My Favourite Christmas Traditions
Sometimes I wonder what we did for Christmas before we had kids?! But it’s gotten so commercial over the last decade that it can be easy to forget what it’s all about. Having a family of my own has reminded me of all the lovely memories of Christmas’s past and also given way to starting our own little Christmas traditions. Some of these will filter down to the next generation. So I try my best not to get stressed in the run up to Christmas and remind myself that we won’t get these moments back again.
Here are a few of my favourite Christmas traditions.
Christmas Card Photo
Planning out the Christmas card is one of the first things we think about after the Halloween decorations come down! Yes a bit of an American tradition, the years living abroad rubbed off on me. Sorry, not sorry. A good sconce around Pinterest usually yields a few decent ideas. Sometime in mid-November, I dress the kids up to get that photo for the Christmas card. You can’t beat a good old hand written card.
A fist full of hope + fistful of Haribo = the perfect Christmas photo
Posting the Letters
As soon as the Smyth’s catalogue lands hot off the press, my two are usually working on their long list. Next edit produces the shortlist. Its serious business. During the midterm break, we make sure we have store visit to ensure that the shortlist is as good in person, as it is in the catalogue! It takes approx. another week for the final list to be confirmed and discussed at length as often as possible. By then, the giant post box is ready and waiting outside the GPO and off they go. After that job is done, we go off to see the crib, lights around town and the wonderful window displays at Brown Thomas.
The next big step in the running order is of course, the Late Late Toyshow. Serious planning and negotiations happen to figure out what they are allowed to have for watching the toyshow. But more often than not, they fall asleep as soon as it starts. Thanks to modern technology, we get to watch the show on repeat until about mid Feb?! Thanks Ryan!
Lighting the Tree
The lighting of our own tree is a big deal. When the tree is fully ready at home, we out all the lights and do a countdown, for the switching on the lights. A hint of Rockefeller, I know. Another American tradition that slipped into our suitcases I suppose!)
Once tree is up, out comes the fresh eucalyptus. I literally drape this all over the house. It fills the air will a gorgeous scent. It dries out fast enough over the fireplace. So by about mid Dec, I get bored and spray it a little with gold spray paint.
Buying a New Decoration
This is a new one, but it’s fast become one of my absolute favourites. We let the kids buy one new decoration each year. We take a picture of them buying it. The idea is, when they leave the nest someday, they will have a box ( Roses tin!) full of their own decorations to add to their own trees in the future, with a memory attached to each one. I’m crying already….
Eve of Christmas Eve
The eve of Christmas eve is the key to unlocking a stress-free Christmas. The eve of Christmas eve is when I do any prep for the cooking, wrapping, etc. I learned over the years to protect Christmas eve and keep it sacred to do absolutely nothing. Before that, it was a day that always got hijacked by forgotten jobs and other unessessary stuff. It should be a day to soak up the atmosphere. No shopping, no rushing, no nothing. Simply absorbing. A stroll in around the English market to pick up the last bits on the eve of Christmas eve is usually in order; spiced beef from tom Durcans, cheeses and plum chutney from On The Pigs Back and some fish from Kay O Connell’s. A pit stop to Butlers for a Mocha is also a must.
Mince Pie Factory Opens for Business
The afternoon of the 23rd Dec is dedicated then to making homemade Mince pies. I don’t bake too much, maybe a few times a year. But one of the few things I have to bake is mince pies. The smell alone in the house makes it worthwhile. We make dozens of them. Last year the kids delivered them to neighbours and friends. I have to say I was shocked at how much they enjoyed such a simple thing. So we’ve agreed to keep doing until the neighbours’ get bored or poisoned.
Christmas eve has become as special as Christmas Day. We go into town early that morning. But not to shop. We stroll around, visit the crib, see the lights, go on the big wheel on Grand parade if it’s still up. On the way out of town, we visit some family then the evening is preserved for sitting in front of the fire and watching a movie. Spiced beef sandwiches with onion chutney and a cheese board are the order of the day. Washed down with a hot port or a glass of bubbly. After we get out the mince pies and carrots for Santa, of course.
Well we all know how that noes goes! Its starts by examining how much Santa ate followed by ‘how the hell are we going to get all this packaging into the recycling bin?’ Off to mass we go, booted and suited. The rest of the day is just one long episode of man V’s food.
What are your Christmas traditions – I’d love to hear new ones to add to the list!