Choc Lit Christmas Special – Day 2

choclit-logoxmassmallerEveryone has their own Christmas traditions, be it stirring the pudding or putting up special decorations, and Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without them. Today we thought we’d share our favourites with you, so here they are:-

Margaret – My mother and I have always made the Christmas puddings together. I remember being very small – two or three, perhaps – and having to stand on a kitchen stool to stir all the ingredients together. Then I’d close my eyes and make a wish or several. Last month we made our Christmas puddings in the same old yellow china mixing bowl, following the same old recipe first printed during WW2, and stirring them with the same old wooden spoon. Only nowadays Mum sits down and I do all the stirring. I’m the one in charge. So I slosh some brandy in, as well.

EvonneA childhood tradition was a trip to the pantomime, back in the day, when the Principal Boy was played by a girl and the costume was a cross between a musketeer and a chorus girl.  You can forget poor downtrodden Cinderella, I wanted to be Prince Charming, or his side kick Dandini – cavalier satin and lace, endless legs, killer heels and a hat with a plume!

Sue – Parties? Do they count? I don’t (necessarily) mean the type where intrepid partygoers get falling-over-drunk under the partner of the moment, but more the Christmas celebrations with workmates past and present, fellow club members etc. It’s just nice to get to know people out of their usual environment or catch up on old buddies.

KateMy favourite Christmas tradition is probably my Christmas Eve lunch and cinema date with my best friend. We’ve been doing it a few years now, and it’s a lovely start to Christmas proper.

Liz's unusual stocking

Liz's unusual stocking

Chris – Making up Christmas stockings for my daughters. I did it right up until they left home, and still do if they’re staying with me for Christmas. They don’t make quite as much noise as when they were little (or wake up so early, thank goodness) but it’s still good fun.

LizOld tradition: We never open any presents until after the Christmas lunch has been cleared away. It means that the cook (usually me) gets to join in with all of the unwrapping of gifts when it takes place, without keeping an eye on the clock.

New tradition: We have expanded in number and we now do a Secret Santa, with a fixed price limit.  It’s great fun and we never want to return to the situation where everyone buys a present for everyone else.

LindaNow, listen up – I’m not a cheapskate. This is a bit of fun – honestly. Every year – and I mean the whole 365 days of it – I think about/keep an eye out for the ‘Freebie Box’ my family exchanges with my brother’s family. Think BOGOFs. Think 3-4-2. Think those books and make-up and bags and other gift carrots they stick to the front of magazines to get the punters to part with their cash. Think mail-order ‘free gifts’ – a scarf if you buy a jumper for example. Anything non-perishable is up for grabs. Think wine (often a couple of cases of it over the year!) and toiletries and nearer Christmas chocolates and biscuits with long sell-by dates – it all goes in the ‘Freebie Box’. We get back as much as we give and it’s huge fun doing it. Everything likes something for nothing, don’t they? But did I say box? Some years we need a tea crate!

Henriette – My favourite tradition is when we light the Advent candles on the first Sunday in Advent (like Christina said yesterday). Unlike Christina’s Swedish version, the candles in a Danish one are placed in a wreath or a circular candle holder, and we light one candle each time but only burn it a quarter of the way down. On the last Sunday all four candles will be lit in a staggered pattern.

swedensnow3smallJaneWe have always gone for a Christmas Day walk. As a child, I used to love the fact that the whole family (even the laziest members) got out of their chairs and went somewhere picturesque, and I’ve kept up the tradition over the years. We do have to prod some of the children, particularly anyone who receives an X Box game, but they eventually give in and we head out onto the moors in search of Christmas spirit, an appetite for dinner and hypothermia.

Christina – Hmm, there are so many to choose from, so I can’t just pick one, but making saffron buns, decorating the tree and watching Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s “Christmas Vacation” on the evening of the 23rd December are some of my favourites! (not all at once obviously)

JulietThe stockings under the tree. They date from the children being young, and each one belongs to a different member of the family. It’s always a struggle to find presents that fit inside the narrower stockings – but very worthwhile on Christmas morning.

So do you have any traditions that make Christmas special for you? Please share them with us! And come back tomorrow if you’d like to find out about our favourite gifts …

11 thoughts on “Choc Lit Christmas Special – Day 2

  1. I do love the freebie box idea. How many times have I looked at 3 4 2 offers and decided I don’t need or want that 3rd item. I could put it aside for an Xmas gift. Great idea!
    My mum used to do something on a very much smaller scale, whereby she would collect the freebies in the cereal boxes and make two big crackers for me and my brother. 🙂

    Happy Christmas to all the ChocLit authors and all the team at ChocLit.

    carol
    DizzyC

  2. A new tradition is making the contents of four advent calenders for my mum&dad, husband and two best friends, I’ve been blogging the countdown this year so getting double the pleasure as lots of people have been enjoying them.

    Christmas day is always the same – at mum and dads: stockings, Church, presents (with sherry!), very late lunch, jigsaw/games/film depending on the health of some members of the family which has been a little ropey in the last few years. This year everyone is well (so far) so we’ll be grateful for that. Boxing day includes a big lunch and then a long and cold walk with lots of dogs.

  3. Thanks, Carol, Happy Christmas to you too! Love your mother’s idea for the big crackers!

  4. Some lovely traditions here. One of ours dates back to the time when the children were small and we had pets – dogs, fish, budgerigars, guinea pigs. Sometimes the animals would get little presents wrapped for them – our big Newfie always got a cabbage – but unfailingly they would also ‘give’ their own presents – as in ‘To Emma with love from the Goldfish’ and inside would be some little trinket or charity shop present or book. The trick was trying to match the animal to the present. Golden chocolate coins perhaps from the ‘Guinea Pigs.’

  5. So many of our traditions involve keeping warm – taking bracing walks, eating lots and lots of food, sitting round the fire – that I can’t really get my head round spending Christmas in the sunshine in some other country. I don’t think I’d want to do it, somehow – wouldn’t seem right!

  6. Fennie, you’re not the only one: I think the first presents bought in my house were for the cats and dogs! And they always send presents too, usually something small and/or edible. This year I think my Demon Puppy is sending everyone socks: she’s always stealing them!

  7. Ah traditions, love them 🙂 My own traditions that have lasted is me making up individual crackers for my own family that are pulled after Christmas Day meal. The first few years it was easy but seems to be getting harder! This year, my husband’s doesn’t fit in his cracker so it’s wrapped under the tree with a clue in the cracker which everyone has to guess. Another tradition was panto on Christmas Eve but due to rising costs and rising ages of my boys (although I know they’d tell you they still want to go!) we go to the cinema instead. Boxing Day is a walk either on the beach or through the woods – that will be different this year as our eldest son is working! Have to move with the changes too …

  8. I wouldn’t mind being on a sun lounger beside a pool in a warm country for Christmas, Margaret!

    Lovely to read everyone’s Christmas traditions.

  9. Kate M – I used to make Advent calendars for my two girls when they were small, but it was really hard to find 24 tiny presents so sometimes it had to be a chocolate bar instead 🙂
    Fennie – yes, my dogs are very “generous” too and buy people things, it’s a lovely tradition!
    Sharon – individual crackers sounds like a great idea, much better than the ones where you get a pair of nail clippers or something!

  10. I love all the aspects of Christmas, be it the food, the carols, the whole lot. But the one Christmas custom I’ve always tried to follow is going to Church on Christmas morning. There is such an atmosphere of joy. Sadly, I had to miss it the last couple of years because of seasonal related illness like a heavy cold or something. Well, hopefully, I’ll make it this year.

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