Every family does Christmas a little differently. Some go to church, some go out to eat, some nurse hangovers, the committed or unlucky among us may have to work.
My own family have some normal traditions and at least one ridiculous one. To celebrate the festive season I’m gonna give you a little insight to a standard ‘M family’ Christmas.
My brother and I didn’t stop staying over on Christmas Eve with our parents until we were 23 and 25 years old! Right up until that year our mother STILL put Santa sacks outside the guestroom doors whilst we slept. I’m not spoiled, you are!
Was bacon sandwiches until 2009, the year I ran a supermarket bakery and discovered I could bring home fresh croissant dough. These days it’s a pre-made tube of Jus Rol, but the croissants and bucks fizz breakfast is still going strong!
He and I walk the dog over to my parents place and we all add presents under the tree, Dad picks the oldest Christmas animation he can find on tv whilst we catch up for a while.
Later once Mum and I have the kitchen prep done we call everyone in to play *Who Am I? whilst we multitask with copious amounts of veg, meat and trimmings. All donned in cheesy Christmas jumpers or t-shirts of course- we are THAT family.
(*Who Am I goes by many other names. Essentially we pick a famous/fictional person to write on a post it note and stick to our competitors forehead. They have to guess who they are using Yes or No questions. Last year I was Scooby Doo)
By this point Dad will be impatient enough to insist we all choose one small sized present from under the tree to open.
Then I’ll find a YouTube video so He, bro and I can attempt (and fail) to make the simplest of napkin origami for the dining table.
Is always around 2pm. We aim for 1pm every year, so far no dice. Mum will flap and forget something until half way through our meal- Where’s the yorkshires? The parsnips are still in the oven! I left the bread sauce on the counter!
It’s always a roast- Turkey and Beef. Among the sides there’s always mashed swede to appease me, parsnips for the bro and KETCHUP to appease Dad.-Don’t get us started-.
We eat too much, give up on dessert and bro & I usually have a 30 minute turkey nap stretched out on the lounge carpet after!
Every year I unsuccessfully hide the ketchup from Dad, he either finds it or guilts me into giving it back.
As kids bro and I used to force each other to eat ONE sprout on its own before we could start our meal. Turns out we like them now. Dad however, does not.
So each year I hide one sprout in his food- mashed into his swede, pushed inside a roast potato, hidden in his yorkshire. I’ve yet to fool him though. As tradition goes, he finds the sprout and bides his time til tormenting me with it later on.
I’ve stepped on a sprout hidden inside my boot, he’s smushed one into my hair, I almost drank one in my wine glass… in fact my parents had great fun trying to explain to the plumber why there was a sprout stuck to the wall behind the boiler months later!
All my life we’ve opened presents after Christmas dinner, I like it, it feels like the day lasts longer- it also stops Dad from going straight to sleep!
Each year someone is assigned the Santa hat to wear whilst handing out presents in circular formation so somebody is unwrapping at all times (no awkward watching each other’s gift reactions in our house).
Mum always purposely buys me something ridiculous or embarrassing, a dancing Christmas bear or an ugly kitchen ornament. She delights in my eye rolling and knows I’ll feel beholden to display these daft items!
When the puppy has finished playing with the wrapping paper and we’ve all found space for Christmas desserts we settle around the tv for a Christmas movie (or sly nap for some) before building/playing/reading/setting up the gifts we’ve received that day.
Our Mother’s extensive American family will Skype us after Nan has watched the Queens Speech and we all wave and shout over each other for 20 minutes whilst my youngest cousin waves his toys at the camera.
Now comes the usual non-argument between the ex-smoker parents. Dad will want a celebratory cigar, Mum will wish he wouldn’t. I will have a single in my bag waiting for the inevitable question and he’ll conspicuously sneak into the back garden with my lighter whilst she rolls her eyes.
Usually late evening is time for he and I to walk puppy back home and settle in ourselves, we’d have to be up at 6am to get back to work ready for those insane Boxing Day Sales, but now who knows?
Now that I’ve left retail I’m looking forward to my first Christmas in 15 years that I will have the entire week off to celebrate!
Time for a new tradition? 😁