This is my beautiful family one year on Christmas day. For some reason we always pulled out our shiniest clothing on that day – check out the velour and Jacquard! Well it was the 90’s what can I say? Here’s a snippet from a blog I wrote last year, which sums up my family tradition for Christmas Day.
Christmas Day, I have found since growing up, was different in my family home compared with most other families. I have discovered that the norm for families in my generation (and probably still now) is for the children to wake up early to find all of their presents stuffed into a giant sack or pillowcase at the end of their beds. They would rip open all their gifts and then start their day. The men of the house would often go down to the pub while the dinner was being cooked, arrive home for dinner (often late) and then everyone would sleep or watch tv for the rest of the day. No offence to those who do it this way, but this seems like such a waste of a long-planned day. All that preparation spoiled in just a few hours. In my family we would wake up (normally I would wake up really early and have to lie in bed until the time agreed by my Mum) then my sister and I would take our stockings into our parent’s room and when we were small enough we’d all get into their bed. Then we’d open our stockings. Right at the bottom would always be a satsuma and shiny £1 coin. We would then go downstairs and eat hot buttered croissants.
The rest of the morning was always agony for me when I was a kid, because I would sit in the living room staring at all the presents under the tree and knowing I couldn’t open any until after lunch. I would help Mum with the dinner. I even cooked the Christmas dinner one year – I must have been about 12 or 13 – because my Mum had flu.
When my sister and I were young we would put on a little Christmas show after dinner, and then as she became a teenager I would put on a show by myself and we’d sing carols. My Dad would usually take this opportunity to take a loud snoring nap….. Then we would watch the Top Of The Pops Christmas special. By this time I was usually foaming at the mouth to open presents – I mean it would have been about 4pm and I have no doubt that my little shows were concocted as a way to kill time while my Dad slept.
So by the time we had woken my Dad up and got him downstairs again it was well into the afternoon and it was up to me to be Santa. I would hand out the presents to people one by one and we’d take a really long time about it – and this time I didn’t mind. I just wanted to see everyone’s reactions to the presents I would have spent months planning and wrapping so carefully. That’s the best part.
By about 6 or 7 we were usually all hungry again so we would set up a buffet in the dining room and we’d watch Christmas specials on the TV with plates of finger food on our laps. A perfect day.
Things have changed a little since I was a kid. Obviously me and my Sister don’t live at home any more, so there’s no stockings or climbing into Mum and Dad’s bed! Gary still has to set an acceptable time for me to wake him up…. but once we’re awake we put on our dressing gowns and go downstairs to open our presents for each other whilst sitting down by the Christmas tree. Then we have hot croissants – I like that tradition!
Spending time with our families is the most important part of my Christmas now, as an adult. I still haven’t lost that crazy Christmas excitement and I hope I never will. I still find it hard to go to sleep on Christmas Eve and wake up stupidly early on Christmas Day. I have to wake up a sleepy G Man and force him to get up so we can put on our dressing gowns and sit under the tree to open our presents to each other. I still want to eat hot buttered croissants in my pyjamas whilst enjoying the strange calm that fills what seems like the whole world. I love the drive over to our parent’s houses, the roads still with few cars (though every year there’s a few more than the year before.) I still get that crazy burst of excitement inside me over Christmas, that feels like I’ll either explode or start crying just because I don’t know what to do with the emotion. I’m a sap and I don’t care. As I’ve said in a previous post, I have an actual Christmas break this year and that’s one of the best things about this Christmas.
New house, new year, changes to come. One year I’d like to cook Christmas dinner for me and Gary and visit families afterwards. Just having a whole morning with Gary and I alone in our little house would be nice. I’d also love to have Christmas away one year. Gary has spent two Christmas holidays in Disney World, Orlando and I’d love to experience that. A Christmas in a hot climate would be fun to experience once, too. I’m sure that one year, once our kitchen is a little bigger, I could cook Christmas dinner for all the family. Maybe one day!