Friday, November 15, 2013

Festive Traditions

I'm sorry. I know it's only just November, but that justifies a Christmas post, I've decided ;)

What traditions do you and your families have for Christmas time, or do you have any that you're thinking about starting this year?This will be hubs and I'sChristmas together, but our first in our home. We have a few traditions we've built up over the years, but this year is really our chance to start as we mean to go on, and make it extra special.

When I was a child, I always remember going to the garden centre to get a tree. We always had a real one, every single year that I can remember. I loved the smell of it, but not the needles so much! I can still remember them getting stuck in my Goofy slippers. We'd go with my sister, parents and Grandad to pick one out - I always wanted the tallest one and we nearly always got it. The older I got, the shorter the trees.

They'd shrink wrap it in its little mesh wrapper and my parents would, thick gloves at the ready, squeeze it into the car. Whilst my Dad and Grandad took it home, us girlies would browse the shop for decorations, shredded glittery snow, lights and anything else we could think of. We'd always get a little box in Lindor truffles at the till to eat on the way home. Then Dad would come back and get us and by the time we got home, Grandad had usually managed to get the tree in its pot ready for us to decorate. On went the Disney VHS, mince pies went into the oven, and we decorated the house.We also had the tradition of Christmas day itself right from when I was born until 2008 when my Grandad died.We'd get up, Dad would make scrambled eggs for breakfast - my parents had it with salmon but that was gross to a ten year old so me and my sister had it on its own. Well, it'd barely touch the sides because we were so excited to open the presents all over the living room! One of us would have the sofa and one, the arm chair. We'd take our place, the Christmas telly would go on in the background, and we'd start seeing what lovely things we'd been given.

Then at lunchtime, we'd come to my Grandparents house (not the one who did the tree), and they'd have lunch all ready. There would be two bags of presents, and we'd open half before dinner and then half after.

And then Boxing Day. Since what feels like the dawn of time, my Mums side of the family ('tree' Grandad) all get together to catch up, have a few drinks and generally celebrate Christmas together. My Mum has 5 brothers and they have their own partners and children, so you can imagine how lively it gets!As kids, it was always quite controlled, but as my cousins and I have grown up, we seem to be the ones looking after the adults!

My cousin, sister and me 2011

My cousin, me and sister 2012

However, in the last 4 years with me and the Mister, we've started a few more traditions. My Mum, sister and I do all the Christmas shopping during late nights in town, equipped with hot mulled wine and a paper bag of chestnuts from the food stalls.

Hubs on the other hand is a typical man. He picks one day usually only days before Christmas, I drop him into town and commit myself to one store, whilst he has free range of the city centre for 30 mins to get all my presents.

I've usually bought his presents to his family, so he only has me to buy for. Then, he bungs it into the car and I try not to peek all the way home :)

So this year, it's slightly different, because not only do we have the house we've been dreaming of, there's a little addition to the family in the form of OSCAR my nephew! Although he's too young to really understand it right now, it'll be lovely to have a little one wriggling around.

SO CHRISTMAS DAY THIS YEAR IS AT OUR PLACE, and I'm super stoked. Mainly because this house was my Grandma's house - the house we came for Christmas dinner every year. The house that holds so many great memories. And the best part is that its now becoming more and more our home, and less of my Grandparents home. It'll be a great housewarming too. So that means I need to think of some new traditions, decorations, and how the heck to cook a 6.5 (Oscar being the half!) person roast in a 2 shelf oven....!

So I'd like to do some things this year as a nod to the years of great Christmas's in this house. I've already downloaded the Christmas movies we watched as kids whilst decorating. I'm stuck on the decision of whether to get a real tree or not. We bought a brand new fake one last year which was expensive but it's lovely. But I always miss that smell, picking the tree in the cold winter air with our gloves and boots on. However I have to be practical and remember that there's a very lively puppy sharing this house now...!

Here are some traditions I'd like to start....

1. Christmas Punch, on tap!

I bought this awesome Jamie Oliver drinks dispenser recently, and am hoping to make a festive cranberry punch, or perhaps a lukewarm mulled cider for our guests.

2. Christmas eve surprise box by

A box for your partner, sister, best friend, child. Whoever. On Christmas eve, full of things to make the last day before Christmas special. This example is based on a box for a child, but you get the idea - festive socks, new pajamas, a Christmas film and book(s), hot chocolate, a snack, a mug for the hot choc, etc. Obviously, you can personalise it to your recipient. I think this is lovely :) I did something similar last year but this year I'm hoping to make one for my sister as one of her presents.

3. Christmas Crock-Pot

There are so many different Christmas warm drinks, I've found a few recipes I love, but I really want one that I can warm in the crockpot through the morning for when the family arrive.Ashley's looks the bees-knees! But then so does this ....!!!!

I love the of having flasks on the side with mugs, marshmallows and candy canes, so the guests can warm up as they arrive.

4. Stocking Surprises

Hubs always likes to have something small in our stockings. We totally forgot last year, so this year I'm hoping to get a few little bits and pieces to surprise him. Travel-sized toiletries, his favourite sweets from the American import store, boxers - anything small and not expensive.

Do you have any traditions you've always followed, or some you're planning to start?

And here, to sing you out...
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