Christmas is definitely the time of year for feeling sentimental. We can all appreciate the warming aroma of a mulled wine or the magic of fairy lights on a Christmas tree but the great thing about festive traditions is that no two are the same. Every single person has a totally unique experience that makes this time of year so special.
After reading The Guardian’s ‘My childhood Christmas by Conchita Wurst, Carlos Acosta, Oti Mabuse and more’ article last week, The Corner Shop team jumped at the chance to tell you about our own festive traditions. Have a read below:
Without fail, we always do ‘winter clean’ on Xmas Day. My Mum always insists on making us all clean the house from top to bottom ready for guests arriving on Boxing Day! Not exactly the most festive thing to do, but it happens every year.
On Xmas Eve Seb gets an Xmas Eve Box with a Christmas movie, Christmas PJs and some ingredients to make Santa a snack (brownies / xmas cookies etc). We’ll then watch the movie and make the snack (accompanied by mulled wine for me). Normally we’ll go to a friends for Xmas drinks and then return and put out the snack, Baileys, stockings and a carrot for Santa and Rudolf.
In the morning it’s opening the stocking in our jim jams before Eggs Benedict (and bucks fizz for me and Brett) and then playing with toys whilst we get ready and go to one of our parents for a big lunch. When we go to my mum’s the whole shebang could have a blog post dedicated to it, but basically my mum cooks enough for 20 people; it’s like the feast at the end of A Christmas Carol! There’s 13 of us including kids so the kids get spoilt rotten with presents and the rest of us very wobbly from my dad’s wine cabinet!
The best thing about Christmas in my family is the Boxing Day meal. Bubble and squeak made from leftover roast potatoes and sprouts is the highlight alongside cold turkey and mountains of mash potato. With this we have an assortment of homemade pickled onions, pickled red cabbage and pickled walnuts (which look like brains). Presents aren’t a big deal to the Jarretts – instead it is all about eating and drinking well.
The big calendar date of the year in the Redfern household is the 24th. All four of us go to the cinema, last year it was Its a Wonderful Life for the first time and we’re hoping to catch Paddington 2 this. Nothing brings back the anticipation and excitement of childhood Christmasses like coming out of the cinema, late afternoon with the night having fallen and frost setting in. Prime time to spot an unidentified flying object, led by a glowing red nose…
Every year, mum and I used to do a ‘wardrobe cleanout,’ we put some music on and go through all our clothes to see what we haven’t worn in a year (can go away), doesn’t fit us anymore (must go away) and what we do not even remember buying. The best part of this process was that EVERY year we found presents that mum hid so well she forgot to put them under the tree (or even wrap them). It was like 2nd Christmas!
When I was little my dad would allow me and my siblings to open one present early, after dinner on Christmas Eve. This was always done via a treasure hunt and clues would be hidden all over the house. It’s become such an important tradition for me that even now I’m in my thirties I still do a treasure hunt on Christmas Eve (no matter who I am with, or where I am)!
When we decorate our Christmas tree we always listen to The Smurfs Christmas album… every year.
Midnight Mass is one of the most Christmassy things ever. I haven’t been for a very long time but I have vivid memories of being young enough to be excited about being allowed to stay up so late and as a teenager heading there after pub closing time, but most memorable was the time that one of my brothers made an appearance, half way through the service, with a DOG in tow. He is neither blind, nor a dog owner. So embarrassing at the time, so funny now.
At the ages of twenty four, twenty eight and thirty, me and my brother and sister still have to go to bed at the same time on Christmas Eve so that Santa can put the presents under the tree and deliver our stockings. Weirdly, our parents are always allowed to stay up later…
Every Christmas Eve, we have a mini Christmas with family friends. My parents met their friends at an anti-natal class, so the tradition began with my brother’s first Christmas. When we were kids, the evening featured someone – with a vague resemblance to my Dad – dressing up as a dishevelled version of Santa Claus (one frugal year he had a sheet of kitchen roll as a beard…). Now, it’s a hearty meal, games and the opening of our first presents of the season. With the addition of partners and babies – next year, along with my brother, the tradition will be 30 years old.
We all have an Ulster Fry for breakfast and don’t go near Xmas dinner until early evening! We also don’t open our presents until after breakfast unless your wee/3rd generation McCormack and then you have full permissions to excitingly rip into at least a few presents as it would be a little humbug to leave them waiting for us to get organised!We also all go to Omagh cinema during the Xmas hols as we need a firm excuse to leave the intoxicating (i.e. makes you lazy as hell!) open fire to see the latest blockbuster at what could be the cheapest price in the UK. It was until recently family owned and cheap as chips!