When our kids were little, like so many kids they hated waiting for their presents. So we caved in one Christmas eve and told them they could choose a single gift from the pile under the tree to open before they went to bed. Ten years or so later and they’re still doing it but it’s now the one part of Christmas eve that we really look forward to. We all choose a package and open it early. Naughty, yes, but very nice.

A Cosy Candlelit Christmas

A Cosy Candlelit Christmas

Christmas markets are the best way to spend an afternoon. Even if you don’t buy anything more than a hot chocolate, if the sights, sounds and smells of a Christmas market don’t make you feel wonderfully festive then nothing will.  The best time is definitely as darkness falls and the lights go on – magical.

Talk of Christmas markets leads me to food. Most things lead me to food so a time of year where it’s acceptable to shovel large quantities of carbohydrates and alcohol into your mouth like the new year will bring the apocalypse is a good time of year with me…

Christmas jumpers. Not only are they stylish (yes, they are..), cosy and practical but they’re perfect for hiding the extra weight you’ve put on after all that indulgence. And just try to prise me out of mine after the new year because it’s just not going to happen until at least March.

Letting the kids decorate the tree.  When they were very little we’d let them decorate it and then have to go and rearrange everything (i.e. move it all from the bottom branches) when they’d gone to bed.  Nowadays I’m quite happy to let the kids get on with it no matter what it looks like afterwards, as long as they find space for the first set of baubles I bought with my husband because a Christmas tree in our house just wouldn’t be a Christmas tree without those.

Christmas TV. It sounds boring and to most people it’s not very festive but it’s one of the few times we all watch together as a family.  We’ve all got very different tastes and interests but the Christmas Day blockbuster can perform miracles to bring us all to the same sofa for an hour or so.

School nativity plays. These days our kids are too old for them, but I remember the nativity years fondly – afternoons spent in draughty churches watching your little darling pick their nose while singing Away in a Manger as the tinsel halo slips from their head.  Happy times.

School Christmas carol services. A bit like nativity plays, now that our kids are older we don’t see so many but we loved taking afternoons off work and dashing to catch the last assembly before the school break.  You can forgive a lot of tone deaf singing when it’s being done by some really cute kids.

Leaving the dishes in the sink.  Some of you might find this shocking, but after Christmas dinner is done sometimes I leave the washing up for a whole hour before I start feeling guilty.  And even that doesn’t move me to go and begin cleaning up. It’s Christmas after all!

Wondering if it will snow. Yes, that age old British pastime where we look up at leaden skies and hope against hope that the white stuff will come.  It’s not often, but there’s something so undeniably magical about it that the Christmases where we get snow are the ones that stay with us for the rest of our lives.