Families have their own traditions at Christmas. Their own way of preparing for Father Christmas and the celebrations on Christmas Day. Christmas Eve tends to be the day where all the plans have to be put in place to enable the family traditions to be carried through to Christmas Day.
Last night Philip and I were talking about how our Christmas Day was planned when we were little and the rituals around the Christmas stocking and Father Christmas leaving our gifts. We thought that these little rituals would make a fun blog post.
Philip is from a large family and has five brothers and, alas, no sisters. Christmas was pretty hectic in his house but they and a wonderful time every year. On Christmas Eve the boys would of course be very excited and before they went to bed they put a sock out on the end of the bed. In the morning Father Christmas had left a small gift and the receiving of this gift meant that he had been and more gifts were downstairs.
Each brother had a chair waiting for them in the lounge and their gifts were on them. There was a scramble to find ‘their’ chair and the gifts were opened. Breakfast followed, the toys were played with and then of course the large Christmas dinner was eaten. They then often watched an old film on Christmas afternoon while Philip’s Mother and Father relaxed a little. A piece of Christmas cake kept them going and then the games started – made up by Philip’s Father. All sorts of quizzes and word games were played which amused them all for several hours. As the evening wore on they of course became quite hungry and so they descended on the kitchen to make turkey sandwiches. Great fun was had by all.
I am from an equally large family but as the youngest I only really remember my elder brother at the house at Christmas. A great memory for me is the Christmas tree. It was always real but often purchased rather late – my Father didn’t like the tree in the house too long with all those pesky needles. I remember the year when it really was left too late and had to make do with a rather sad branch of a larger tree as this was all that was available on Christmas Eve. This was duly decorated with the usual decorations although these didn’t quite hide the tree’s embarrassment!
My Father loved Christmas and made it magical for myself and my brother. Even as an adult he would still make sure that we went outside at night to see if we could see Father Christmas and to hear the sleigh bells – a lovely memory.
Christmas Eve generally meant little sleep as Father Christmas delivered his gifts to my bedroom and I was desperate to see him. Exhaustion would take over and I would sleep for a couple of hours. In the early hours of the morning I would wake to find a sock of my Father’s filled with 2d (I’m showing my age here), an apple, a very tiny gift and, very un pc, a chocolate smoking set. The main present would be at the end of the bed and this was immediately taken to my parent’s room to show them.
Our Christmas day, as in so many households, meant a great deal of eating with my Mother working very hard producing many delicious meals and the evening was a mix of television and games of charades. My Father took charades to an extreme and the whole lounge was redesigned into a set and costumes were often worn. This was always hilarious and we used to ache from laughing by the end of the evening.
Both Philip and I were children several decades ago but the memories of our childhood Christmas’s are so precious. I think that creating a ‘family’ way of doing Christmas is part of the excitement: the rituals, the Christmas decorations which come out year after year, the games, entertainment and food are all so personal and really make the day special. It is funny but it is the simple things which we both remember, not the lavish gifts. You can give so much by creating a special memory for a child and they can be free.
We hope that your family enjoys hanging up their stockings this Christmas and it is everything you wish for.