Earlier this week I put out a collaborative post where I asked a few of my blogging buddies to share with us how they celebrate the festive season and their Christmas traditions with us. I had so many other awesome bloggers want to share their stories that I have enough for another post.
My traditions have changed so much since my single days. Now that I am a respected mom I like to “Christmas” properly and not do a Christmas Eve countdown with shooters. The children as they get older make it even more fun. We are able to do the elf on the shelf challenge, get a Santa video going and write a letter to Santa (mom also joins in the letter writing). We may even throw in some flour footprints from Santa this year.
The build-up to Christmas is the best. When we aren’t hanging around the pool with family, we are baking and braaing, playing card games and enjoying the South African summer.
Christmas Eve has become an evening filled with snacks and a cheesy Christmas movie thrown in. Some favourites include – It’s a wonderful life, Die Hard and of course Elf. Let’s not forget Home Alone.
Christmas day is all about the Roast lamb, Gammon, Turkey, potatoes, stuffing, Yorkshire pudding and gravy, lots of vegetables, and then all washed down with trifle, mince pies, and chocolate. Yes, I base my day not on the presents but on the food and company and good Christmas music – yes, Boney M.
Christmas is about family and my Christmases have not been the same since my Russian sister-in-law joined us – she loves entertaining and cooking and celebrating A LOT, The Russian Christmas is celebrated for about 48 hours on New Year’s Eve, however, she has embraced our English Christmas to the maximum and I must add we do not discriminate against anyone wanting to join in the Christmas cheer. Even when I have to fight her Jewish brother-in-law for the stuffing.
I love this. It sounds very much like ours, the food, the family, the food, the fun. Sounds like you need to put the Jewish brother-in-law in his place! lol
I am Afrikaans and grew up with a whole lot of Afrikaans traditions. My whole life we celebrated Christmas completely different to my Rhodesian English husband. So we have two traditions and have often talked about how we would love to start our own tradition but due to respect for our own parents we have learnt to work around this and for now, we take turns. Every second year is spent with my family and every other year with his family.
The “Afrikaans” Christmas: The 24th is a big day, as kids I remember my parents threatening us that we will wait until 12 if we don’t behave, but we normally opened and still open presents on the 24th around 9pm. This normally follows after a festive “braai.” Christmas day has no presents involved, just playing with all the cool new stuff. We normally do a “restaurant” lunch although last year we had a full on cooked meal which was kind of nice with Christmas decor and crackers.
We did the Christmas stockings on Christmas morning for the kids, although this was not a tradition when I grew up. I brought this in so the kids will understand that Christmas is also (actually) the day for giving. It can be very confusing for a kid! This way I can also start a tradition of our own… no matter who you celebrate it with, the stockings go with for Christmas morning when you open your eyes.
It’s a peaceful Christmas with only my four kids, as my brother and his wife don’t have any kids, which gives us a total of only 10 people (we are 6)!
The “Rhodesian” Christmas: When I met Barry and spent my first Christmas with him I thought it was insane. Firstly I was highly upset (like a 20 year old brat) that I had to wait until the 25th for my presents. We are normally all together in Port Alfred where my mother in-law has a house she inherited from her dad. Eve normally only starts around 7.00pm with a play directed and normally written by one of the many (15) grandchildren. All the kids are involved. We end the night under the stars with Christmas carols normally sung by mostly the kids over looking all the little lights in Port Alfred. This has never changed in 18 years.
The kids wake up on Christmas Day and all the stockings are hanging up. None of the presents go under the tree until the kids are all out. The kids are up at 5.00am and can’t wait to dig in their stockings. This keeps them busy for a good two hours until we all rush off to church at 8.00am. By the time we get back we make tea and have biscuits. Then finally they start the whole Christmas present hand out. This takes forever. But it’s really lovely. My in-laws have five children and each of them has three or more kids, we make a total of 25 people. The room is full and loud…. excitement and wrapping paper fills the air. It’s crazy!!! The kids scream and jump up and down when they open something they have fancied for months.
After all the gifts all the woman go to the kitchen to help prepare a Christmas late lunch. The kids normally decorate the tables and we eat together as a family. It’s really a lot like the movies.
This year we will celebrate Christmas without my father in-law for the first time. The question keeps coming up – who will be Santa?
It must be a Rhodesian/Zimbabwean thing because we also have a ‘Santa’ – for everyone else, this is usually the oldest male relative in the family who dons a Santa hat and proceeds to draw out the agony for the kids by calling out the name of the gift recipient, often having a bit of fun at everyone else’s expense. I love this! It’s very special. Will be thinking of you guys this year as you spend the first Christmas without your FIL. x
Jacqui from One Messy Mamma
We have many Christmas traditions. It is by far my most favourite time of year. I will admit that I go a little overboard. On Christmas eve our kids get a little box ‘delivered’ by the elves. In this box is a new pair of PJs, hot chocolate with marshmallows, reindeer food and popcorn. We snuggle up as a family on the couch and watch Christmas movies. Our kids get to sleep on what we call a ‘Christmas bed’ in the lounge, ready for an early wake up and presents.
I love the idea of Christmas Eve boxes, but I’m always so bad at organising my life that I end up spending the whole of Christmas Eve wrapping presents so to prepare boxes in advance just isn’t realistically going to happen! And the Christmas bed … also love it!
Thanks everyone for joining in! It’s been awesome. If I get any more entries I’ll put out another post. You can send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org
To read the final post in this series, you can find it here: Christmas Traditions – The Final Episode