Christmas is all about the little ones for me now, whether that’s Mrs M dressing up our chihuahua Eric in a festive outfit or embracing this magic season with our grandchildren. It’s lovely to soak up their excitement and wonder prompted by the buzz of decorating the tree, opening the next advent calendar window or cosying up on the settee to watch a Xmas film. Forming rituals for years to come make this festive season so special.
I always look back at the tried and tested Xmas routines we used to perform each year in our house on Batemoor. The Xmas cards hung over string ‘washing lines’ on the walls and doors. Looping crepe paper ribbons suspended across the ceiling interspersed with balloons. The Woolworths plastic Christmas tree that had seen better days but still heroically held onto decades-old baubles for yet another Xmas. My dad allowing me to open a present on Xmas eve, this was either an Asterix or an 'Adventures of Tintin' book, which I’d take to bed and read to get me to sleep on the most exciting night of the year.
I’d delight in my dad and brother's laughter whilst they watched Morecambe and Wise or the Two Ronnie Xmas specials, or from my brothers heading to the offie to get the Xmas booze order. This catered several impromptu post-pub Christmas parties furnished with tinned ham sarnies and our homemade pickled onions, a family recipe that is still used to this day by our Stuart who produces a shipping order every Christmas (non-brewed condiment is the secret ingredient).
The list goes on and on. I think, more than anything else, those simple rituals make Christmas so special. We take comfort in repeating the things that made us happy as kids, which is why I look forward to creating new magical rituals with my grandchildren. I hope you have a wonderful time doing your own version of what I do: watch Die Hard on Christmas Eve, crack open the pickled onions and cheeses, put your feet up and stuff your face.