Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
Christmas is still six weeks away, in fact, in six weeks to this day I will be waking up on Christmas morning. Most probably it’ll be ridiculously early (I don’t know what it is about Christmas Eve but since I was a teenager I’ve just never been able to sleep) and I’ll be restless and ready to be awake.
Today’s theme (well, it’s actually Friday’s, I just took forever to write it) is your usual Christmas routine. I always like to know what other people do on Christmas Day and more often than not I feel envious of others lack of activity.
After waking up I usually dig into my stocking (which usually hangs on my door, or is somewhere outside my door). I love a good stocking, we usually have satsumas in them and random little things, chocolate is a must. It’s a traditional stocking, none of this “CDs can be stocking fillers” crap they put on the television. Last year we couldn’t find the stockings so I woke up and was literally gutted. (As if it wasn’t a weird enough Christmas as it was what with my grandad dying on 23rd December.)
Once it’s a suitable time me and my older sister Sarah would go downstairs to make sure the parents were awake and if not wake them (again, last year it was her first Christmas in her own house) and we’d all go into the front room (aka lounge to anyone who doesn’t understand that lingo) where our presents would be waiting. We each have a pile and my dad always writes our names awesomely on a piece of paper. (He’s always been a graphic designer/artist type, except the few years he drove a van.)
I should probably speed through the rest because this could be a loooong story.
We don’t do much with our morning except open presents and sit around relaxing. Sometimes we have bacon butties, think I’ll request that this year.
Some years we have the bacon butties at my aunt and uncles (my mum’s sisters) where we usually go around lunchtime. In the past we’ve gone via my other sister’s (Louise) and occasionally they’ll come to us. Before my grandma died in 2008 her and my grandad (different grandparents) would drop round briefly.
After all of that we’d take a hope, skip and a jump across to somewhere else; usually my other grandparents, or another auntie’s. We used to alternate. One year with my dad’s parents, the next year my dad’s sister. Since she moved to Spain the alternative has become less stable (and a couple of years ago we ate in a hotel >_< it just wasn't the same). A couple of years we've gone to my dad's youngest brother's and that's where we're off to this year. My dad's brothers both like to visit their other side of their families too so they sometimes go there for Christmas day, the last two years we've stayed at my mum's sisters.
Christmas dinner is my favourite dinner in the whole year. I'm a traditional British food girl at heart and being someone who loves my food, it's only natural that dinner would make me happy. I remember we used to have this dinner trolley thing which stayed really hot and all the veg would go into it. Being quite a big family on my dad's side (he has two brothers and a sister, his sister has one child who is in her thirties so brings her boyfriend, then me and my two sisters, then my uncles both have two children each and everyone is still married) there's an awful lot of us to get fed. My grandma always made the mash potato and that was always my favourite mash potato for that occasion. Some people would have beef but I always, always have turkey. If there's no turkey dinner, it's not Christmas. Simple.
Usually before dinner we would swap presents. I remember the countless Christmasses as a child where it was really the greatest thing ever to be with the rest of the family because of all the presents. I can't even remember what I got most years, but there were a few Boots vouchers I would end up swapping with my mum for cash.
After dinner whenever we used to go to my dad's sisters we would all be forced to sing the Twelve Days of Christmas. We'd all get a line, or sometimes a couple of people would get a line and we'd have to stand up and sing it. I used to hate doing it but I look back on it as something that was actually a lot of fun and really quite a sweet family thing to do. It makes me sad that we stopped doing that when my younger cousins grew up. They'll never get to enjoy that family tradition. Ah well.
Sometime after dinner we would leave, unlike everyone else on Christmas day we're almost constantly moving.
We usually stop off at home in order to feed the cats, drop off/pick up presents and generally have a few minutes of peace and quiet. I often used it as a chance to pick up chocolate as I stupidly almost always forget earlier in the day.
Then we head to another one of my mum's sister's (though she moved to France for about three months, though the plan was to retire there so we've been going to the first of my mum'a sisters I mentioned – she has three and a brother). There we'd usually sit around talking and drinking for a little while until everyone arrived. A little later we'd have a buffet which I always hated and enjoyed in equal measure. I'm not a buffet person, I hate most food that goes on one or I prefer many to be hot (cold sausage rolls? Please no!) but we would always have pavlova (my favourite dessert) so all would be well with the world.
It's become a bit of a family tradition to do a quiz after our buffet. We'd split into groups and for the first time in my life I'd not even worry about who was on the group, we usually just found people near us. It would be lots of fun. I remember one year we didn't have one so me and my cousin found a quiz book and made one, another year my uncle (the first one mentioned, married to my mum's sister) made one up too and it was really hard. One question was "Where did Barbara and Alan meet?" (my mum's other sister and her husband) and for some reason there was a lot of debate over the answer. The quiz is brought by different people each year, sometimes we end up with a few, it's all fun and games.
Then sometime around eleven or twelve we sneak off home (though usually everyone else has gone by then too) and we go to bed. Or if you're me and you got The Sims for Christmas you're desperate to finally play. Plan for this year? I think so.
I'm not entirely sure what this Christmas will have in store. So much has been changing, I hope this Christmas feels a little more 'normal' though I'm not sure it will.
P.S. I know we're not talking about New Year, but compare the two and the title often fits.