Christmas Traditions shared (or are they Rules?)

At they are asking parents to share their Christmas “Rules for a Perfect Family Christmas” and plan to compile a huge list of them early in December. This post is my contribution.

Being a bit contrary, I prefer to call them traditions…….  Rules are just asking to be disobeyed, but traditions sounds much more…….something?!!!

Those who have been following my blog for a while will know how much I love Christmas, and for the past two years have posted daily in Decemeber. Have not yet decided if I will attempt it again this year….wait and see!

To whet your appetite for lots of Christmas blogging,  here are my Christmas traditions, and as I started to list them, I realised we have quite a few…….


  • Each year we light a candle on our Christmas Pyramid (a gift from Austria) on the 4 Sunday evenings prior to Christmas Day.  We often sign a Christmas Carol (usually Away in a Manager) and it is a special family time.

  • I love to decorate the house for Christmas, and as near to 1 December as possible we get down the boxes from the attic.
  • Only ever WHITE lights on our Christmas tree(s).

I also like to take pictures of my kids in Santa hats, and they humour me by letting me do it!

Christmas Eve

Early in the evening we all wrap up and go for a walk around the neighbourhood to see the Christmas decorations. Once or twice it has even began to snow.

We return, get the kids into their pyjamas, drink hot chocolate and read “Twas the Night Before Christmas”

We leave a mince pie and glass of port for Santa, and a carrot and some “reindeer food” (which looks remarkably like porride oats and glitter!) on the fireplace beside the stockings.

My husband attends the Communion Service on Christmas Eve at our church while I search for those last minute gifts I hid around the house but can’t quite remember where!

Christmas Morning and the Children

All presents and stockings are left by Santa downstairs by the Christmas Tree.

We all head down together, with me just ahead with camera at the ready!

First Santa’s gifts and stockings are opened.

After a frenzy of opening/assembling we take a break for breakfast.

Then we open the family gifts to each other, trying to each take turn to open a pressie.

Later in the morning, after dressing in our Christmas festive best, we join the neighbours for some mulled wine, mince pies and shortbread. Our kids bring down a toy (or 2!) with them and love to see what their friends in our street have received too.

Christmas Dinner

We have the traditional turkey, ham, stuffing, sprouts, potatoes, carrots, gravy, cranberry sauce. (My favourite part? The stuffing (I may share the recipe this year), the sprouts and the cranberry sauce!)

I don’t usually do a traditional pudding, opting instead for something lighter – maybe a fruit salad this year.

I serve it at about 3pm and then I RELAX (!) and everyone else does the dishes!

Any remain presents are opened/assembled after dinner, and no, we never watch the Queen’s Speech.

We try to stay at home now on Christmas Day, and let our family come to us. The kids enjoy the day so much more, having time with their presents.


While the kids play with their new toys, my husband and I struggle to assemble/insert batters and remove all those little ties that firmly attach all toys to their packaging – that is usually our entertainment! 

We rarely watch much TV, until perhaps later in the evening, if there is a good film on.

Phew! – have you made it to the end? Congrats!  All photos and digital scrapbooking layout are from Christmas 2008.

Seeing it all listed fills me with both excitement and a little panic, but Christmas time is a wonderful time to celebrate the birth of our Lord.

So, how do you celebrate, and are you planning to do anything differently this year?

I am participating in The Inspired Room’s Holiday Friday Linky too this week – love Christmas, you will love this carnival.

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  1. I love this idea for a post. Thanks for sharing your traditions. I’m going to have to write ours up too. I like the Santa hat pics.

  2. Well Christmas is definitely one of our favorites too!

    We go to the “early” service at our church Christmas eve – about 6 pm. We then have friends over for a drop in quick bite and then the kids off to bed so Jenn and I can do the wrapping frenzy. In our house we have Santa presents (which are never wrapped) and Mom and Dad presents which are always wrapped. We then create a “showcase of prizes” on the hearth so the kids can run out in the morning and dig in. Oh – never wake Mon and Dad before 7am Christmas morning. Dinner is awlays turkey and Jenn always make coffee cakes from a recipe handed down in her family from the 20’s.

    Stan at Scrappers Workshop

  3. We go to my In-Laws – My MIL is the mother of all Christmas people. I swear she starts when summer ends haha. Out comes the cookie jars and decorations – over weeks and weeks. The two china cabinets cough up all the other ornaments to make room for Santa’s and reindeer and elves – the coffee table becomes a fluffy snow oval with candles and glittery things nestled in. The fireplace is fronted by a lit up Christmas village, but NO TREE. Gosh, there would not be room, because all the gifts are as high as a tree itself would be.

    They live in a cul-de-sac of condos and most everyone there competes to make the most lights outdoors. Its always a pleasure to come home. I hope I never take it for granted. It won’t last forever.

    I look forward to your shopping Dublin post this year. I feel festive after traipsing along with you.

    Love, Barb

  4. We have lots of holiday traditions in common – I have one of those pyramid dealies, too, white lights only on our Christmas trees, and I make the dog put on a santa hat, purely for my own enjoyment. I have several photos of him looking pathetic while wearing the hat! We take turns going to my parents house or my in-laws – both live far away and we try to spend a week with them. I love being with family at the holidays, but there is also a little part of me that wishes I could be at my own house for Christmas.

  5. i did make it to the end and enjoyed reading. i never really called what-we-do for christmas a ‘tradition’ but i am starting to realize that we do have our own tradition too!!
    we put up our tree as soon as all-saints and all souls are over…hahaha and i know that is early (but that is when we start!!!). back home in the philippines we all go to my sister’s house on christmas day (or maybe the day before christmas), bring all our gifts for all the children and siblings, help prepare a wonderful christmas lunch (and the food will last til dinner!!), and just before lunch we gather around the tree and distribute gifts! there will be piles of trash after but the laughters are priceless. my mom and dad would hand out all the gifts but the eldest grandchild calls out the names.
    it is different now that i am far away, christmas is not really the same. we don’t have any relative here and very few friends (who have their own families to share christmas with. we try out best to make it special. i am just happy to be with my husband and kids.

  6. thanks for your traditions post
    it’s fun to see how other people spend their holidays – and I agree with you
    I like the word traditions better then rules!!
    thanks for sharing

  7. We have Christmas Eve at our house and I go all out with a huge dinner and tons of desserts. We exchange gifts with extended family that night and all the children read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Our guests leave, we leave out food for Santa and the kids go to bed. Then Nate and I are up for at least 2 more hours, dragging gifts out and preparing everything for the next morning.

    Christmas morning, the kids wake us up and I’m always the first one down the stairs so that I can get a shot of the kids’ faces as they come down. Then we open presents and oooh and ahhhh. Then I get breakfast going (it’s always stuffed french toast) and my parents and aunt come over and we eat and exchange more gifts. Then we hang out for the remainder of the day and have dinner. Afterwards, Nate, Helena and I (Zoe is at her dad’s by then) go over to my SIL’s house for dessert.

    I love Christmas! I’m so hoping our stairs are done this weekend so we can decorate!

  8. I love that your traditions are so similar to ours…but no Queens speech, and we are more likely to have a cake or pie than a pudding. Like you, family, friends and neighbors are what we center on.

  9. Thanks for visiting my blog. Yours is lovely! Looks like you have a beautiful family and some really wonderful Christmas traditions (and it does sound much better than “rules”).

  10. It sounds like so much fun! Can’t wait till Christmas. I haven’t got any traditions yet, this will be my first Xmas as a mom and I’m really looking forward to it!

  11. This post really makes it seem closer now! I love all your traditions and the photos of the kids in the Santa hat- too cute!

  12. Lovely traditions. We need to do some serious tradition-getting around this house 🙂

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