Every year, the (older) kids insist on the same food to be served for lunch, and they all insist on the same rituals to be observed, especially any that might involve getting some presents early.
When Fabio and I got married, we mixed things up a little so he could include any of his own traditions (he didn't have any apart from grumping about money), and as the older birds have raced away from the nest, we've had to accomodate new families of grandkids etc.
But some things stay the same.
On Christmas Eve, we have early baths and early dinner (earlier again tonight because of A Very Specky Christmas being on at 8:30) and then we have a family Christmas photo taken at the foot of the tree, and then we get to open our stockings. Each person poses under the tree with said stocking, then I take a few photos of the goodies being torn open, and it's these photos that make it into albums.
We started this one mostly to avoid the drama of having to pose for photos on Christmas morning when all you want to do is tear the paper off everything in sight.
Then we do the Christmas story (when the older kids were at home, and we had a crappy nativity scene, this was the kids' job and they used to make different props each year. I'm hoping this makes it back onto the Things To Do list because it was great fun)
Christmas morning, we open all the presents, then the kids go play while I cook and Fabio snoozes in his chair. I can almost guarantee this will happen again this year.
pineapple,ginger & macadamia crusted ham
potato salad with bacon and spring onion
Dessert is always plum pud and brandy custard, with one other. Sometimes it's trifle, sometimes icecream pudding, or berry cheesecake, but this year I'm doing meringues with raspberries and cream.
And we have a bottle of Moet for the grown-ups and a dry ginger ale/orange juice punch for the kiddies, which I'm jazzing up with frozen watermelon pieces cut into stars.
Our table is set in red and gold and I make the placecards and crackers myself. We also have a little jewelled box at each place that is filled with chocolates. The kids get to use the GOOD glasses instead of old Nutella jars and it's so cute watching them toast each other.
I love Christmas. I love the traditions that knit a family together. I love seeing my older kids developing and adapting to make their own, and I love seeing the joy and anticipation from my littlies, as The Day draws closer and closer.
This year, we have my MIL with us for the first time, which we've all been looking forward to for months, and we hope that ONE DAY, we'll have a huge family Christmas with everyone jammed around the table. Or tables.
The most important part of Christmas is the people gathered around. Our friends and family, who make our lives complete, are worth more than any material gift or groaning table.
I want to wish each one of you a wonderful Christmas, filled with love and laughter. Stay safe, be happy. Enjoy your loved ones.