My family is the furthest thing from traditional you can get. But, that doesn’t mean we don’t have our very own traditions at Christmas time. We’ve been doing some of these since I can remember, and that’s truly what Christmas is about for me. Spending time with my family in comfortable annual routines that are even more magical at this time of year.
After my cousin and uncle’s birthday, my mum, my step dad and myself usually set a designated day to put the Christmas tree and decorations up. That in itself is one of the best traditions we have. While mum and Mark are battling with the Christmas tree that seems to get heavier every year, I get to set up the decorations around the living room. As a child, I loved setting up the nativity set we’ve had for years. I used to sit for hours and hours paying with Baby Cheesy (I couldn’t say Jesus when I was younger, don’t judge me.), Mary, the donkey and the others. Every year bar one we’ve done this. And every year, the feelings I had when I was 4 years old come flooding back to me. It’s times like that, I wish time would just stand still, or rewind. Those memories are some of my fondest ones. Some of the most innocent and purest times I’ve ever experienced. I think what I love the most about this tradition is the fact that as a family, we’re still working together, but making something beautiful in the process.
Another one of my favourite Christmas traditions is well and truly old school. Usually a week or so before Christmas, I have one of my closest friends, Cerian, come to mine and we make and decorate gingerbread houses. Not only is the whole routine comforting and therapeutic, but sharing Cerian’s company while my mum frets over what mischief we’re getting up to, that’s what I love the most about it. From pre-teens to young adults, Cerian and myself have been through a lot together, and in our own personal lives. But Christmas is the one time in the entire year we feel like kids again. We feel completely free of responsibilities, troubles and life. It’s just us and my mum, making gingerbread houses that will soon be demolished by rumbling bellies.
Have you ever been taken on a drive with your parents to see the local Christmas decorations in your town? Every year my mum would drive me around and we’d see beautiful, tacky, strange and elaborate houses coated in an extraordinary amount of Christmas decorations. As the years passed by, I grew a fondness of a particular home. In a town close to mine, there’s a home tucked away nicely from main roads and peering eyes. Every year, the owners decorate their home in such a breathtakingly beautiful way. I feel so drawn to it. I’ve even fantasised about it being a gateway to Narnia. In the dim, dark blue light, the shining lights, the beautiful trees and flowers and decorations all work together to create Winter Wonderland in the owners front lawn. Something about seeing the effort these people put into decorating their home so wonderfully warms my heart. It’s something I really look forward to seeing. It just reminds me that these people have no obligation to make their home look that beautiful. But they do it for themselves. And I’d like to think they do it for people like me, too. For the people who sometimes need that beautiful picturesque scene to inspire them. We’ve yet to make the journey to see the house this year, but there’s still 8 days until Christmas, right?
For years we had family come to see us on Christmas Eve. We’d have a party with just us. We’d eat, drink, play games, talk about what we wanted, what we hoped we’d get, but most of all, we spent time with each other. I’d absolutely love it! I’d wear something special and sparkly just so I could sit around and feel like a princess at Christmas. I’d even dress Fudgie up in a Santa costume for everyone’s delight. Christmas Eve is usually the time we all spend together, happy, hopeful, full of love. And I couldn’t ask for anything other than that.
When Christmas Day is done and dusted, I’m still buzzing with excitement. All thanks to seeing the rest of my family on Boxing Day. Cold Meat And Chips Day. I spoke about this in more detail in a previous Blogmas post, but I absolutely love Boxing Day. This year I’m actually working for the morning and then spending time with special family members in the afternoon. At first I was a little sad about it, but now, I’m rather looking forward to seeing my second family literally the day after Christmas. When the hard work is done, and I’ve dealt with the rude customers that will no doubt come in their thousands to our tiny store, I’ll get to settle down and eat some crumble with Darcie Dog, Grandma and my baby brother. What a great day. Every Boxing Day is different every year, we have the same types of food, but each year brings something new. And I’m really excited to see what this year will bring us.
If the above doesn’t sound like Christmas traditions, then I apologise. They’re something we do every year, and on those days, I’ve had some of the most amazing memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. And that’s all that really matters, isn’t it? So until tomorrow, have an awfully big adventure!