Firstly, I have this thing about the word, xmas, I can’t stand the abbreviation so apologies but for my own sanity, I’ll need to write the word out full in this post! I like Christmas and I am in my element now with all the planning and preparation. In the next few weeks I’ll be buying all the Christmas magazines and browsing the catalogues. I am a list maker and have been writing notes and ideas throughout the year so that I have a good idea of presents to buy, special events are pencilled in on the calendar, I have a few new recipes to try and I’m planning Tommy the elf’s hiding places! All my planning is done in my Christmas book, of which I have a couple of editions and its level of detail is impressive. I have details of every present bought for the children, presents we have given to friends and family, menus for the period, information of Christmas cards sent, to whom and which design, decoration plans, highlights of the season and things to remember for the next Christmas. I know this may make me sound a bit of a control freak but actually it helps the Christmas season run very smoothly and I am pretty relaxed at Christmas. I am very much aware that Christmas is much more than presents and parties, to me it’s not about material things but surrounding yourself with friends and family.
I like that we have been able to create our own family traditions in what will be our 7th family Christmas in 2017, here are some of the things we do to make it our special time.
- Tommy the elf (aka The Elf on the Shelf) I love Tommy, he’s been with our family for 5 years now and each day in December he hides in a new place and leaves the children a little letter. On December 1st he brings the advent calendars and finishes off with a deluxe hot chocolate set on Christmas eve, it’s also his job to bring the Christmas jumpers for the first Christmas celebration. The children adore Tommy and I do too, Mr S is bemused by it all!
- The summer holiday Christmas decoration, we always try and buy a Christmas decoration on our summer holidays to remind us of our year. This year we purchased a small glass Christmas tree decoration in St Ives.
- The town Christmas Market. This is such a fun day, the main street in town is closed off and the beach huts are brought in to be disguised as Alpine huts, lots of local crafts people, charities and groups sell their goods in the market and there is live music, a fairground etc.. It’s a day for seeing friends, having a little festive drink and nibble and just enjoying the Christmassy atmosphere.
- The Christmas tree festival. This again is such a simple concept but one which our town embraces. Local businesses sponsor a tree and then local groups decorate them, it’s a three day festival where there is a dress up Christmas tableau, local choirs perform, craft activities etc.. The decorations are very artistic and creative and it’s wonderful to go and see 60+ trees beautifully presented.
- Christmas gingerbread decorations. Every year the children and I spend a morning making lots of gingerbread decorations, icing them and singing along to Christmas songs in the kitchen. Some of the decorations are put on our Christmas tree, others go to family and neighbours.
- Following Santa on Norad. There is a lovely story about how Santa is tracked by Norad, it’s a military unit in America whose telephone number was mistakenly put in a newspaper advert and lots of children’s calls for Santa came through to the base. Nowadays not only can you track Santa through satellite tracking, you can phone or email Santa on Christmas eve. We emailed him one Christmas eve and got the most lovely response from one of the hundreds of volunteers who man the service, I may have cried a happy tear that night because of the children’s awesome reactions.
- The Christmas light drive. There are some mightily impressive Christmas decoratively lit houses in our town and on one of the evenings before Christmas we will drive around to see them all. Again the children’s reactions are so special and their excitement contagious.
I love a bit of Christmas sparkle and would love to hear your special traditions too.