I don’t know if this happens every year and I’ve just never noticed, but this year I have seen a lot of focus on how you SHOULD be spending your Christmas Day. You should have a themed lunch table, you should have beautifully wrapped gifts complete with adornments, you should only give your child a stocking from Father Christmas and the rest from you, you shouldn’t be getting your young children any gifts at all as they won’t remember (clearly never met my daughter - she remembers everything!), you should have a strict itinerary for the day, you should be spending your day with particular people...the list goes on. This feels like an awful lot of pressure for one day. And one day that is surely all focused around family and fun, and just spending some time together?
In my book, the only thing you SHOULD be doing on Christmas Day is what makes you happy. If the suggestions on various social media channels are what you like to do, excellent. If the suggestions don’t fit with your ideal Christmas Day, then just don’t do it! (Gosh, people seem to get rather angry on internet comment threads of doom when it comes to Christmas!) For me, the joy of Christmas Day is that every family does things slightly differently. I love hearing about other people’s days, and quirky family traditions. I certainly don’t feel like I need to “keep up” though. Everyone seems to be very stressed this year. I only wrapped my gifts last night (actually I still haven’t wrapped Stu’s), and I need to finish my online food delivery but I’m not panicked because, you know what, if there’s a mishap with the order and we don’t get a turkey, Christmas Day will still happen regardless. And we would still have an excellent day with our pizzas from the back of the freezer.
I think it’s probably quite clear that we’re a very chilled out and relaxed family, and with a 3 year old and 1 year old in the house our Christmases are currently very child focussed. I am very aware that they won’t “believe” for too many years and I want to make the most of the magical years whilst I can.
On our Christas morning, the kids bring their stockings into our bed to open. We then all head downstairs to see if “he’s been”. We do get the kids presents, and for now they do come from Father Christmas, but we don’t go overboard. This year we have bought Charlotte a wooden dolls house with the furniture and dolls, and have wrapped up a few smaller items. Benjamin has a wooden play table and, again, we’ve wrapped a few other little bits up. We are very lucky, and the kids have lots of generous people in their lives, so they do get lots of gifts, but we do make a big deal of thanking people and writing letters after the day (I spend a lot of Christmas morning saying “hang on a second! What did that label say?” so I can put the correct thing on the “to thank” list).
Stu and I tend to supervise the presents opening with a Bucks Fizz, and when the kids are ready for a rest we have a quick croissant break. Showers and getting dressed happen whenever we get chance to, but most of the morning is spent in our pyjamas - as is most of my life these days.
Stu is usually in charge of the Christmas lunch - a role I’m happy for him to take on. I guess this year we’ll probably eat mid-afternoon, once Benjamin has napped. The kids are pretty chilled when it comes to meal times and I’m sure they’ll have plenty of nibbles to keep them going. Lunch tends to be the standard turkey and trimmings (unless we do need to raid the freezer!) and I’m sure we’ll eat that and then not be able to manage dessert, as usual. We’ve not had to buy a Christmas pudding this year as last years moved house with us and is still in the back of the cupboard!
The rest of the afternoon really has no routine. I guess we’ll see what mood the kids are in. We’ll either play with their toys, play some games, or watch a Christmas film depending on how tired they are. Then it’ll be bath, books and bed as usual.
Once the gremlins are tucked up in bed it’ll be booze and nibbles for me and Stu, and I’ll probably fall asleep on the sofa.
This is the kind of Christmas Day that makes me happy. You SHOULD do what makes you happy. Whether that’s spending Christmas alone or with 50 family members, with a turkey, a nut roast or something more unconventional, with presents or no presents, with table displays or your “unopened post and sticker book” pile still sat on the end of the dining table, with pjs or with your best party clothes. And that’s a sentiment I’m going to take forward into 2018. You only have one life. Don’t worry about how other people are living theirs. Do what is best for you and your family. Do what makes YOU happy.