Sunday, 1 December 2013

Sunshine and Christmas Traditions

A few weeks ago I was honoured to receive the sunshine award from Jo. As part of the award she wanted to know all about our Christmas traditions and that sounded like a great idea, so we decided to tell you all about ours - and ask you all about yours!

Still being relatively early in our married life we're still making up what Christmas looks like as we go along. Some things we like and repeat, others we decide were better as one off's. Traditions are being started left right and centre - and a few are being continued from our childhoods.

We've spent every Christmas together so far with different people in different places. No two have yet been alike - and that's just the way we like it. We've spent them alone, with friends and with family. Sometimes we've been at our house - sometimes we've visited others.

So when we're at ours, what do we always do?

We often have a real tree. A big one. This started the year we went to our local Homebase where they were all pre-wrapped. With no other way of choosing we went for the one that had the most bulk for its height and then spent the rest of Christmas trying to dodge it as it took over the whole living room. There's something special about the way pine needles get everywhere and can be found for months that we wouldn't miss.

We go to Church. As members of our local baptist church we love getting stuck into the Christmas services. Nativities and carols, contemplation's and celebrations - we'll be at the lot.

We always open our presents slowly. This one comes from both our families. There is definitely no free-for-all with what is under the tree - the presents are made to last as much of the day as possible. Everyone watches everyone else open their gifts and we all take it in turns. Neither of us can imagine this any other way, and so this is one tradition that has definitely stuck.

We start Christmas day with bagels, smoked salmon and cream cheese. This one I think is quite a unique tradition. It was a favourite of ours at a Bristol tea shop and we fancied recreating it at home as something special for our first Christmas together. It worked so well that it's become a fixture.

We spend quality time with family. Regardless of where we are for the main event we make sure that we get a few good days with each of our families over the holidays. Plenty of time for films, games and brisk winter walks.

We listen to the same Christmas music. The first of December comes around and out comes the Christmas music. This is always a complete mix of traditional carols and cheesy classics. Our favourite though, that is played to death for the whole month, is the Christmas album from Straight No Chaser; amazing versions of Christmas favourites - all a cappella. We would definitely recommend it.

We try and make our own cards. We set up a production line and get cracking on these. Its a very different skill to those we make for birthdays throughout the year and often takes some careful though and normally a template or two.

We mix and match our Christmas dinner. We take this very much as it comes. Last year we boned a chicken, and then rolled it up with as much stuffing as it could take. It was very tasty and this year we're thinking of doing the same again - but maybe with a turkey as there will be more of us! One year we had lamb and on another we had a traditional turkey - bones included.

And now we're feeling really nosy and would love to hear all about your Christmas traditions. What do you do? Where do you go? Who do you spend it with? What do you eat? We want to know it all!


  1. Thank you for accepting the award, I loved hearing all about your Christmas traditions. Before we had kids, we spent Christmas day at our parent's houses but for the past eighteen years, we've had every Christmas day in our own house. That came from me not wanting to tear the kids away from their presents. We always have turkey for Christmas dinner, but I usually just buy a crown, there's so much waste on a whole turkey, but we usually have beef too. We've never had a real tree and I think we're going to buy a new artificial one this year. I've been after a new one for the past few years but we've made do, but I've taken a fancy to one in a nearby garden centre so I hope that will be in our home soon. I agree about the present opening, we always take it in turns to open a present too, it takes us hours to open our gifts.

    1. Turkey and beef sounds great. As a child we'd often have roast gammon on Christmas Eve and roast Turkey on Christmas day, and then there was a choice of cold meats for leftovers for the rest of the week! I hope you get your new tree :)

  2. Some wonderful traditions there. We always have egg on toast Christmas morning, which is too much as there is so much food at dinner. We do the same with

    1. Egg on toast is always a favourite in this house - missing it at the moment with the hens not laying. It seems taking time with presents is a popular one.

  3. Lovely post!
    We are making our own cards this year also. It's a first for us and the results are so-so but we are having fun.
    We don't have any children home anymore and that was hard to get used to. Getting everyone together is tricky so I have learned to just let the holiday happen as it will and not have too many expectations.
    What is not negotiable is my Christmas movie schedule. I rarely watch TV but beginning December 1st, I knit and sew happily away on all my little surprises while viewing every old sappy holiday film ever made.
    I put little effort in a tree anymore since we adopted five cats a few years ago. They make such a mess of it. I'm not sure what I am going to do this year. They seem to get more clever about being destructive every year.
    As for food, it's always lasagna on Christmas Eve and take out Chinese on Christmas Day with lots of fruitcake, cookies and mince pie in between. From Christmas Eve to New Year's Eve, I eat like a pig and then toss the bad stuff in the woods on New Year's Day.

    1. My parents cats always preferred the newspaper that was put under the tree to collect the needles - they would spend hours shredding it, hiding under it and pouncing on it! Decorations were always kept off the lowest branches though to reduce temptation to seek higher up for their entertainment.

      Do you have a favourite holiday film?

  4. Oh sounds as if you've started early Jenny if you've got your tree up already :) I enjoy smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on toast for breakfast/brunch on Christmas Day whilst himself tucks into a bacon butty. We are either at home for the day or some years have gone to visit my parents although sadly it's just Mum now. This year we're staying put as himself is working on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day:( There will be no time for a long leisurely meal but will have a roast dinner probably on New Year's Day instead. We have a real tree some years but if not I always bring plenty of greenery into the house for the festive season.

    1. Hi Anna. No tree for us yet - we'll be fetching one in a couple of weeks time. Sounds like Himself has landed all the shifts nobody else wants - I hope you have a jolly Christmas next year to make up for it. Moving some of the festivities to New Years Day sounds like a good plan.


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