When I think of Christmas I think of traditions. Those little rituals that cause you to feel warm and happy. For me, it’s these little things you do year after year that make my festive season special. Spending time rather than money
I have put together a round-up of Christmas traditions that have been part of my family for years, and others that I have gathered from other fabulous woman around the world.
Here are my top 8 Christmas traditions (in no particular order):
- The treat cupboard. So many of us remember our Mom’s having a special cupboard or shelf set aside for Christmas treats. We start buying early and slowly it fills up with lovely goodies that are only revealed on the 24 December. I love the illicit delight of knowing that there is chocolate in the house, but it cannot be eaten. This is a really practical tradition too – because it is a great idea to spread the cost.
- This leads neatly into a fabulous Christmas tradition that I started when my son was born (23 years ago). I received a book call the Ultimate Christmas Book by Jane Newdick. In it she describes a tradition called the 13 desserts which originates in Provence. On Christmas eve you set out a plate with a risen cake (I use a small Pantone) and 12 other treats including fruits, nuts, nougat, biscuits and more. These are to represent Christ and the 12 Apostles. The idea is that this plate of goodness is to be refilled over the festive season, and welcomes people to your home. In my home it is simply called ‘the plate’ and is an essential part of Christmas.
- Christmas music. My guilty pleasure. There is nothing I like more than cranking up the volume and singing along. I wait with eager anticipation for Christmas FM to come online. Christmas music is an absolute must when decorating the tree, cooking the turkey and wrapping gifts.
- Christmas Cards – giving and receiving. I think it is quite sad that the ritual of sending cards seems to be dying out. I make my own cards and love the process of checking addresses, writing short messages and getting a pile ready for the post office. It is a really good way of remembering people who you might not see that often and touching base at least once a year. I also have to admit I love the thunk of a Christmas card through the door, and delight in seeing who it is from, and savouring the connection.
- Books and chocolate on Christmas Eve. Although we normally allow one gift from under the tree on Christmas eve, I have recently read of the practice of receiving gifts of books and chocolates the night before Christmas and then snuggling up for a good read and a nibble. Jolabokaflod – literally translated as book flood is an Icelandic tradition that I will definitely be adopting.
- Decorating the tree. We all have special dates we start, and then special traditions. Each decoration I have is individual and many are handmade. As each decoration come out, it tells a story. So many of us have decorations and baubles bought to mark special occasions like the birth of a new child. that mean a lot or decorations that hold lots of memories. Put on the Christmas music, break out the mince pies and keep decorating.
- Christmas Baking. It doesn’t matter what you choose, but almost everyone you speak to has a Christmas baking tradition. Every sense is awakened by baking – including the obvious delicious tastes and smells! In our home we have to have homemade shortbread – which is consumed when unwrapping stockings on Christmas morning.
- The Gingerbread House – although this could be considered baking it isn’t really. Every year I buy a kit. Which we assemble on Christmas eve. It has progressed from a purely Mom affair through a family construction that was more fun than beautiful to a carefully engineered construction. I do know that it always means lots of laughs and the gift of time spent together.
Christmas is a great time to think of the people we share our life with, and to spend time, rather than money.
I would love to wish you and your family a wonderful festive season as you take time away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Happy making memories.