Every family has their own Christmas Traditions. The things that youa do every Christmas. As a child, and even to an extent as a grown up, you perhaps assume that Christmas is celebrated in a very similar way by the other families around you – hanging up stockings, writing to Father Christmas, putting carrots and mince pies out on Christmas Eve etc.
I think my first experience that all families don’t celebrate Christmas in quite the same way was when Richard, my now husband, and I became a couple. Suddenly I entered a whole new world of Christmas traditions that was very different to what I had known before. I will always be grateful to my in-laws for warmly welcoming me into their family and allowing their Christmas traditions to become my own and better still my children’s.
This month the Other Mothers team are sharing their family traditions so I thought I’d share with you a few of the Collins’ family traditions.
As Advent approaches, my Mother in Law always pays us a visit with an envelope for boys. This contains a traditional advent calendar. Not one with chocolate in but rather a simple cardboard one with a door to open each day which reveals a picture. Along with the Advent Calendar comes a little man with dangly legs. He has 24 legs to be precise. We hang him up and each day we pull of a leg until the poor man has no legs and it’s Christmas. Our little man was made by Richard’s sister when he was a boy and is supposed to be a little version of him. At the end of Christmas, my lovely Mother-in-Law takes our little man away to re-leg him and he returns again the following year. I loved our dangly man so much that I made a much bigger Father Christmas version for my class when I was teaching. Rather than pulling off one leg, we pulled off a pair of trousers each day.
On Christmas Eve, the Collins’ family always gather together for a very special storytime. First, someone reads the poem Twas the Night Before Christmas. In more recent years, my eldest son Rory has recited this from memory. Then comes the really special part. Carefully and gently, an old book is taken out which belonged to Richard’s grandmother and she read as a child. I did a quick google search for the story and the only book I can find with it in was published in 1925 so I’d guess the book is about 93 years old! It’s a compilation of stories and so the first job is always to find the correct story – The Fairy Way Home. We rifle through the pages and to start with no one can ever find it. It’s almost as if it magically appears. (This isn’t done on purpose to add in magic for the children it just seems to happen) And so the story begins. Each person in the family is a different character in the story and as Richard’s aunt narrates so you have to say your parts. Even the very smallest of the children are included, with some help from the grown ups of course. After the story, we share a cup of tea and a slice of my Mother in Law’s Christmas cake. We then gather around the Christmas Tree to sing a few Christmas songs. In recent years, we have found that we are not all necessarily together for Christmas but thanks to modern day technology we are able to still read the story together with the aid of FaceTime or Skype!
Since having the boys, we’ve wanted them to understand that Christmas isn’t just about receiving lots of gifts. It maybe a cliché but we’d like them to understand the true meaning of Christmas that it’s a festival of love and kindness. To go along aside opening their advent calendar, we also do a Reverse Advent Calendar where we take something from the cupboard and pop it in a box to go to the Foodbank.
I’d love to hear about your Christmas Traditions. Tell me all about them in the comments.