The Christmas season means a lot of different things to a lot of families. For many families it is a joyful time when family traditions are carried out year after year. For some families it is a time to reconnect with each other and take joy in making each other happy. Other families are all about the gifts! For some families it can be a difficult time as they remember those who are no longer with them. Christmas can become a very intense and emotional time for all. Social media can make everyone feel like there is a right way they ‘should‘ do Christmas – so we wanted to share a range of different Christmas traditions.
We asked a few people what their favourite family Christmas traditions were to share with you and hopefully spread a little bit more joy this Christmas.
Christmas involves a lot of food for many people! From the traditional Christmas turkey dinner to buffets and party food, it’s a big part of the season for many families.
Many people have a big Christmas day lunch, gathering family together to share traditional food and family recipes. Other families have different traditions. Over in Europe it is common to have the large meal on Christmas Eve, and Lorette’s families have this meal as a buffet with everyone asking for one of their favourite dishes to be amongst the spread of food. Smaller families such as Em’s back when it was just her and her husband dispensed with the big meal altogether and cooked a mix of foods they loved to have along with nice bread and cheese. Jodie’s family enjoys bacon sandwiches together!
Finding a way to enjoy food as a family can be tricky when everyone has different wants and needs so many families stick to a tradition once they have found one which works! Do you have a favourite festive food?
Decorating for Christmas can be a wonderful Christmas family activity but like with everything else lots of families do it differently.
Some families like to have their tree up early – Lorette travels to see family in France for Christmas so her decorations go up in November, so her family can all enjoy decorating and the joy of a decorated house for as long as possible. Many UK families wait until December to put up their decorations, but when in December varies a lot. Jane’s family wait for the last birthday of the year before the Christmas decorations go up just a few days before Christmas.
Who does the decorating also varies a lot. Emily’s family have several trees, two for everyone to decorate and one just for Emily to decorate! In Jenni’s house everyone gets involved, and in Em’s house she helps the children make new decorations every year to add to the tree.
When do you put your tree up? What do you do to decorate?
Buying gifts for family can become a very stressful part of the Christmas season. It can also be something that people take a lot of joy in. If you have a lot of people to buy for it can be daunting, but also a challenge to find the perfect gift for your loved one.
Some families have creative ways of tackling gift giving. Some families choose to only buy for children, or to do a secret Santa style gift exchange to avoid the worries about over spending on lots of gifts. This year more people seem to be thinking of the environmental impact of their gift giving too and looking at different ways to spread the love! Families often also have different traditions about the role of Father Christmas or Santa – maybe he brings all the presents, or maybe he brings stockings, maybe he delivers but family still buy them!
Families also have lots of traditions about when and how gifts are opened. Lorette’s family don’t label gifts with who they are from, and once all are opened everyone thanks everyone else. Emily’s family open stockings all together before going downstairs but then wait until after lunch to do the main presents. Em’s family have breakfast and then do all the gifts!
How do you do it in your family?
Festive films have slowly become a staple of many family Christmas traditions as well. Services like Netflix and Amazon Prime have increased the number of festive offerings and how they can be watched without needing a big cinema trip (I highly recommend Christmas Chronicles on Netflix!). Some families have films that they always watch together, and others enjoy exploring new films.
Em’s family always watch The Snowman on Christmas Eve, as part of their Christmas Eve tradition, Jenni watches Father Christmas and Hannah watches Santa Claus The Movie! Vic’s family also watch a film but a new one each year. One year Jenni did a Christmas film advent with a different film each day!
Do you have a Christmas film you watch together?
There are many many more traditions which make up every family’s Christmas. Nicole’s family have a longest night bonfire, Vic’s family goes hunting for Christmas lights together, Em’s family watch carols from Kings College. We all have a myriad of ways in which we enjoy the festive season as a family.
We’d love to hear about your festive traditions. What do you do as a family?