As a kid Christmas was the most exciting time of year. I always looked forward to Christmas, decorating the tree, lacing the house in lengths and lengths of tinsel and homemade paper chains, eating my body weight in food and most importantly unwrapping the coolest 90’s toys ever! We all celebrate Christmas differently and we all have our own traditions too, during my childhood Christmas was a really special time of year in our house. My mum would go above and beyond for us to make sure Christmas was amazing, we all had the best time!! I have a lot of fond memories of Christmas, but sadly no photos! On my street we had this large vehicle of sorts that one night during December would drive up our road. It was built into something resembling a sleigh and full of flashing Christmas lights. It was large enough for about 20 different Santas and had loud Christmas music blaring out of it. Everyone would come out of their houses and each Santa would come up to your front door, hand out lollipops and you’d make a small donation in their buckets. Not sure what charity it was for or even if it was for a charity, but everyone loved it!
FUNFACT – Nearly 60 million christmas trees are grown each year in Europe alone!!
I never really had a big enough family to have a huge family Christmas, Christmas day consisted of my mum, her boyfriend, my sister, my brother, me and our pets! Every year we would make mounds of paper chains and other Christmas decorations to hang all over the house, this was one of my most favourite traditions. When it came to tree decorating our one would take hours!! I don’t remember ever having a real Christmas tree when I was younger although I’m sure we must of at least once. We had this huge artificial Christmas tree that touched the top of the ceiling with this huge angel on top! It wasn’t one of those crappy Christmas trees that look a little bare in the way of branches, this badboy was fuller than full! We’d decorate with lights first, often those multicoloured ones and we’d have them flashing or doing something garish! Then on went the tinsel, and the beads, then baubles of all different shapes and sizes. Once you thought that was enough, we’d then stick on bows and candy canes, hanging Santa chocolates and systematically placed table crackers. Yeah remember it was the 90’s!
FUNFACT – Before traditional Turkey the traditional English meal was a pigs head and mustard!!
Christmas morning always consisted of waking up exceptionally early and running into mums room, although she later made it a rule that if she were to get up before the crack of dawn it had better be with a nice cup of tea! We would always wake up with a present on the end of our beds, usually something like slippers or a nightgown, you know so we could open the rest of our gifts in Christmas themed comfort! We’d rush downstairs greeted with the sight of a buffet laid out for us to snack on throughout the day, I’m not joking the table was packed with food! Then we’d get cosy and start to open our gifts. I never really thought about the look on my mums face when we opened our presents as a child, but I can remember it well and recognise how she was feeling, full of so much happiness and pride! Honestly I don’t know how she did it, how she was able to give us so much, but she made sure she did! Now for the even more exciting part, my mum would hide one of our gifts somewhere in the house and give us a riddle in order to find it. One year I had a bad dream on Christmas eve so I hurried downstairs to see my mum, she was in the process of hiding my gift and my older brother was acting suspiciously awkward, I knew from that moment where my gift was. On Christmas morning I acted like I had no idea, pretended to look elsewhere, then acted surprised when I found it!
FUNFACT – The best selling Christmas single is Band Aid’s 1984 ‘Do they know its Christmas?’ – Obviously!!
Christmas dinner was always a feast worthy for a king, literally it would have sufficed for someone like Henry 8th! We would all wear our Christmas cracker hats, share our cracker jokes (that I never really understood unless it was silly) and once bellies were almost exploding we’d move on to playing games!! There is something so special about not relying on TV to have a nice time. Playing games with my family on Christmas day was one of my most loved traditions! I can’t pinpoint my favourite Christmas of them all, they were all so amazing but one memory sticks out to me more than any other. Whilst opening gifts one Christmas morning the house phone rang, it was one of those old house phones with the curly cords. Apparently the man on the phone was Santa, I almost died at this point it was just so magical and overwhelming. I was told to open the front door because Santa had accidentally left my gift outside, to my amazement there was a pink bike with tassels, a basket and everything I’d ever wanted waiting for me to ride. I was the happiest girl on the planet that day!
Now I have my own children we’re making new traditions aswell as applying some of the traditions I grew up with! What makes Christmas special for me now that I’m a mum is seeing my children happy and the looks on their faces when they open their gifts, nothing beats it! What are your most important Christmas traditions?