Family Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve has become a sacred family day. However, like many traditions it has transformed as our children have grown.
When the children were small my husband and I would arrange an exciting a day trip and chose a local crib service. Whilst we are both atheists we still felt it would be a good idea to immerse the children in the cultures of our heritages. Therefore, they have attended both Christian and Hindu festival celebrations alongside a multitude of non-religious festivities. Hopefully, this has instilled them with an understanding and empathy for alternative world views that we feel is a crucial parenting role.
My favourite Christmas Eve excursion was a trip to Colchester Zoo. It was a cold and damp winter's day. I was heavily pregnant with our fourth child (he was born early Jan). We'd put on our welly boots and hiked around the animal enclosures. There were glittering lights, festive treats and fun family activities. It was a muddy but magical experience and the children were filled with an abundance of Christmas excitement. We lost track of time and had to pitch up at the Crib service straight from the zoo; muddy, in wellies and appropriately probably smelling of camels. We looked a little out of place among the Christmas finery and Sunday best outfits. However, I thought we would not be judged as one of the Christmas messages is that the kings and shepherds were each equally welcome to join in the celebration. We were representing the shepherds this time.
Smelly and muddy was probably much more desirable than the year our youngest had insisted on dressing as Batman for the crib service. We informed him 'Batman did not visit baby Jesus' and he laughed 'Of course, he swooped down, snatched him and killed him'. We were aghast and terrified about how that crib service might pan out but fortunately his 'blue sweet induced psychosis' wore off just in time for a more peaceful Batman visitation and service.
The Christmas Eve outing became a visit to the cinema to share a Christmas film, followed by a meal. It has further changed and now we stay at home, argue for awhile over which film to watch before settling to watch the winning one. It can be a challenge to find a film that suits the family age range (now spreading from 12-50); not too much action for the girls and not too much romance for the boys. Usually a comedy wins.We laugh, eat copious amounts of sugary snacks and avoid answering the phone. We don't have to worry about sugar highs because the children grew out of the crib service and baby Jesus is quite safe (at least from our family).
My friend, Nathalie has 5 children. We have shared a lot in common over the years both being local GP's and with children at the same primary school. When the kids were young we would often catch up with a cuppa and then do the school pick up together.
One December, supporting the school Christmas fair, we sat chatting whilst decorating some ceramic baubles. We then decided to swap them as a Christmas present to each other. We spoke excitedly about how our trees would be adorned with representations of our friendship over the years to come. It was the beginnings of our friendship festive tradition of making and swapping decorations.
Sadly, that ceramic business went bust and we had to find an alternative. Each year we source different decoration kits and two has grown to three. We have been joined by another special GP friend, Sara, a creative mother of three.
Festive Tradition Facts :Fir trees have been used to celebrate Christmas in Northern Europe for over 1000 years. At first they were adorned with apples, white candy canes and pastries. The first glass baubles were first made in Lauscha, Germany, by Hans Greiner (1550-1609) who produced garlands of glass beads and tin figures.
I would love to hear about your family and friendship festive traditions. You can e-mail me through the contact page.
I have been looking for solutions and I recently discovered a local workshop that we can actually hire to go back to our roots - decorating ceramic Christmas baubles. Next year, I am going to suggest we book it and 'fingers crossed' the old tradition will be renewed. I would love to revive the dream that our trees are forever adorned with tokens of our special friendship.
Christmas is celebrated by a multitude of different festive traditions, inspired by both culture and family. I thought I would share one of our special family festive traditions and one special friendship festive tradition.
A Friendship Festive Tradition
Examples of our decorative handiwork
I do have to share a confession about my role in the weakening of this particular festive tradition. If you have read my week 37 blog you would understand why I ran into difficulties. I am a natural at talking rather than sewing. The kits took me longer than the others and sadly some remained unfinished. Last years gingerbread man still needs a little stuffing and closure at his head. I let the girls down badly as mine were not always finished to swap. This year I thought I would rectify it by buying some easier decorations that I could confidently finish. We met up, had a catch up, laughed and let our creativity flow. I finished in record time (for me). However, since I had previously broken the tradition the result was that this year the decorations remained un-swapped.
This is a public apology for breaking the swapping tradition through my woeful lack of finishing in previous years. I am not a natural completer-finisher, sorry!
Our 2015 unswapped handiwork
Sara's, Mine and Nathalie's decorations