Now I’m too old for visits from Santa Claus, but that doesn’t mean the end of a Christmas morning stocking. My Dad is so dedicated to this tradition that I’m fairly sure he used to make himself a stocking (it was just the two of us at home at the time and I certainly hadn’t put it together…). Inside the stocking is usually a fairly predictable set of mini-gifts: a chocolate orange (or a real satsuma), a £1 coin, some chocolate brussel sprouts (I hate sprouts, anyone else?), and usually some other chocolate gift like a tube of smarties, or a toblerone. I usually open my stocking first out of the things I open with Dad, and then save the rest of the presents a little later in the day.
This is a particularly new tradition we have. In fact, I’m not actually sure it can be called a tradition seeing as we’ve done it about twice, and I’m not sure if it happened last year. It originated because one year my aunt and uncle had some rather fancy crackers, and out of the crackers came these little wind-up reindeer, similar to the kinds of things you might get as a Happy Meal gift. We set up a race course on the dining room table, and set our reindeer off, rewinding them if needed, racing to see who could get to the end of the table first, rather like a festive donkey derby. We all kept our reindeers, and I’m pretty sure mine is still sat on my bookshelf at my dad’s!
My dad’s partner works for the NHS, so she is often scheduled to work on Christmas Day. A combination of this, plus not being able to see all of the family in a single day led to the creation of Second Christmas a few years back. It’s as simple as it sounds. Because it’s not The Big Day, we can corral up the whole family, and have a meal and a few presents all together. Second Christmas isn’t necessarily the turkey dinner that’s traditional for Brits at Christmas, but we do have a big roast, and Christmas pudding, and all the trimmings! It basically extends Christmas to become a multiple-day-long affair (and who doesn’t want that?) and fills in the strange liminal space between Christmas and New Year beautifully!
Do you have any special Christmas traditions? I’d love to hear about them below! Wishing you all a safe and happy Christmas, and here’s to hoping that in 2021 we can celebrate with all of our loved ones.