I know it’s still technically November and might seem early to be talking about Christmas so much.
The truth is, I haven’t actually stopped since June my daughters birthday.
Currently, I am potentially averaging the ‘C’ word (Christmas, not the other one) at least 4 times per hour.
So it’s understandable that I spent last weekend dusting off my baubles (ooh err), for my daughter to wake up to.
It’s actually only 27 days until Christmas.
Time is ticking.
As I began planning themes and colour schemes for my Christmas decorations (back in September), and frantically pinning to my festive Pinterest boards, I started to wonder where other people sit on traditions.
Of course, we are a symptom of our upbringings, so it’s entirely logical that we approach holidays and occasions the same way that our parents and grandparents did.
They will have undoubtedly influenced our decisions but to what extent?
Growing up, apart for a few times, we always had fakies.
My Dad couldn’t handle the mess (yes, really, a man who loves housework), and my Mum got a reaction to the pine needles. So year after year, we’d put up an artificial Christmas tree and adorn it with tat my family had collected since the 1970s.
Having had both types, I have to agree that a fake one is much more practical and cost effective, but nothing beats the feeling of dragging a real tree out of the car.
OK, there’s the mess during and afterwards, and the month that follows of seeing dead trees lining the streets as they are abandoned, but they are special.
The smell, the shapes, the whole process; that’s Christmas right there.
As a child, I was obsessed with writing Christmas cards. Sometimes, I’d even re-write them if they weren’t neat enough.
I’d watch my Mum writing hers and forgetting to deliver or post them and wonder how that could happen?
Of course as a busy parent myself, I now know exactly how that can happen!
Ecards are a good option for friends overseas or when you have missed the post, and donations to charity make a very thoughtful alternative.
Some people still love a card though. I am mainly talking about older relatives.
So whilst I happily make a donation to charity at Christmas, I still tend to send a cheery card out too.
In the 1980s and 1990s, I used to help my grandparents decorate their house at Christmastime.
My Nan had collected some really retro decorations that eventually she decided were tacky and threw away.
But can you ever get too tacky at Christmas?
The decision is whether to go for lights inside and out, a blow up snowman for the front garden, and dancing Santas for the kids.
Or whether to keep it classy and go for something out of the White Company catalogue that no one is allowed to touch.
And of course, as a parent you’ll have been collecting items that your child makes, that you can never ever through away.
I think the answer is, go for something in between. It’s only for a month or so.
Do you actually have the time or the inclination to hit the high street to go Christmas shopping?
I don’t think I’ve been Christmas shopping since my daughter was 6 weeks old. Ahh, those days where they sleep for long stints during the day.
Any year after that has been too much effort. Balancing nap times, traffic, parking, toilet trips, and my own sanity with queues is just too much.
I have to admit, our gifts are usually a combination of presents I’ve managed to get on click and collect, or online shopping so that I don’t have to encounter other actual humans.
I’m also guilty of sneaking out on Christmas Eve to pick up a few gift vouchers for those really hard to buy for people!
Here’s a gift guide I wrote for a few pointers.
Christmas Eve was always about my parents going out to some kind of party, and me and my brother getting excited at my grandparents house.
In later years, it was me doing the drinking with friends, and nursing a hangover on the big day.
Now that I am a parent myself, it’s all about the kids.
This year is the first year that we will really do the Christmas plate for Father Christmas and my daughter will actually understand it.
So it’s going to be new fluffy pyjamas, hot chocolates, and trying desperately to wear her out so that she goes to bed!
Are you an ‘everyone can open presents at the same time’ kind of family?
Or do you run a ‘we open one at a time’ household?
My family have actually always dragged present opening out over 3 days.
Day 1: We have a tradition of ‘Christmas tree presents’ which is one small gift (usually novelty) on the tree for Christmas Eve.
Day 2: Christmas Day is a frenzy of present opening.
Day 3: On Boxing Day, the grandmother provides ‘cracker presents’. Inside the crackers are clues for the children have to solve to find an extra gift.
And I love it!