Not everyone reading this may be celebrating Christmas this year, for whatever reasons. I’m aware that it has become a very commercialised holiday, so we often forget that it is not a universal one, particularly in the UK, where the majority of the population do celebrate it. For me though, Christmas is one of my favourite times of year. Here’s of a few of my favourite things about the festive season.
Christmas is a big holiday in our house, and family takes front and centre at this time of year. My Dad’s side of the family comes round on Christmas Day itself, although as many of my cousins are starting there on families now, there’s less of us now than there was when I was younger. Boxing Day is reserved for Mum’s side all getting together, so it’s almost like having two Christmas Days. I have a lot of cousins, and both sides of the family are big and loud, which always makes Christmas a lot of fun. I couldn’t imagine a small, quiet affair!
Christmas may only last a day itself, but the lead up to it is just as exciting. As some readers may have noticed, I like arty things and I’ve always taken great care when decorating my student rooms, so I love decorating the house of Christmas. Some things stay the same each year, but Mum buys new stuff from time to time. As she’s working a lot this year, I’ve been entrusted with doing more of it myself. The tree is the biggest project of course; we get a real one from outside, that’s usually verging on 7ft tall. It takes a while, but the end result is worth it! It’s usually the last thing we do too, as live ones won’t last a whole month! We should have it in by the end of this week.
Christmas dinner has to be the best meal of the year. My mum is a great cook (she does it for a living!), but gets help from my aunties of course, as there’s so many of us. We have everything though; turkey, gravy, sausages, 2 kinds of stuffing, roast & mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts, carrots, parsnips, chestnut balls, bread sauce, cranberry sauce… Not to mention a choice of at least 3 desserts! I help with some of the preparation in the days beforehand, but it really is amazing what Mum manages to put together. Chocolate and candy canes are also great too!
I don’t want this part to sound too selfish; it’s not that I want to get loads of material items myself. It’s more the fun of wrapping & unwrapping everything I enjoy. Mum’s always decorated her presents amazingly, with a different theme this year, so I’m attempting a student-budget version myself now. I like choosing ribbons & ornaments to match the wrapping paper, and generally trying to make them look nice. The mystery of what’s in each present under the tree is always fun too! As a kid, Santa was a huge deal of course, and every Christmas morning is spent unwrapping our stockings in our pyjamas. Then we exchange all the gifts from under the tree with the rest of the family, on both days.
I love the whole run-up to Christmas. Yes, sometimes it can be too commercialised and tacky, but it’s all in good fun. I love hearing Christmas songs in shops & on the radio, and playing them on my piano. I love seeing parades & Santas walking around (I witnessed Santa visiting my cousins’ street this year). I love all the decorations in shops & cafés. I love all the films (both Christmassy and not) being shown on TV. I love roasted chestnuts and advent calendars and hot chocolate. I love all the twinkly lights through the towns. I love visiting the Winter Wonderland. There’s a special sort of atmosphere throughout December, when everyone just seems to be feeling happy and festive. I just think it’s an all-round lovely time of year.