It is Christmas Eve.
To me, Christmas Eve marks a few things. Tradition, and family.
The 2010 Christmas Song Challenge
Clearly others look at Christmas as a time for tradition as well. The results from the 2010 Christmas Song Challenge are:
1. Nat King Cole – A Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)
2. The Pogues – Fairytale of New York
3. Ella Fitzgerald / Louis Jordan – Baby It’s Cold Outside
4. Wizzard – I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday
The run for first place was incredible – a tie in fact between Nat King Cole and The Pogues. As I did in an earlier round, I brought it to a vote at my office. With 3 Brits and 2 French participating in the decider, Nat King Cole took the crown. In the words of one of my colleagues “He does have the most beautiful voice.” Indeed, the Velvet Fog took the win – this year…
It has been a lot of fun hosting this Challenge – a special thanks to Dan, Mark and John for suggesting it.
Tradition and Family
For me, Christmas is about tradition and family – which seem to go hand in hand. So many of the things that I do relate to what my parents did for us at Christmas.
1. Dad’s Oatmeal Raisin Spiced Crispy Cookies.
These are the smell of Christmas for me. Dad would make dozens, bringing them to work, handing them out to neighbours and friends. He refused to share the secret recipe with us – that is, until a few years ago. And when he did, Dad’s Oatmeal Raisin Crispy Cookies have now become a part of what I do at Christmas too.
I am not a huge sweet fan, but these are incredibly more-ish.
2. The exchange of a single Christmas Eve present.
The background: apparently when my mother was a very little girl, she and her sister pestered her mother to open Christmas presents on Christmas Eve. Wanting a bit of peace and quiet, my grandmother (Nani) gave into the demands of her two little girls. On Christmas Day, the girls were sad not to have any presents to open. My mother decided that to avoid this situation, we would have one Christmas Eve present to open – and that present was always pajamas. So that we would have something new to wear to bed, to wake up in on Christmas Day.
The Christmas Eve present continues in my family now – my sister does this with her children, and I have introduced this with DH and my inlaws.
3. The Christmas stocking.
Sadly, this year our stockings are not hung by the chimney, due to construction at our place. But the stocking tradition continues.
When we grew up, stockings were always full of useful things. Pens and pencils, new toothbrushes and toothpaste, shampoo and hairbrushes, razors and shaving gel. I love this tradition. It is a great way to have a full stocking, while focusing on the things we sometimes take for granted. It was also a way, as we grew older and moved away from home, to get a little “indulgence” into the stocking, with nice bath products and perfumes and gift certificates for spas.
I love continuing this tradition, and think that the stocking has so much to offer for interesting and practical gifts. For example, you could do a kitchen oriented stocking, with some cooking treats (like a new cooking implement, maybe some high quality ingredients, a cookbook). Or a stocking for the active person, with new shoe laces, a RoadID, energy bars or gels. I think the ideas are endless, on how to make a practical stocking fine tuned to each person in your family.
4. The Christmas Run
With the focus on fitness is a part of our house, especially since 2009, we kick off Christmas with a run. I know there are lots of options around – like the ParkRun series which happens to fall on Christmas Day this year. But usually we set off on our own local paths, just to get out, get some fresh air, and start the day by celebrating our health.
I have been knocked down with a cold for about a week now, but am really hoping that I can start Christmas with our own 5k run at our local park. And if the weather is the same tomorrow as it is today, it will be a gorgeous start to the day.
What traditions do you and your family share at Christmas?