Starting New Traditions. *
Christmas is probably the most traditional time of year for most families - mine included.
For the last twenty something years we've done the same thing in the same order at the same time with the same people.
We wake up early on Christmas morning to make the day last longer, somewhere between 6 - 7am and all wait until we're bundled up in dressing gowns and slippers until we go downstairs. When we get down our parents have laid out our presents in the same place, theirs under the tree, mine by the TV and my brother's on the other side of the fireplace. We unwrap our presents which takes hours, my brother and I opening them together and pausing between each few for one for my parents. We sometimes pause for a piece of toast if we're feeling peckish and then carry on, looking at what eachother got and taking it all in slowly, it takes a good few hours probably till 9 or 10. We have toast and tea mid morning and normally our grandparents, uncles and cousins will ring and the phone gets passed around everyone. We then open presents from everyone else, from the cousins and neighbours and Gareth and I always get a joint present from 'the pets' which is normally a board game to play on NYE. For the rest of the morning we whack on a Christmas CD and take it it turns to have a shower, Mum first, Dad second, my brother and then me last. Whilst Mum cooks dinner we look at our presents, maybe open a few and then put them into nice neat piles by the fire. We have turkey dinner at about 1 and pull crackers and take a before and after photo of dinner, the latter looking suitably more full. After dinner my parents do the dishes and my brother and I put on Christmas Top Of The Pops, ideally the singalong version and just as it's ending my grandparents turn up. My Nan and Bampi stay with us all afternoon and after a drink and some chocolates we take it in turns to show them what we all had. After that, mid afternoon some time they give us our presents in turn and then we swap ours with them. By the time evening arrives and more drinks and Quality Street have been munched we make turkey sandwiches for tea and have some crisps and salad and nibbly bits in our kitchen. After tea we normally play a board game or something like who's in the bag which is even more hilarious after a cheeky few glasses have been sunk during the day and my grandparents leave around 8 or 9pm after which my boyfriend turns up and we all watch Christmas tv, normally the Doctor Who special and maybe a film before bed.
Times change, families change, life changes and the past 2 years we've had to adapt our Christmas to suit. My not so little brother the past 2 years has a baby and a fiancé and in laws to spend Christmas with too. My boyfriend now has a job that sees him work through Christmas day. I don't live at home anymore. Life changes and traditions have to adapt.
Last year was bit hit and miss and I didn't feel like Christmas was quite the same so this year I was determined to make Christmas the happiest time of year again, in my own way.
This year I started Christmas celebrations early to make sure I made the most of it. I'm seeing Joss' extended family next week and then a few days spent with friends before Christmas Eve and Christmas Days themselves. This year my brother is spending Christmas Day with his in laws and I'm spending the evening at Joss' house with his family. On Boxing Day we're having a second Christmas Day with my brother and his family and swapping all our presents then and we're having Boxing Day this year at my grandparents house on the 27th.
Because Joss works Christmas Day now, we only see eachother for an hour at 5.30am before work and again in the evening so this year I wanted to make sure we had our own celebration, just the two of us. Last weekend we spent the afternoon decorating our house, putting up the trees and listening to Christmas tunes (read here) and then I cooked an early Christmas dinner. We did roast potatoes, boiled potatoes, chicken, yorkshire puddings, sausages, bacon, peas and carrots, gravy and mint sauce and I laid the table for a party of two - crackers and all. We had the BEST mean (even if I do say so myself, humble brag), pulled crackers and wore party hats and after we were full and the leftovers were in the fridge we whacked the Christmas lights on and watched Nightmare Before Christmas.
And honestly it was the best way to kick off the celebrations, to make new traditions and do Christmas just for us and I think we'll continue to do something like this every year.
My table decorations, plates, crackers, napkins and cutlery were part of my Christmas parcel from Talking Tables and as soon as I saw the sprouts set I knew what I'd do with them. I hadn't even thought about an early Christmas dinner for the two of us on tree night and I'm so so pleased with the evening we had.
* My table set was sent to me for free as part of a parcel by Talking Tables but all Christmas love, roast dinners and opinions are as ever all my own.