Saturday, 21 December 2013

It's Christmas Time! And all our Christmas Traditions

It’s Christmas Time!

Another year goes by, and it’s the familiar run up to Christmas again. And this year I am EXCITED. To use an apt analogy, like-a-kid-at-Christmas excited. This is going to be a special Christmas for me, as it will be the first Christmas with my first child. I feel like Christmas is very much a children’s holiday, but I think adults can obviously celebrate it as well, and get more enjoyment out of it by seeing the little ones experiencing it all. Albert is already getting in the spirit! And so am I with my own hats! (check out my Christmas pudding one HERE)

I do consider myself a big kid Man-Child but I do have to admit that Christmas hasn’t quite been the same for me for so far as an adult as it was as a child. When I was little I always thought it was the most magical time, and the build up seemed to last for months and months and I was always bursting with excitement by the time Christmas came around! As I grew older and moved into adulthood, there wasn’t really any children in the close family about, and the build up lasted less and less. Christmas always just seemed to happen without me ever getting as excited by it all as I once used to. My mum has always made the most amazing effort at Christmas, so I have always enjoyed it, but it hasn't had that magical 'sparkle' that it once used to when I was 10.

Christmas is a time for families, and I love my family very much. Sadly my Dad passed away when I was a teenager, and looking back I think it has never quite been the same for me since. Christmas obviously brings back memories and not being able to share it with loved ones hurts. Going into my early twenties, I think it’s generally the case that men at that age drift away from their families a little and are more concerned with other things, so Christmas just isn’t as big a deal at that time.

The past few years have been different for me though, and I have slowly been getting back into the spirit of things. I am approaching 30 and am realising how much my family means to me and wanting to spend a lot more time with them all. I met my wife (who is a Christmas addict) and that’s definitely been a Christmas festive injection. I so now really look forward to spending the day with her, my Mum and my Step-Dad (who is like a great father figure to me), my Brother and his girlfriend, my Nan, my Aunts and Uncles and of course all my Wife’s family, who I now think of as my family as well! I get on with all my family so there’s no Christmas tension for me!

This year is like a massive step up for me again, as now I have my own boy! It’s like the whole excitement cycle of Christmas has begun again! Having my own son is bringing back memories of me with my Dad at Christmas, and I’ve been reflecting on the relationship we had and viewing it and understanding it in different ways, and this obviously affects my relationship (in a good way) with my own son.

All in all it’s making me extremely excited again to be spending Christmas with Albert and the rest of my family! I can’t wait to see it all again through his eyes in the years to come, and although he will only be 4 months old on Christmas Day and not really knowing what the hell is going on, it will still make me feel really festive and happy to be spending it with him for the first time. Merry Christmas Albert! We took this photo recently, we decided that we would do the same photo every year with him holding the sign to see how Albert changes each year. New tradition!!

Every family has Christmas traditions, and Lucy and I have been discussing what else we will do with Albert. When 2 families merge, you will get new traditions and a mix of both of the old ones. We have decided that each year as a family, we will give a few gifts on Christmas Eve. New Pyjamas to wear, a new Christmas book, and a new Christmas DVD, which we will all sit down to watch together. As it’s Albert’s first Christmas, we have some red check Pyjamas, and the first Christmas film we have is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. This is my favourite Christmas film, and one of my own Christmas traditions is to watch this film every year. I have probably watched it every year for the past 20! I can’t wait to watch it with Albert each year to come and laughing my head off. One of my favourite Christmas memories is watching this with my mum when I was little and remembering her in tears of laughter EVERY YEAR at all the same funny scenes! (e.g. the bit with the squirrel if you have seen it)

Obviously food is a big part of my life, and food is never better than at Christmas! We have Buck’s Fizz with breakfast, and will be having bacon sandwiches which is one of my wife’s traditions. Then chowing down on Cadbury’s chocs, cheesey nibbles, a chocolate orange, mince pies, basically until you are sick. Then what is more traditional than a Christmas Dinner? We always have Turkey, and I’ll have dark meat if there is any going! Then mounds of Sprouts (which I LOVE), pigs in blanket, roast potatoes, gravy. The works! Then we always had Vienetta when I was younger and I still think of that as PURE Christmas. More After Eights, mince pies, chocs, alcohol, and then cold buffet for dinner. 2 years ago we were with my wife’s family and there was a Turkey Broth which they always have every year. I’ll be gulping down that! At the end of the day I’ve probably had more calories in one day than I would do normally in 10. That’s Christmas food!

And then Albert will be on milk. Just milk. Poor little chap doesn’t know what he is missing!

Some of my favourite memories as a little one were presents. Christmas is way more than just presents but to be honest, when you’re 8 years old, it doesn’t seem like it. I have such fond memories of being so excited the night before, putting out mince pies and milk for Santa. Staying up for hours but finally nodding off. Then waking up all excited, MUM HAS SANTA BEEN??!! We would all creep down the stairs quietly and pause by the door, then slowly open it and peek through, and see all the presents wrapped up and I would go mad with excitement and scream my head off. Magical! I won’t ever forget the years when I got Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toys, and when there was a Sega Mega-Drive. I went beserk! I posted recently about my Ultimate Wishlist of Toys (I am still a Man-Child after all), I am really excited about seeing Albert’s face when he wakes up on Christmas morning and we sneak downstairs and he opens his presents and sees what Santa has brought him!

This year we know he won’t have any memory of his gifts, so we have got some practical things for him, a travel mattress, how exciting! And a few clothes and things like that. I couldn’t resist getting this however from Wilkinsons. It’s a fold out soft dragon cushion! I can see it being a tradition that Albert will get something dragon related every year. And even though he won't be using it for another 2-3 years I couldnt help but get the castle from my Ultimate Wishlist as well, it's brill!

We have decorated our ‘tree’, we did it on December 1st! This year we have a little tree as the cat destroyed the big one we have had previous years. Even our decorations all have special meanings and I have a favourite one. When my mum got married to my Step-Dad a few years ago, it was on Christmas Eve, and we were all bought our own decorations and my one was a blue crystal thing. I’m not bothered about colour schemes. This will always be on our tree! This year we have also gone a bit further in our decorations, and made paper chains and snowflakes and stars out of paper. This will definitely be another tradition we carry on as well. All the family together decorating the house and crafting snowflakes to put up!

I think that is about it for my leading up to Christmas post. It’s been a bit emotional looking back at past Christmases and thinking about all the ones to come. I am really excited to carry on with my own traditions, my wife’s traditions and to make our own traditions going forward. Christmas has taken on a whole new meaning as a dad for me this year, and I can only see myself getting more and more excited as Albert grows up in years to come! I can’t wait to spend this year’s Christmas with him.

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas! I’ll probably be talking Christmas for the next few months and there will definitely be some Christmas aftermath posts!


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