Ever since I was a child Christmas has always been my favourite time of the year and this feeling has probably got even stronger since I had my children, albeit over a decade ago now… where did the time go!?
Childhood memories are the most precious and making them, for me, is what parenthood is all about.
Naturally, as a family we now have our own festive traditions, some of which we started when the kids were very young but which we still follow to this day.
So in no particular order here are the five Christmas traditions in our house.
Picking our Festive TV Viewing
It probably sounds daft, but there’s a real buzz of excitement in our house when we buy the Christmas edition of the Radio Times. The Christmas issue covers pretty much all the TV and radio schedules you could possibly want over the 2 week Christmas period.
For a family of four like us, it’s ideal for making plans for who would like to watch what – without there being any arguments over the TV remote!
So we all take it in turns to write down what programmes we’d like to watch over Christmas and then plan our viewing accordingly. More often than not we pick the same movies or shows, so it actually works out quite well.
Popular choices this year – well they’re on my list – are the Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special and Strictly Come Dancing.
Making Mince Pies and Yule Chocolate Log
I’ve always enjoyed baking and have always encouraged the kids to have a go too, so Christmas is the ideal time to have a go at some festive family baking – especially due to the school holidays.
It’s great fun and the kids enjoy dabbling with some let’s say less traditional fillings for the mince pies too – strawberry jam being a popular one!
In fact the only downside, is that we never seem to be able to make enough of them to keep up with the demand in the household and we’re lucky if they last more than 2-3 days.
All great fun though and just as importantly it helps the kids learn more about cooking, a handy life skill if you ask me.
Going to the Pantomime
“Oh no you don’t”… “Oh YES WE DO!”. Yes it’s true, every year we venture down to the Grand Theatre in Swansea to watch the Pantomime, which really puts us in the Christmas mood – especially as we have a golden rule that we all have to wear our Christmas jumpers.
This year’s offering is Peter Pan, starring Starring Coronation Street’s Tristan Gemmill as Captain Hook and Britain’s Got Talent’s Ricky K as Starkey.
But our favourite panto star every year is without doubt Swansea’s very own Kevin Johns (Mrs Smee in this year’s panto). His charismatic energy never fails to make the whole audience laugh and brings a real festive feel good factor to the panto.
My kids enjoy the trip (and sweets) as much as my husband and I – even if some of the gags go over their heads sometimes.
One of our favourite shows was Aladdin, which starred Benidorm’s Tony Maudsley, whom with the comic duo of Kev Johns and Matt Edwards brought the house down with non-stop laughs. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much at a panto in all my life!
In fact, we’re off to see this year’s show tonight – so we’re all rather excited.
A Christmas Eve walk in Margam Park
For those of you not familiar with the name, Margam Country Park is a 850 acre country park estate near Port Talbot in south Wales, whose grounds feature a castle, abbey, orangery, gardens and farm trail.
It is the perfect place for a Winter walk, with plenty to keep the whole family amused, from the adventure playground and farm trail for the youngsters to the vast estate with its historic buildings and gardens for the adults.
A visit during Christmas is made all the more special due to the large Fallow, Red and Père David’s deer herd that live in the park. During the run up to Christmas, you can also see Santa feeding the deer on specific days and times, but this does require booking and sells out very quickly.
Rumour has it that Santa has recruited the deer for his sleigh from here also 😉
My Husband Cooks the Christmas Dinner
Yes you did read that correctly, my Husband cooks the Christmas dinner!! In the x years we have been together he has cooked a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings every year, well apart from the very first year when we were both at home with our parents on Christmas Day.
It says it all really that whenever we have a roast dinner, the kids always make a comparison to my husband’s efforts – even down to the taste of the roast potatoes and honey roast parsnips!
In fairness to him, it isn’t just the cooking of the dinner either – it’s everything from shopping for the veg to preparing everything too. He really does enjoy (and take a great deal of pride) doing it and as he always says, “it is a traditional part of our family Christmas.”.
I must confess, that not having to make the Christmas Dinner on THE big day is certainly one headache I don’t miss and the only thing I have to worry about is the washing up afterwards… well for the bits that can’t go in the dishwasher anyway.
But most of all is is probably the best Christmas gift my husband could get me!
So there are the five festive traditions in our house, but I’d love to hear what Christmas traditions you have in your home, so please leave a comment below sharing your special moments.
Wishing you a Happy Christmas and a healthy, prosperous New Year x