Although we’re both completely exhausted from a very busy 2015 (no time for curated gift guides over here!) this is such a special time of year for us and we have many festive traditions.
On 1 December, no matter what is happening on that day, I have to decorate the house and put up the Christmas tree. This ritual also includes playing the cheesiest of carols while we don our hats and sing along. My mum hand makes us a new bauble for the tree every year, so we have quite a few lovely ones now. Bailey and Robert get to fill their advent calendar with sweets and in the evening, we play a Christmas movie. This year it was The Cat in the Hat Knows a lot about Christmas. We hang the children’s stockings on the end of their beds, and the dogs’ stocking gets hung near the tree. Last year we started the tradition of all the girls in the family (sisters, cousins, aunts, grannies) going to watch the ballet at the theatre – it’s The Nutcracker this year, can’t wait! On Christmas Eve we usually go to my parents for a traditional dinner if we are not away, and the littles get to open one present each. Then back home before we go to bed, we leave out milk and cookies and carrots, as well as a little note, for Santa and his reindeer. Christmas morning is chaos – Bailey and Robert finally get to open all their pressies – stockings first and then the bigger ones! We go to church and after that usually host lunch at our house. This year we have 13 adults and four children coming over, so it’s going to be super festive. Lunch will be a variety of cold meats – gammon, lamb, chicken and beef, along with some Mediterranean-inspired salads. And then Christmas pudding, fruit cake with slices of cheese (my fave!) mince pies and my traditional trifle which I make every year without fail for my husband – it’s his favourite! Another treat we absolutely cannot go without is White Christmas, you’ve never tasted anything quite so yummy. And last but not least, we always haul out Love Actually and this year we’re starting another new tradition by having some friends over for a Christmassy supper and watching it all together.
Growing up in England, I am still amazed by how a hot Christmas still just feels weird. No matter how many times I experience it. I’ve always been a stickler for tradition however and therefore did what I could to make sure the routines of my childhood were carried through. At least I did… until I married a man who cares not one wit about tradition and, well basically I had to start all over again. I have let go of almost all my childhood Christmas traditions, but there are a few that stick.
We put up the tree (I always vowed I would never buy a fake tree…. but now we have and secretly I love it) listening to carols and belting them out at the top of our voices. Jimmy generally denudes the tree as quickly as we decorate so it’s a process, although now he’s two he is actually getting more involved, which was so lovely this year.
Each year, Christmas itself is different. Since my beloved dad passed away we made a decision to not stick to the things we did when he was alive, it was too painful and we missed him too much, so now we do everything different but one thing that has to stay the same is that we are together. My mum and sister Alice, my brother Charles and his wife Barbara and their three kids (and normally about five dogs). This year we are going to Barbara’s parents for three days in Rooi Els and it will be a glorious chaotic time. I am insisting on making turkey (no one really likes it much but I am the only one with any respect for the traditions of our youth) and of course, the much looked forward to White Christmas chocolate dessert that Liza posted the recipe to above.
It’s going to be another break from tradition, another first, and although it’s still hard for me it is okay, I am accepting the fact that it’s just the way we are now and as long as we are together it’s all that really matters. Happy Christmas everyone!
And because you’re not going to find any gift guides here, we suggest you visit our blogger friends who are much more organised than we are. Take a look at Kimmy & Bear, For The Beauty Of It, Hey Mama and I Want That.
Wherever you are this Christmas and whoever you spend it with, we hope that you are happy and blessed and relaxed!
We’re going to be taking a little blogging break from 11 December till early next year. See you then!