice kit and usually something silly like a sparkly santa hat.

In the run up this year, we'll be going to Lapland UK, will see the new Disney "Frozen" and to the panto...which by the way, if you are intending on going, 75% of the seats at our theatre are already sold, so if we're anything to go by, book now! We go carol singing, and go to as many garden centres on our general travels.

On the 23rd, I do the big shop (less all pick up bits like the bird, other meat) at about midnight...the supermarkets are empty, and it's not so late you are zombified. If I could give you one tip, do this. You'll be home by 2am....leave all unpacking other than fridge stuff until you wake up in the morning.

So, Christmas Eve, wake up to a breakfast of smoked salmon and eggs, quick, easy, and I can get the rest of the shopping away whilst everyone really gets a full tum and into a super mood. We then get straight to a nearby farm for our meat, just some ideas if you are sick of turkey like me...last year they made a wonderful 3 bird galantine. This year, goose. Get them to make all your stuffings, chipolatas, pigs in blankets, barely more than the supermarket, and saves you sooooo much time. We then dump the meats back home, and go to some local craft barns and choose an extra decoration each to put up, and we cut a lot of fresh holly to decorate the house with. I then set the dining table up with a load of old fashioned Christmas games, each year, his stocking has wind up tin toys and mechanical gubbins, which all get set up, along with the penguin helter skelter race thing (we all had one of these, you know what I mean.) This take us through to just after lunch which is some kind of pate and cheese (and here commenceth the steady flow of fizz) and as it starts to get a little darker, we go out for a stroll and look at the incredible amount of lights some of the houses in the area have put up ;) We come back to hampers, which are new pjs (check out the new hatley ranges on amazon) a new dvd to watch (this year, Tim Burtons Nightmare Before Christmas) some hideous monster gungey bubble bath that changes colour, and a MUST HAVE which gets read before bed time, a reading of the Night Before Christmas, in pop up, by Robert Sabuda....if you haven't seen this, it is possibly the most beautiful architectural pop up book ever. Don't think pop up means for age 3 and under, it truly is a work of art.

We watch the dvd, have his bath, read the book, set out a carrot for Rudolph and a mince pie for the jolly old chap, then it's bed time for bonzo...his stocking is hung at the end of his bed. I take it later, fill it, and then place it on his legs as my mother did to me. I still remember the feeling as a child of waking up feeling that gentle weight on my legs and knowing Father Christmas had been. He always gets some soft mixed berries and nuts, and a torch, so he can nibble and leave me in peace for as long as possible when he wakes up.

Christmas day, up and in the kitchen basically from daft o clock. All presents from non family will have been accumulating under the tree all month, but they are now joined by all of Father Christmas'. Family arrive early, around 10am and I ask each couple to bring either fizz, or mince pies, or sausage rolls which I can heat and we munch on until dinner is served. Everyone kisses under the mistletoe on the way in. A couple of larger pressies are opened and the men sit with the children assembling new toys etc. To start dinner, we always have silly crackers, racing reindeer are quite fun, or try the ones with whistles where you blow a tune together. And after the cheeseboard we smoke the house out with indoor fireworks, which never get old. We stand for Queenie, and play charades as we're all pretty merry by now. The rest of the pressies are opened, and we all sit about feeling rather rotund while the children play. As it gets darker, we all go for a walk so the dog regains some sanity. Home again for a tidy of the kitchen and a quick spread of cold meats/small buffet, the children peel off one by one, and the adults stay up playing whichever board game Dad has received this year.

The end smile x x x

Rubybrazilianwax Sun 01-Sep-13 19:25:10

Harriet I love the idea of a Christmas book. I have my own recipes written down in the back pages of my Nigella cookbook, but a special book to keep it all in is a lovely idea.

Christmas Films Traditions:

I love a spooky film before Christmas-
The Turning of the Screw
Whistle and I'll Come to You
Crooked House

I tried to watch The Woman in Black- chickened out after 20 minutes blush

Some I watch over and over-
Love Actually
Father Ted Christmas Special
Lost Christmas
Home Alone

<<starts making lists>>

SugarHut we watch Tim Burtons A Nighmare Before Christmas on Hallowe'en.
Then my DC sing the "What's This, What's This " song at me.

SugarHut Mon 02-Sep-13 09:42:09

70....we've never seen it before!! It's all packed up in his hamper ready to go for Christmas Eve though smile We always do Disney's Once Upon A Christmas too, quite a few times in the run up....but to be fair, that's more for me ;) I've never heard of Lost Christmas or Nativity (seen about 10 films ever lol) are either good for a 5yr old boy?

x x x

jamtoast12 Mon 02-Sep-13 10:23:37


Nativity is great and most kids love it as half the cast are their age! The songs are catchy too. I didnt like nightmare before Xmas...for me its not Christmassy enough and too dark for Christmas Eve but maybe that's because I have girls who are more into barbie Christmas smile

Arthur Christmas and home alone are great but you can't beat the grinch!

sugar "Lost Christmas" was on TV (so I don't think it has an age rating) but I don't think a 5yo would enjoy it or even sit through it.
There's a couple of scary/shock bits ( car accident and a little girl requiring rescue) .

Nativity OTOH is fabulous. You can't help but fall in love with Mr Poppy.
Nativity 2 will be out on DVD (though I'm not a fan of David Tennant).

And yes, the songs are annoyingly catchy grin

SugarHut Mon 02-Sep-13 12:45:38

Sweet Baby Jesus. Has anyone read the Poncetastic Christmas thread? Scroll halfway up, look right, see about a dozen Christmas related threads in purple, it's about halfway down.

Literally just laughed so hard I could have had an incident. Not only is this me to a tee, but it's bloody hilarious. God bless her for writing this, sending to all my equally perfect Christmas obsessed friends!!!!

x x x

SugarHut Mon 02-Sep-13 12:48:21

Lack of punctuation (slaps wrists) makes that look like we are perfect people obsessed with Christmas. Ohhhhhhhh no no no no (Churchill voice.)

We are a happy, hapless, mainly drunk over the festive period, bunch of girls obsessed with the perfect Christmas smile

x x x

Can you bump the Poncetastic Christmas Thread?

<<flutters eyelashes>> smile

SugarHut Mon 02-Sep-13 20:44:00

I would if I had anything greater than Neanderthal skills on a laptop... <<twiddles thumbs awkwardly>>

If you type "poncetastic tips" in the MN search box then her prior years pop up, the woman who starts it all is called FellatioNelson, and is utterly brilliant. It appears she always starts the annual thread on the last Saturday of September, and it goes from there...has rather a cult following it would seem...I'm in!!

x x x

fuzzpig Sun 08-Sep-13 18:33:28

It has cheered me up rereading this. I will look at poncetastic later (although it is worlds apart from my half-arsed ways!).

One of my traditional must-watch things, since I got the box set last year, is the awesome original Vicar of Dibley xmas special!

Wanksock Wed 11-Sep-13 20:45:27

Ours are -

Cloth advent calendar with pockets, some filled with sweets and some with cheap little toys

Tree night! Decorating to Christmas tunes, with some fizz and party food.

Santa at the beach with the real reindeers.

I wrap the presents when on my own one night with baileys or Tia Maria!

Panto every year.

Xmas eve - make the snack for Santa during the day, either cake or some kind of sweets. Sparkly reindeer food. Santa key. New pjs and a book. Hot choc before bed.

Santa sorts all the presents into piles per person. Santa doesn't wrap his, he lays them out on the sofa!! He also leaves a bit of his beard on the glass he drank from!

OhDearNigel Thu 12-Sep-13 11:25:43

This year we are Family HQ as we have just moved into a new house which is big enough to host everyone comfortably. So our house will be full of people for most of the season (which is just how I like it). My uncle is coming to stay with my parents, he lives in Scotland and I haven't seen him in over 15 years. I am having annual leave and will be off from the 21st to the 2nd January. DH is a police officer and will be working over Christmas. My plans for the year are a mix of old traditions and some new for this year, DD will be nearly 4 and therefore first year she will really appreciate it. I ahve an ancient Advent Calendar that I used when I was little, DD has it now.

23rd December Having a drinks party with friends
Christmas Eve - we have a christingle craft group at church followed by service in the morning. I am making DD a peacock fancy dress outfit for her to wear. We will come home via the park and feed the ducks then come home for her Elf Box and bake some biscuits for the santa tray. I always make a Julbord for Christmas Eve with mulled wine. It will be open house. DD has a special Santa Tray with a robin on it, then she will go to bed

Christmas Day - DH's on earlies and is bringing his section round for breakfast as we live very close to the station, so I will be cooking full english for about 10 police officers !! Christmas Lunch happens around 2pm then we might play this chocolate roulette idea. We will be about 12-15 for lunch. My parents do a charity thing (we used to do this until we had DD) so they will come round after they have finished for a snack buffet. Queen's Speech is essential.

Boxing Day we go to the bandstand in the morning and watch the entertainment. My Dad always wears a flashing Christmas tie and my Mum wears antlers smile Then everyone will be round to ours for Boxing Day tea and trivial pursuit.

bumping for wibblyjelly wink

wibblyjelly Sat 14-Sep-13 03:53:25

Thanks 70 will have a read grin

wibblyjelly Sat 14-Sep-13 12:00:07

DS will be 15 months this Christmas, so although too young to understand, we are going to start traditions this year. These are what we would like to do as stolen from other MNettersgrin and what we already do....

We have slowly replaced my crappy IKEA tree decorations with sentimental ones over the years. Our tree has an array of weird and wonderful decorations from dh's grandmas hand knitted ones, to our amazing rubber duck decoration!

I've just told dh about wrapping paper over the living room door, and elf on a shelf, both of which we are using this year.

As well as having a chocolate advent calendar, we are also using an idea I saw on here last year for a book advent. We are going to buy ds 23 books, a mixture of new and charity shop bought ones. We are going to put them into a bag, and ds will do a lucky dip each night for his bedtime story. Christmas Eve will of course be Twas the night before Christmas!

Christmas Eve hamper will consist of new pj's, dressing gown, slippers, and a new sippy cup for him to have a hot chocolate before going to bed. Once he is in bed, we will have a fish and chip dinner.

Christmas day we will be round my parents, so ds will open father Christmas presents in the morning, then after lunch, we open family presents. This takes hours as we bring them out 1 at a time. This will include my df complaining about how long it takes.
The Christmas day buffet in the evening, and Dr who.

At the weekend, we will be at dh's parents to do it all over again. grin

Monroe Sat 14-Sep-13 18:18:32

I have found my true home <<contented sigh>>

I love Christmas. I genuinely get a warm fuzzy feeling in my tummy when I walk down a supermarket isle and see the shelves slowly being stocked up with Christmas chocolates and advent calendars.

Our family traditions are still evolving and many have been pinched from here over the last few years.

They involve...

Xmas hamper, which is delivered 1st December by our Elf Cranberry. This year DH has suggested we get another Elf and do 2 boxes as DS, 7 and DD, 3 are not overly keen on sharing and DS already considers Cranberry to be his Elf as he has been coming for the last 3 years. The boxes will have new onesies, toothbrush, bubbly bath stuff, Christmas book, dvd, chocs and the advent calendar.

We do elf on the shelf all December which the DC's love.

I have just booked our panto for the Saturday before Xmas, the matinee show which will be followed by tea out somewhere.

We visit Santa on the farm at the local National Trust park.

Last year I took DS to pick presents for family followed by the cinema and lunch out. I'll do this again this year with DD too.

Christmas fair / carol service.

PNP - they love getting their vidoes from the big man.

This year we are planning on going out Xmas eve, not sure where yet but maybe bowling and tea out / run around the park depending on the weather and probably Christingle service.

Before bed we track Santa with Norad, do the milk / carrot / mince pies .
This year if the weather is okay I want to do the candles on the drive to light the runway and scatter the magic reindeer oats.

Christmas morning, the DCs bring their stockings in to our room and open them on our bed.

Another new one I want to do this year is the wrapping paper over the living room door for the DC's to burst through when we all come downstairs.

Also I am going to keep back a couple of presents either till after dinner or Boxing day depending on how late we get finished! Dinner is at home with DM and my gran and is always pretty traditional. We also don't bother with starters and very rarely manage dessert

blondieminx Thu 19-Sep-13 18:01:25

Luffly thread <sighs contentedly>

SugarHut, thank you - have just ordered the Robert Sabuda book smile

Bump for Mckayse

Mckayz Wed 30-Oct-13 17:58:51

Thanks smile

fuzzpig Wed 30-Oct-13 18:43:22

We are slightly altering a tradition this year - instead of going to the cinema and lunch in the run up to Xmas, we will do it between Xmas and new year. Less hectic as no school stuff, and is a fun family event to look forward to after the big day too.

fuzzpig Wed 30-Oct-13 18:47:05

Also it's funny how the things that get remembered are not always what you'd expect. DD started talking about Xmas recently and the first thing she said was "Xmas is when we get pancakes for breakfast!" ... so I guess that's a tradition now. smile

They also really loved getting a new cuddly toy on Xmas eve and I think that will become a regular thing, they don't get them at other times (in fact most of the ones they have are actually mine blush)

fuzzpig if you want to do a "GoodLuck Charlie" tradition , you need to make Christmas Tree Shaped Pancakes. grin

(If you don't know what GoodLuck Charlie is -- think yourself very lucky )

fuzzpig Wed 30-Oct-13 21:52:43

Apparently I am very lucky then... <baffled>


I wouldn't say all these are traditions but this is how our Christmas will go this year:

1st weekend in December ( actually starting 29th nov) weekend away in Manchester to visit Christmas markets and Trafford centre etc.

2nd weekend; tree up on the Saturday followed by Sunday school nativity then visiting Santa at a local farm. You can stay for the whole day and were going with sil and nieces and nephew so will have lunch there and see the animals too.

3rd weekend: visit big garden centre with Christmas decorations up and ds wants to buy a snow globe from there.

Not sure about 4th weekend but we'll definitely visit dh's grandparents.

23rd: do big shop in Sainsburys that is always randomly quiet in our town grin and do some Christmas baking and tidy the house.

Christmas Eve: have nice breakfast ( pastries I think), go to church with dsis and nieces( although our vicar is leaving in Nov so not sure what will happen with Christmas services with no proper vicar sad ) then have lunch in pub next door. Let ds and nieces run off some steam in park next door to that then home where Santa will have left an early present for ds ( I'm not a fan of CEH but this year he needs 2 things early so we're going to tell him that Santa delivers an extra present to boys and girls who have been really good in their first term at school). Ds will then have a (very) early bath with lush glitter bath bomb, get into his onesie ( from his early present) and read Santa is Coming to X ( seems silly to give up him that on Christmas Day when he's already been...) and then we're going to a ' onesie party' at sil's. I'm actually more excited for Christmas Eve this year!

Christmas Day: ds will no doubt have his annual lie in confused while me and dh wake up early and stomp around increasingly noisily trying to wake him up! Then we go down stairs to see if he's been grin ds will open his presents then we get ready and go to sil's again for breakfast, where the pils will also be. We'll swap presents there and stay til about 12ish and hopefully visit dsis on the way home. Then we'll open presents from each other ( we're each helping ds to choose the other one this year) and I'll make lunch. It's just for the 3 of us so no massive preparations but it'll be nice and there will be all the trimmings with christmas pudding for dessert. In the evening we'll have chocolates, wine/ lemonade for ds and tv.

Then on Boxing Day we always go up to the lakes for a walk and have lunch in a cafe.

voscar Sat 02-Nov-13 09:57:47

Fuzpig - a friend of mine has a fizz and filmfest on as eve. It's an open house and all friends/family pop in during the day for half and hour at any point. The only rules are that Xmas films will be playing non stop and fizz will be drunk. I'm really looking forward to going this year.

krisskross Sat 02-Nov-13 11:42:07

Loving these so marking M y spot so I can copy!

Mckayz Sat 02-Nov-13 12:35:13

Olibean I stomped about last year trying to wake the boys up. They get up at 6 the other 364 days of the year.

CrotchStitch Sun 03-Nov-13 00:53:27

I thought we didn't have any traditions but reading this thread it seems that we do grin
I have always longed for a well coordinated and tasteful tree- I don't have this as DS has a school made decoration from every year plus one we choose when out on the special "decoration buying expedition" DSDad has also taken to buying DH and I, DD and DS baubles which is quite sweet smile and adds to the general tackiness
I have a small gold glittery Santa tree decoration that was hidden on the tree every year for DB and I to find. For the past 6 years or so it has been DS who finds him which I love smile
We always went to town on Christmas Eve as kids and we will be doing that this year as I will be uber organised grin Gingerbread lattes in Starbucks then home for a long dog walk, a buffet tea while tracking Santa most likely for the last time <sob> and then bed.
The big day will be stockings downstairs as my DPs are staying with us, church, presents, pub, dinner in some sort of order (we too are without a vicar so are yet to see what will be happening when)
More dog walking, some silly games etc (the men of the family are getting model boats in their stockings to race down the stream) TV and then bed smile

cheekbyjowl Sun 03-Nov-13 22:01:16

Monroe would you like another child? im almost 30 but available for adoption wink

MARGUERITE18 Tue 05-Nov-13 11:30:09

Every year dd's and I choose a new decoration each for the tree, this year we used disneyland paris ones.

Christmas is a charitable time- We always buy a macdonalds for 1 homeless person, give out socks and mince pies wrapped to the big issue sellers and fill an operation christmas child shoebox. We also buy 1 charity gift or gift from an independent crafter/ small business for each person we buy for.

Everyone gets an advent calendar or 2. We always go to see a show- jungle book this yr, white christmas last year. We always go to the xmas markets. We go shopping for new pyjamas on xmas eve and spend our xmas money on boxing day. We always go to a christmas light switch on and have 1 baking day and 1 craft day

wamabama Tue 05-Nov-13 13:20:28

We watch a Christmas movie every day of December. Starts off with my favourite that I really don't have the patience to wait for- National Lampoons Christmas vacation and we leave Polar Express till Christmas Eve.

Dc are all toddlers so we do a lot of crafts throughout December. Make paper plate snowmen and Santa's, paper chains, xmas cards, snowglobes etc.
We also do a lot of baking. The cake and mince pies are done in advance but we bake Christmas shape cookies, I make vegan eggnog, stollen, chocolate orange cake for Christmas day etc. And this year I will accomplish the gingerbread house and people!

Usually we go to the mall Santa but this year we're going on the Santa steam train which I can't wait for.

We all wear Christmas jumpers and the DC wear Christmas pudding hats. Also have the Tots Bots Christmas nappies for a photo opportunity!

This year I'm making the garland and stockings. Also actually doing stockings for the first time. Usually just have a santa sack with their names on each filled with presents. But I've got smaller stocking presents for them to hang on the fireplace. I'd like to see carol singers this year too.

1st December elf on the shelf arrives with a note explaining why he's there, Christmas duvet, Christmas colouring book and Christmas books. Also they start the advent calendar and we have a little countdown to Christmas thing we change the numbers on.

Christmas Eve we bake choc chip cookies for Santa and have a special Christmas plate and mug for him to put them and his milk on and the carrot for Rudolph. We go for a walk and when we return eots has gone leaving a note explaining that he'll see them again next year and there's a little hamper for each DC with new PJS (this year all matching!), slippers, chocolate coins, marshmallows and a soft toy. Then we all settle down with hot choc, cream and marshmallows to watch Polar Express. Read The night before Christmas before bed.

We read a lot of Christmas books throughout December aimed at children- Jolly Christmas postman, Dear Santa, The Grinch etc.

DH and I have a lovely wrapping evening where mainly he wraps because I'm absolutely useless grin and I 'prettify' them. We usually wrap in brown paper with pretty ribbon and we scoff mince pies, watch White Christmas and swig some eggnog whilst we're doing it. ALWAYS drink eggnog out of the Lampoons moose mugs, how else?! grin

Because DC are so young atm DH and I do the decorating on the evening of 30th Nov when DC are asleep. Always have a real tree with a gingerbread man skirt, we buy a new bauble each year although this year I've bought quite a few new vintage ones. Decorations are a mixed bag of vintage/traditional and random stuff like handmade felt ones and Nightmare before Christmas. Got our first outdoor lights this year to wrap around the tree in the front garden. Cushion covers become Christmas ones!

We have a 'holiday tree' which is decorated for Halloween, Christmas and Easter. I put lights around it and for it's decorated with a mixture of the DC's crafts and little felt decorations.

Christmas Day the TV is banned grin. After waking early and opening presents, I make breakfast (from scratch) which is croissants, pain au chocolat and breakfast muffins. DC usually have a nap around midday and DH and I crack on with Christmas dinner. We have tried starters in the past but the main is so massive that the starter seems to ruin it and half of it gets left and wasted so I don't know if I'll do a starter this year. We try a different veggie main each year but none have overwhelmed so far so we're going to try a new vegan roast which has been released this year. Homemade onion gravy and lots of veggies. Dessert is chocolate orange cake and Christmas cake. Might try making a Christmas pudding this year. DH and I swig champagne with edible glitter. I'm decorating the table for the first time this year, I haven't bothered before because I thought DC would just pull it all down but I'm going to attempt. Got a robin and Christmas pudding tablecloth, fox napkin rings, fox and owl napkins, a stag head candle for the centre and russian doll salt and pepper shakers. Sounds like a random mixture which goes with us grin. When DC go to bed DH and I spend the evening playing board games with a chocolate hamper.

We go to the Christmas market every year but this year we might not take DC and just have an us day there because the DC never seem to enjoy it and just end up tantrumming around the market so...

And I probably missed something but I think that's it! So excited.

TicTacZebra Tue 12-Nov-13 08:31:29

Best. Thread. Ever.

I'm so excited this year as DD is 2 and will have some idea of what's going on. It's also DS's first Christmas. We have been emotionally blackmailed into going to my mums this year, so we've decided to have our own Christmas on the 23rd which is also my birthday.

DP and I will decorate the tree once the DC are in bed and tell them that the Christmas faries did it. We always go to the local garden centres and the Christmas market in December. We also go put and pick a decoration for the tree. For DDs first Christmas, she had a 'baby's first Christmas' bauble. Last year she had one with her name on and I think she is old enough to choose her own this year. DS will be getting 'baby first christmas.' DP and I also have a DD free shopping day. (bf DS has to come with us)

On 'Christmas eve' we will let the DC open a present early. We will do a major clean up of the house and just get things ready for the next day. For dinner, we will have an indoor picnic on the living room floor with mixtures of all our favourite snacky foods. In the evening, the chritmas eve hamper will bring new pjs, bath bombs, hot chocolate with marshmallows in our matching Christmas mugs and mickeys once apon a Christmas DVD. We will sit and watch it before bed time for the DC. Just before bed we will put out mince pie/milk for Santa. We will hang the magic Santa key and a carrot for the reindeer from the tree in the garden.

Once the DC are in bed we will do last minute wrapping and fill the stockings while watching something christmassy and hopefully a few drinks. A box or two of Christmas chocolates may be opened too wink

On Christmas day, stockings are opened on our bed and christmas breakfast is always sausage sandwiches followed by pancakes. As we'll be getting a traditional Christmas dinner on the real Christmas day, we'll probably do something different for dinner. Not sure what yet. We will try to stretch the present opening by saving some for after dinner.

Sorry this is so long! I didn't mean to write so much, I'm just so excited!

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