We’re fond believers that Christmas is all about making memories with your family and friends and enjoying each other’s company. One thing that makes Christmas so memorable year after year is family Christmas traditions.
Feeling in need of a little Christmas spirit? Perhaps you’ve moved into your first home or have recently started your own family? With that in mind, The team here at Bloomsbury Home have come together to share with you our family traditions; the ones it wouldn’t be Christmas without, in the hope they’ll bring up happy thoughts of your own festive family traditions. Maybe you might even make some of your own?
Remember that the traditions don’t have to be big or extravagant … it’s just the connection that you make with your family and friends which the memories that you share mean the most.
Our Christmas starts with foraging for the lush green foliage from the garden (we always find too much and end up wrestling with larger stems), then we switch on the lanterns, decorate the Christmas tree, all fuelled with mulled cider and the dulcet tones of Christmas music interjected with the Fairytale of New York.
We’re always in the kitchen on Christmas Eve, with friends coming by throughout the day for a glass of Christmas cheer and food. One guest has renamed our florentines, ‘a mouthful of Christmas’.
The big day arrives and the first, excitable chatter on Christmas morning is that ‘he’s been!’, over the rustle of opening stockings. Everyone has a stocking of thoughtful gifts; sweets, a little literary something, a giggle some gift and the hobby you never knew you needed. With the best saved till last from Father Christmas!
Christmas for me and my family has always been special since I was a child. Coming from a big family, Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without the big family gatherings. Usually we’d kick off the festive celebrations on Christmas Eve with a trip down to Portsmouth to watch a pantomime with my dad’s side of the family. James and the giant peach was my favourite!
Once all of the children had given the parents a headache screaming “he’s behind you”,we’d all drive to my grandma’s house where we would sit down in the living room watching tv with a take-away.
As we spent Christmas Eve with my dad’s side of the family, Boxing Day is always dedicated to my mum’s side. A day filled with food, presents and silly games which are sure to make us fall asleep on the sofa after lunch.
As we weren’t able to have a “normal” Christmas last year, it will definitely be nice to gather around the table again this year.
Christmas is a big deal in my family (well, it is for my mother and me, not so sure the menfolk are as fussed!). It all starts on 1st December when our trees and decorations go up, and every year they go up to the same music.
In my mother’s house, that consists of an ancient cassette tape (yes, a tape, I know…this is dating me terribly!) from the late 70’s, but the boppy, 70’s style Christmas instrumentals are THE sound of Christmas to me. Mulled wine, made with oranges, cloves and cinnamon (amongst other fruits and herbs), steams on the stove, filling the house with it’s unmistakably mid-winter aroma.
In my own house, that’s been replaced by a mix CD (still aging me, I know! But rest assured, gentle reader, this mix has now been converted to a Spotify Playlist) of rare Christmas gems, highly eclectic tracks, put together by a true connoisseur of music. It’s been around for almost 15 years now and it gets played every year, while I put up the tree. A recent ‘part 2’ has become the soundtrack to my present wrapping.
Outside, we both dress our trees and shrubs with a shower of tiny golden lights and hang handmade, natural wreaths, foraged from the nearby ridges of the Chiltern Hills, on our doors to welcome friends, neighbours, delivery drivers and postmen.
Most years, prior to last, we head to Wales for a pre-Christmas visit with the family, in the rolling hills of the Usk Valley. Then, everyone decamps to Mum & Dad’s house (usually, though last year was obviously an exception) on Christmas Eve. After lunch, we take a short tramp down the ridge to our local pub for a glass (or two) of good cheer.
Christmas is over in a whirl of good food, chatter and laughs, then I’m off to Glasgow for Hogmanay. Last years, I stay with my best friend and her family of bright, young, ladies. It’s here I can catch up with cousins too (as you can see, we’re a very hilly, mountainous clan!).
Once I’m back home, I’ve developed a relatively new Christmas tradition. I’d always pruned my roses at some point over the winter, but following my latest trip to learn from the Roseologists-in-Chief at David Austin Roses, I’ve started pruning them in the very early New Year, just after Hogmanay, but before Twelfth Night. It’s a lovely, meditative way to refresh mind, body and soul, ahead of the return to work…..especially done on a bright, crisp, January day.
I hope that this year, we all get a more ‘normal’, more fun Christmas, whatever that means to you and your family. Warmest wishes. Laura
By far, my favourite part of Christmas day is the meal. Not just the food, but the togetherness of gathering around the table and donning our Christmas cracker crowns.
I actually love to cook, so from the early morning you’ll find me enjoying the peaceful kitchen as I prepare a feast. Over the years, my family and I have established a tradition of cooking a dish that puts a twist onto the classic Christmas lunch. Yes, there’ll still be crispy roast potatoes in abundance, but this year I’m also planning roasted carrots with harissa, honey and whipped feta as a side dish, a recipe from Mob Kitchen.