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

(105 Posts)
70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 24-Jul-13 14:09:57

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

A much better link for the jigsaw, last one was American

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 24-Jul-13 18:14:10

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

glenthebattleostrich Wed 24-Jul-13 18:36:27

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.

attheendoftheday Wed 24-Jul-13 20:13:02

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

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 24-Jul-13 22:54:37

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 :-)

onehellofaride Thu 25-Jul-13 13:10:56

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.

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