Sunday, 25 December 2011

Christmas traditions

At a time when the rest of the country seems to have finished Christmas, here in chez Maxwell it's hardly begun yet. And no, it's not that we've been lying about in bed all morning. We've been up since 8am (well some of us have, others managed a long lie) and there's been lots happening, but Christmas itself as others know it - well, it's not really started yet.

I'm not sure when it dawned on me that the way we did Christmas at home was different from the way most other people did. We did the whole Santa thing, with stockings hung up, filled overnight and then opened with great excitement in the morning. And we did the Christmas lunch thing - the bird, the vegetables and all the trimmings. But that's pretty much where the similarities ended.

For one thing, present opening didn't (and still doesn't) start until after lunch. Present opening itself is a very civilised affair, with no paper wrapping frenzy, pauses between gifts to explore and appreciate (and thank the donor) and organised lists of who gave what made. While it might sound boring and sedate, I confess I enjoy it. It is much more of a family event, with true appreciation for what's given and received. And it makes Christmas last waaaay longer!

When I spoke to friends, of course, I noticed that they did things differently but it wasn't really until I started spending Christmas with other people that I realised just how different it was from the norm. And I've been reminded again this Christmas with a guest in the house, to whom I'm having to explain our idiosyncrasies. Luckily she's a flexible sort and is quite happy to go with the flow. Just as well really.

And with that, I need to go finish making my bread sauce... Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you're having a great day, whatever your traditions are.

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