Family Christmas traditions have a tendency to begin without you ever really noticing. They simply happen. One year you decide to do something fun – and then when you look back you realise you’ve been repeating it ever since.
My family Christmas traditions happened just like that. I don’t remember them ever starting, just that they’ve been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Christmas is funny like that. It’s defined as being “the annual Christian festival celebrating Christ’s birth, held on 25 December in the Western Church.” but I don’t know many people who celebrate it for religious reasons.
I know people who celebrate it for family, food, booze and presents – and I know that the love of those four things is universal. Which is why I thought I’d take the time to write about my family Christmas traditions. Because if I’ve learnt anything from years of tapping away on this blog, it’s that everyone experiences annual events a little differently—and it’s more than likely that my family Christmas traditions could be completely different to yours.
But the only way to know is to talk about it and see!
So, without further ado… I present my family Christmas traditions!
Cutting Down A Christmas Tree
Now, this is a tradition I actually remember starting—mainly because I only started it two years ago! Picking my own Christmas tree was a tradition that started because growing up we had an artificial tree that we’d reuse each year and I’d always dream of having a real tree (I know. Kid dreams are weird) and so when this kid grew up and moved out she… Lived in a flat that wasn’t big enough for a real tree.
But favour fortunes the persistent or something, because when I bought my very first property, I realised it had a corner which would be perfect for a Christmas tree. So when December rolled around on my first year in my first home, I decided that I’d do it: I’d go all out and pick my own tree! I stumbled across a local tree farm called Wylds Farm, and have returned every year since. (Update: until I relocated. Now I go to Stoke Goldington!)
Opening Your Advent Calendar
The above picture isn’t of my advent calendar, but eventually, I plan to get a wooden one because a) THEY CUTE, and B) I can fill it with all sorts of goodies. But for now, I have a chocolate advent calendar each year. For those who are unaware of advent calendars, each day corresponds with a door, and each day you get to open the door to see what’s behind it. Which, more often than not, is chocolate. Chocolate every day. Need I say more?
Listening To Christmas Tunes and Decorating The Christmas Tree
Once you’ve selected your Christmas tree, or gotten the artificial tree down from the loft, it’s time to decorate it. But this can only be done in one way; with a festive playlist!
The way trees are decorated varies per household. Some people decorate theirs with decorations made by their kids throughout the years (my mum’s favourite family Christmas tradition), whereas some people organise decorations via colour. Tinsel, beads, ball-balls, bows and fairy lights are all types of decorations used, with either a star or an angel sitting on top of the tree.
My tree currently has balls-balls and ornaments in a variety of glass, silver and white. Eventually, I’d like to include souvenirs from the places I’ve travelled, but I always forget to buy them when away, so this plan has currently fallen to the wayside.
Relax With A Christmas Movie
Am I watching a Christmas Movie in this photo?
Is it because I didn’t have any photos of me in front of the TV?
But boy do I love a Christmas Movie. Usually with a calorie-laden hot chocolate. Netflix realised loads of Christmas movies this year, such as The Princess Switch, The Christmas Chronicles and The Christmas Prince, but honestly? I’m a sucker for a classic. My ultimate favourites are The Santa Clause, The Holiday and Miracle on 34th Street. But Die Hard and Elf get an honourable mention too.
Watch The Annual Christmas Light Switch On
I used to do this but ever since I moved I’ve had a prime spot for viewing any firework festivities from the comfort of my sofa. All of the fun, none of the cold! But a lot of people will wrap up warm and head into their local city/town/village to watch as the lights switch on. There’s usually hot chestnuts, hot chocolate and late-night shopping for afters, too.
This year I skipped hanging out on the sofa and went to a pop-up ice rink with friends, where I managed to make it to the literal last minute, before falling straight on my ass.
Try and Guess Your Presents
My family hate this one. Mainly because I’ve gotten good at guessing what they are over the years. Which is probably why they decided to level up. For the past few years, they’ve been hiding my gifts in different shaped boxes to throw me off the scent. You’d think this new trick would stop me, but no. The minute the presents are under the tree, they officially become fair game for secret snooping.
Putting Out Snacks For Santa
This one is for the littles! I only obliged this year because I had my 4-year old nephew staying with me for Christmas. Otherwise, you won’t find mince pies anywhere near my house. But the tradition is to lay out a mince pie and glass of milk for Santa, and carrots for his reindeer, so that they can have a little late night snack to keep them energised whilst they deliver presents.
Pretending Like Santa’s Been
Another family Christmas tradition that I only did because of my nephew! Just before he came over I hid all of the presents so that the tree was empty. Then, once he had fallen asleep, we put the presents back under the tree, dusted some flour over the wood in the fireplace and put boot prints into the flour on top of the slate to make it looks as though Santa had trodden on snow. Magic snow of course. Snow that doesn’t melt or yano, feel, look, sound or smell like snow.
Speaking of, I feel weird about children and Christmas. I mean, on the one hand, it’s morally wrong to lie to a child about a glorified burglar who breaks into people’s houses but is terrible at it because he leaves presents instead of stealing the TV. But on the other hand, I remember how magical it felt to believe in Santa. Not just because of the mythical person per se, but because of the magic surrounding that time of year—and I’ll be damned if I’m the one who’s going to ruin that for him.
Christmas dinner is my favourite family Christmas tradition. It’s like THE amped up version of a roast dinner. Think of every Western comforting side dish you could imagine and it’s there. Cauliflower cheese? Check. Sticky red cabbage? Check. Pigs in blankets? Check. Roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings and honey roasted vegetables? Check. Check. Check.
Boxing Day Leftovers
It wouldn’t be Christmas if you didn’t go so overboard on food that you could practically live of leftovers for the next week. But usually, it all gets eaten on Boxing Day when families who couldn’t get together on Christmas Day, catch up the next day. The festivities are usually filled with food, fun and a whole host of board games!