by Charlotte Knighton
|'Merry Christmas' (photograph by Florence Bishop)|
I was thinking about Christmas the other day, and I was trying to figure out which of the many traditions my family has concerning Christmas are the most important to me. I managed to narrow it down to these five.
1. Giving and receiving presents- People can be as high minded as they like, claiming that getting presents isn’t why they love Christmas, but they are almost definitely lying. Everyone loves getting presents, it’s an undeniable fact. However I love not only receiving gifts, but also the excitement of picking them out for others, wondering whether my 19 year old brother will appreciate a Mini Dalek and then remembering that he still wants to be given Lego so is unlikely to turn his nose up at Doctor Who paraphernalia, picking out the adorable baby clothes for my little cousin, and trying desperately to think of something for my Granddad who doesn’t like surprises. Yes there’s no doubt that presents are top of my list.
2.Getting and decorating the Christmas tree- A pretty obvious one really, the build up to Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without people disagreeing over which tree is nicest, then finally when we agree on one, realising it doesn’t actually fit in the living room and having to try and cut the base down. There are of course the traditional decorations made by myself and my brother when we were small, including the snowman which takes pride of place on top of the tree, which in recent years has been looking less than healthy.
3.Christmas dinner- Again fairly self explanatory, the usual mounds of turkey sausages, and my personal favourite, roast potatoes, with tons of gravy and stuffing and everything else… including brussel sprouts. No one likes brussel sprouts, and yet every year we have a small little bowl of them, and every year we have the same conversation: “Yes, we have cooked these. No we are not going to eat them. Yes we do this every year. Yes, next year let’s just not cook any.” But of course we always do, it’s just one of those traditions.
4. Watching all the Christmas specials- I love TV at Christmas, it’s always heart-warming, jolly and bright (Note: this does not apply to Dr Who. Dr Who is more likely to make you cry). There are some truly brilliant Christmas specials, such as Gavin and Stacey and the aforementioned Doctor Who, which the whole family can sit down and enjoy, having stuffed themselves at lunch. However there is the other end of the spectrum, shows such as Mrs Brown's Boys, which are truly the worst things you can watch in TV, but, as it’s Christmas, they must be watched whether you enjoy them or not, because that’s what we always do.
5.Board games- For me, Christmas would not be Christmas if we did not play at least one board game. My favourite if these is Articulate, a game in which you have to get your team to guess the word on your card but you can’t say the word, obviously, and have to describe it without saying sounds like or any other of the various ways of cheating. Now this is a great game to play with family, and of course, it has a massive scope for causing arguments. A family Christmas is generally a very harmonious time in my family, until Articulate comes out, and then everyone forgets that Christmas is supposed to be about family and we remember who cheated last year, and who can’t take losing, and then, to quote a brilliant book, “Let the Games Begin”. It really is like something out of the Hunger Games, and God help you if you don’t know how to act out the word on your card. You might be thinking that this doesn’t sound like a great tradition, but it is; I don’t really know why - it just is.
Now you may think that I have been slightly cynical about Christmas in this blog; however, I promise you I love Christmas a ridiculous amount. The festoons of tinsel covering my room can prove that. And all of these traditions, for me, make Christmas the best time of the year.