I recently read a column in Smallish magazine about Christmas which really resonated with me. The writer talked about how having children makes you become nostalgic about your own childhood Christmas's, and what traditions your family had surrounding the big day. We never were a family to go away at Christmas, so my memories of it are very much rooted at home, Christmas films on the telly, fire roaring, while we ripped into our gifts. Slightly strangely, every Christmas Eve our family went for a Chinese meal - I'm guessing it was a combination of my mum saving her cooking energy for the next day and that the Chinese was probably one of the only restaurants open on the 24th back then, but hey, it's what we did and I always looked forward it!
Now that I am a parent myself, I've realised that it is now our turn to create those rituals and traditions for Ruby. She is 3 now, and most definitely understands the concept of Christmas. She is already talking about it and getting excited. The build up to the big day is all part of it, and especially Christmas Eve when the anticipation is off the scale! So while I know some traditions happen naturally and develop over the years (like our Chinese meals!), these are a few of the simple rituals I plan to do with her this year and beyond, hopefully instilling in her the importance of being with family, creating memories and being content and happy at home...
1. Baking biscuits for Father Christmas - Ruby LOVES to bake, and at the moment we are making something most weeks on her days off from pre-school, so I know she will love to spend Christmas Eve afternoon preparing some festive treats for Santa to nibble on. And of course the extra biscuits can be eaten for breakfast!
2. Leaving the treats by the hearth - I remember I loved this part of Christmas Eve. When you are really young, the thought of Santa enjoying a biscuit and some milk (or a sherry!) and Rudolph nibbling on some carrots, before flying off to their next stop was completely magical. And then of course, checking in the morning that they'd gone!
3. New pyjamas and a book - I remember as a child I often thought it odd that my parents didn't get me a Christmas gift. We obviously got our 'Santa gifts' but as far as I was concerned Santa chose and financed those himself! So I think for Ruby, we will allow her to open one gift which is from mum and dad on Christmas Eve. I've stolen an idea from my colleague and friend Laura of Circle of Pine Trees, who gives her three sons new pyjamas and a book every year. I LOVE this idea, as even though as time goes on, it won't necessarily be a 'surprise' gift, I know she will come to enjoy the familiarity of opening that present each year, and then being able to slip into those fresh pyjamas and read her new book at bedtime. As a pyjama and book lover myself, I think it is definitely a requirement of this tradition to also gift myself a new set and an inspiring read!
Three rituals that are at the heart of what I want our Christmas's to be about - family, simplicity and embracing hygge. Let's hope Santa enjoys our homemade biscuits! What are your Christmas Eve rituals or traditions? I'd so love to hear.
This post was a paid collaboration with Marks and Spencer who also gifted me some cosy pyjamas. Do check out their range of perfect Christmas Eve pyjamas. All ideas, thoughts and opinions are my own.