I love everything about Christmas, the traditional Christmas decorations, the lights on the high street, cheesy Christmas music, inappropriate behaviour at office parties, grumpy old men wearing Santa hats. I love every bit of Christmas food too, from Christmas pudding to cranberry sauce and yes even sprouts – one year I decided to have a mince pie every day in December and still didn’t get sick of them. In fact in our house we love Christmas so much we do it twice!
In addition to the main event on the 25th with family (this year we will be joined by our one year old nephew who brings with him the joy of novelty bib buying!) we also host a full Christmas dinner in the middle of December with university friends.
The early Christmas dinner is a tradition that started with big hubby and I when we were first got together – we both wanted to go home to our families for Christmas day but also wanted to celebrate as a couple. What started with the two of us in a damp flat in London with a few traditional Christmas decorations has gathered momentum over the years. Now there are usually at least ten friends we have known half our lives around the table tucking into turkey with all the trimmings, pulling crackers, drinking a lot of fizz and erupting into a rousing rendition of Christmas carols (we met in the drama department after all.)
Of course I like to have decorations in every room (obsessed me?) and there are a couple of places we like to go each year to collect more. Most of my wreaths come from local Dutch florist All In One Season who opens her beautiful house each December for three evenings, its a marvellous event with mulled wine, mince pies and lots of local people stocking up on her festive creations.
Every year I take the children to Down Memory Lane which is usually an Aladdin’s cave of second hand furniture and brick-a-brack but in December it transforms itself into a magical shop full of baubles and stars and every imaginable type of modern and traditional Christmas decorations. The kids are allowed to choose one decoration that they really love to add to the tree (inevitably they end up going home with more)
Every home builds up their own traditions and ours starts with choosing the tree from local garden centre Bickerdikes then decorating, where we all get stuck in. I’m a big believer in letting the children decorate, after all a Christmas tree is much more than just something to match a feature wall and post on Facebook (although I love seeing everyone’s trees and big hubby did call me a tree fascist when I wouldn’t let him buy a random pink sparkly star – you have to draw the line somewhere)
There is something just wonderful about getting the familiar decorations out of the loft every year. Amongst the shop bought glass baubles we have a special box which we all love. This is the box of decorations with special meanings – the ones the kids have made at school, the angel moose that lived on great grandma’s shelf and the stunning glass heart given by our designer friend Charlie – every decoration holds a memory and elicits a gasp as it is taken out and hung.
My nine year old boy looks at the toilet roll Santa he made when he was in nursery and laughs, “Its a bit babyish isn’t it mummy?” and yes it is, which makes it more adorable as he grows up. I’m fairly sure this year he is pretending to believe in Santa just for me and I really do appreciate that.
So our Christmas tree may be far from magazine perfect but that’s what makes it perfectly us.