What family Christmas traditions do you have?

Once again, I’ve taken an urgent call from my daughter in the UK… “Mum… what is so-and-so’s address?”

As always…I reach for my large and somewhat battered address book…and dole out the information.

This has been going on for nearly 30 years. Each year, I chuckle at her and gently reprimand her for not keeping her own notes. I even gave her a lovely Address Book… but no, she always has a good excuse.

This year’s reply was a winner.

“Well, it’s all part of the Christmas tradition… oh, and please make sure you leave me your Address Book in your Will…”

So now… let’s hear what family traditions you have…

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I have got no family.

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My favourite Christmas traditions all happened before my Dad died and he instigated them all. He loved Christmas and it was a joyful family time. We lost him just before Christmas in 2005 and I still find it really hard to celebrate it without him. My Mum won’t even have decorations in her house anymore, my Dad made putting up the decorations a big occasion and a family event. Our house used to be so magical at Christmastime.

Christmas day always started with smoked salmon and scrambled eggs for breakfast and then we would open presents. After that my Dad, who was a Samaritan for many years, would go and do a short shift on the phones listening to people who were lonely and desperate on Christmas day. Then he would be home in time for lunch with turkey and all the trimmings. He used to make a huge cracker and put little numbered gifts inside it. We drew numbers from a hat and won the gift with that number on it. Somehow he always managed to match the right gift with the right person!! At 3pm it was always time to listen to the Queen followed by snacks, films and snoozing until it was time for turkey sandwiches in the evening. Nothing unusual but very much missed.

Now I spend Christmas at home in France with my husband and it’s pretty much like a typical Sunday for us. My Mum has Grandchildren now so spends a crazy day with them and my brother and his wife. New traditions are being made by them.

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You brought to mind… the huge turkeys I used to cook long-ago.

We always invited anyone who was on their own, (young and old) so I was never sure what numbers to cater for…those were carefree days of fun and laughter… and the smell of the carcass simmering on the stove…home-made turkey soup… yummy.

So many of those folk are no longer with us…but we remember them all with great affection.

Your Dad sounds like a lovely person… he was the king-pin of your Christmases and those memories of him must be very precious to you.

Now you enjoy a quiet Christmas with the one you love… what could be nicer :heart_eyes:

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Barbara… what happy memories do you have of Christmas ??

My Dad was brilliant and I loved him more than I loved anyone else. His loss was devastating. It’s only these last couple of years that I can look back and smile at great memories instead of remembering the horrors of the last few months of his life.

This year, as you know, we are having turkey and it’s for the first time since Dad died although not on Christmas Day. I’ve only ever cooked it once before and that was many years ago so will be following Saint Delia’s method. Any tips for keeping the breast moist?

gracious… I seem to recall gently pushing butter between the skin and the breast (going in via the neck)…slices of bacon across the top… also cooking it partway on its breast with bottom in the air, so the thicker thighs got to the heat for longer…

but Delia will see you right…

We still chuckle about one year, when I over cooked the roast potatoes, (too many drinks at the pub)…they looked amazing, but exploded when we tried to cut them to eat…

No problem really, everyone stuffed the crusty, empty potato cases with the creamy mashed potato… :grin:

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My own experiences have changed, from child to adult, to adult with children, and divorce with some family now distant. Hence, so the traditions with it.

As a child, we often had grandparents on my mum’s side down to stay…and would also visit my aunt on boxing day for tea.
I suppose the main stay, is visiting the close rellies on boxing day. Christmas ( thankfully) being a quieter affair, and also choose a menu the two of us enjoy ( more).

Something i always remember where we lived as a child; on Christmas eve, the town band would go to all parts of the town and play carols…and although no longer live in the town, that still happens to this day.

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Our family Christmas dinner was always to be eaten carefully, and never have the gravy!

My mum always bought the most massive turkey possible from the local butchers. It had been hanging in the window (probably intact) for a week and my grandfather would gut and dress it. Unfortunately, my mum insisted on using the giblets for the gravy, but these were usually "past their best " and the gravy had a distinct fishy smell.

The veggies were cooked to death and then kept hot in a hostess trolley for hours, so dry turkey with burnt roasties was the strange tradition.

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In no particular order…the homemade blackberry wine, the family sharing time together
and the pillowcase which was tied to the bedpost. The small gifts which sat inside the bag
with the pink ballet shoes. Staying up past the bewitching hour of “bed time” to watch Robin
Hood. Perhaps the smell of the pine needles of the tree…, helping my father
decorating the room with Christmas frivolities.Perhaps waiting for the snow to come in order
to enjoy the promise of a true Christmas.

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Our Christmas traditions have always been dictated by where we were and what the kids were doing, this year for the first time ever one of the kids is missing as she’s just moved to Guadeloupe so it will be really strange her not being here.

Christmas is not usually just one day so over the course of the 24th to 26th we’ll -

Go to the Xmas Market and have a drink in our favourite bar.

Watch these films - A Christmas Carol (with Patrick Stewart), Christmas Vacation (with Chevy Chase) and It’s A Wonderful Life (with James Stewart).

Have a walk at the coast on Boxing Day followed by a meal in a local restaurant.

Our Christmas meal will be on the 25th this year, turkey or goose with all the trimmings. Presents follow and then we’ll flop out in front of the telly.

Over the three days we’ll Facetime/call family where possible and probably get to see the kids girlfriends/boyfriends.

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This reminds me of my Grandmothers Christmas dinners many many years ago.

The turkey dry and over cooked and the roast potatoes hard as bullets. The only good thing was the Christmas pudding which was to die for.

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Soggy, mushy, grey sprouts :fearful:

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I guess the only good thing that came out of my mother’s Xmas dinners was it made me learn to cook.

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Not a tradition… but a truly magical moment…was when our daughter saw the Christmas tree all decorated and lit up…for the very first time… she was 9 months old.

In my mind’s eye I can see the expressions flitting across her face… eyes wide with the wonder of it…her amazement and pure joy. :star_struck:

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My mother was a great cook so Xmas dinners were fab but if we had to go to relatives, plenty of disasters awaited our delectation…all those described above and more.

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Traditionally, I would absolutely have to taste test everything my mother prepared, so Christmas pudding mix, the pastry for minced pies etc. All manner of things I might find disgusting now were available…yummy…

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@Chris_Kite

Funny how our tastes change over the years… my younger brother used to enjoy eating mud (yuk)…although he tries to deny it nowadays…:wink:

When I was very young a girl down the road used to eat worms…not at Christmas though…

I do think that Christmas times is perfect to remember the past and to celebrate the lives of those whom you have lost. At the same time join with new found friends and make the present and the future just as wonderful.

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