Christmas is without a doubt my favourite time of the year. It always has been. Everything from the music, to the food, to the ambience. I just love it.
I’m the girl who believed in Father Christmas until she was twelve because she stubbornly refused to believe otherwise.
I’m the girl who plays the occasional Christmas tune in August to cheer herself up.
I’m the girl who still spends Christmas Eve bouncing around like a loon in excitement and anticipation.
Nick and I have been together for six Christmases, and a lot has changed in that time! We’ve had two children, we got married, we moved house five times, and this year we’ve added a puppy to our brood.
Our family traditions are a big reason why I love Christmas – and, like house moves, we seem to have accumulated quite a few over the years!
It all begins in November when we start baking mince pies. Everyone in our family loves mince pies, so we get through quite a few in the run up to Christmas! Because H-Bear suffers from cow’s milk and soya allergies, I created a dairy and soya free recipe last year so he can join us in our delicious tradition.
Busby loves helping me make the mince pies. It’s a lovely thing to do together at the weekend, especially now she’s at school.
A couple of weekends before the big day, we choose our tree from a local farmer. This tradition has been postponed this year due to the arrival of Bertie the puppy! I was so worried that he might pull the tree down and cover the entire lounge in pine needles – so we chose this amazing faux Christmas tree from John Lewis instead. I’ve been extremely impressed with it – it looks so real! I’m going to have to burn pine scented candles for the whole of December to achieve the right smell though…
After we’ve chosen our tree, we bring it home, struggle to put it in a pot – and wonder how we did it the previous year! There’s usually a bit of swearing under the breath, a top branch chop because I’ve inevitably chosen one that’s too tall for the ceiling, and the odd “ouch!” every time one of us has been spiked by a pine needle.
Once it’s safely supported in the pot, we turn up the Christmas music, warm up the mulled wine and decorate the tree together, singing along to the songs. I reminisce about each decoration the children choose… and try to stop Busby from putting five decorations on the same branch.
The rest of the run up to Christmas is spent wrapping presents, preparing for Busby’s birthday (her birthday is 5 days before Christmas) and getting us all in the festive spirit. For the past two years we’ve had Christmas plays and/or concerts to attend, and that tradition will continue this year with Busby playing Angel #1 in her school play and H-Bear having a gorgeous Christmas sing-a-long planned at nursery.
And then Christmas Eve is upon us. One of my favourite things about Christmas Eve is the Christmas Eve Stew that Nick makes. The recipe has been in his family for years and it’s honestly one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten.
While the stew is bubbling away in the oven, we all trek to the local church for carols around the crib. A lot of my family are down in Sussex, so when we spend Christmas at my mum’s house we attend the carol service at the beautiful church we got married in, which is always a wonderful treat. When we spend Christmas at Nick’s parents’ house, we attend the carol service at the most gorgeous little church in their village.
After singing our hearts out and eating our body weight in stew, we open our Christmas Eve boxes – which always contain a new pair of pyjamas. We put out a carrot, mince pie and whiskey/glass of prosecco for Father Christmas, and then it’s time for bed!
A huge thank you to John Lewis for all of the incredible Christmas items in this post. Pop on over to the John Lewis website to peruse their wondrous Christmas shop now. Also, check out John Lewis’ Top 5 Baubles!
What Christmas traditions do you have in your family?