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Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Traditions

 
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Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Traditions - 17/12/2008 2:50:53 PM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20118
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Springfield
Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Traditions


Basically what it says. Do you have any particular memories of Christmas growing up that make it special for you, that stand out, that are brought crashing back with the sound of a particular Christmas song/carol or the taste of a particular festive treat. Are there any odd family traditions (or not so odd) that you'd like to share?

I'm slowly getting this festive feeling, and hopefully this thread will help, and hopefully help others too! I'll get back with my own memories, traditions, etc a bit later.




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Post #: 1
RE: Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Tradi... - 17/12/2008 3:06:42 PM   
MOTH

 

Posts: 3479
Joined: 3/10/2005
From: Sittin' on the dock of the bay
We always had a nativity crib in our house with a few plastic figurines etc. One Christmas it occurred to me that the 3 wise men didn't actually turn up until several days after Christmas (allegedly 6th January if these things are to be believed)
So every year from the on, the 3 wise men would make a arduous journey through our house, moving a little further each day, via the dresser, the back of the sofa, across picture frames, over (and also in) the fish tank, across the telly, teetering dangerously along the mantlepiece, before arriving triumphant in the crib on Jan 6th, where they were unceremoniously removed and packed away with the rest of the stuff.


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RE: Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Tradi... - 17/12/2008 3:09:28 PM   
Tech_Noir

 

Posts: 20199
Joined: 12/10/2005
When I was five or something I questioned the whole notion of Santa coming down the chimney since we had one of those narrow gas fire thingies in the old house. My cousin who was year older said Santa can turn into smoke and still come through.

I thought that was way cool.

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Post #: 3
RE: Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Tradi... - 17/12/2008 3:31:26 PM   
Goodfella


Posts: 17339
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: North Devon
Always used to have a chinese take-away on Christmas Eve.

Always open family presents after Christmas dinner, not in the morning.

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Post #: 4
RE: Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Tradi... - 17/12/2008 3:37:59 PM   
matthewforan


Posts: 21051
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: My Hometown
Christmas Eve is always at my aunts she always has a big party tones of great food, beer, wine. This is usually after mass, we used to go to midnight mass but we started to go to the early one a few years back.

Christmas is then either at my house or my aunts, usually a big family thing. At least 11 people every time.

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Post #: 5
RE: Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Tradi... - 17/12/2008 3:41:08 PM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20118
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Springfield
quote:

ORIGINAL: MOTH

We always had a nativity crib in our house with a few plastic figurines etc. One Christmas it occurred to me that the 3 wise men didn't actually turn up until several days after Christmas (allegedly 6th January if these things are to be believed)
So every year from the on, the 3 wise men would make a arduous journey through our house, moving a little further each day, via the dresser, the back of the sofa, across picture frames, over (and also in) the fish tank, across the telly, teetering dangerously along the mantlepiece, before arriving triumphant in the crib on Jan 6th, where they were unceremoniously removed and packed away with the rest of the stuff.



Ha! That's exactly what we did! Only, the kings weren't actually meant to detach - one year they broke away from the rest of the scene (as the baby had done some time earlier) and while the nativity scene was there for a week or two before Christmas, Jesus only appeared on Christmas Day, and indeed the wise men would make their journey around the room for 12 days. Amusingly, despite not having lived at home for 8 years or been a child for 9 (assuming 18 is the start of adulthood...) my parents still do this every year. I'm sure when I visit in the 27th I'll be moving them along their journey!


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Post #: 6
RE: Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Tradi... - 17/12/2008 4:35:05 PM   
JIm R

 

Posts: 9185
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Surrey
Yeah I do, my mum threatening my dad every year with divorce...
 

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Post #: 7
RE: Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Tradi... - 17/12/2008 4:39:47 PM   
Glider Boy


Posts: 238
Joined: 13/5/2008
From: A 5000ft thermal
My mum and dad used to make me and my two sisters stand at the top of the stairs and sing christmas carols to an almost proffesional standard before we we "allowed" to go down and open our presents, we used to think they were building up the christmas atmosphere but in retrospect they were just taking the complete piss out of us!!!!!



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RE: Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Tradi... - 17/12/2008 5:44:12 PM   
Fanboyslayer


Posts: 2454
Joined: 22/11/2005
quote:

ORIGINAL: Tech_Noir

When I was five or something I questioned the whole notion of Santa coming down the chimney since we had one of those narrow gas fire thingies in the old house. My cousin who was year older said Santa can turn into smoke and still come through.

I thought that was way cool.


It was Father Christmas has a magic key when I was little

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Post #: 9
RE: Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Tradi... - 17/12/2008 5:53:31 PM   
Sahara Desert


Posts: 1607
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Death's Door
Alcohol. And I mean this. Ever since I can remember I have had alcohol on Christmas morning. When I was little, and into my early teens, it was Babycham, either diluted with lemonade or on its own. Since I turned 18 it's been whatever I fancy: wine, vodka, Baileys etc. (I have a wide range of taste in the good stuff).
 
Slightly off topic (as in, off topic for the thread but not for my post) I happen to agree with children being supervised by their parents and/or guardians when drinking before age 18. I can't remember my parents refusing to let me drink at Christmas and I think I now have what I consider to be a healthy attitude towards alcohol. Generally I feel that if a child is told they're not allowed something, they want it all the more: it becomes taboo and gains a certain cachet - a forbidden fruit, if you will.
 
Rant over.

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Post #: 10
RE: Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Tradi... - 17/12/2008 6:08:20 PM   
LiliBee


Posts: 1154
Joined: 10/10/2005
From: The nearest bar.
quote:

ORIGINAL: Fanboyslayer

quote:

ORIGINAL: Tech_Noir

When I was five or something I questioned the whole notion of Santa coming down the chimney since we had one of those narrow gas fire thingies in the old house. My cousin who was year older said Santa can turn into smoke and still come through.

I thought that was way cool.


It was Father Christmas has a magic key when I was little


My parents used the 'magic key' line too

As kids, we were never allowed to open all our presents at once - we had our stockings and one from the parents before breakfast, then maybe one or two more before lunch, one after, and so on spaced out throughout the day and usually boxing day too. This was apparently so we learnt to appreciate gifts, had time to absorb/play with each one,  remembered who got us what, and also I suspect to keep us quiet by stretching Christmas out as much as possible. We're all adults now, but this rule is still followed!

Also, we have big gold foil bell decorations that hang from the ceiling, they're cut out mesh-type things and waft kinda like jelly fish. They've been around as long as I can remember, and every year my dad has to have a photo taken so it looks like he's wearing one as a hat....


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RE: Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Tradi... - 17/12/2008 8:23:04 PM   
JennieC


Posts: 203
Joined: 26/1/2006
From: Twisting by the Pool....
Aw, our Wise Men used to journey round the living room too before finally making it to the crib just in time to be packed up and stuck in the loft for another year.

We weren't allowed to wake the parents on Christmas morning until at least 7am, and we didn't do presents until everyone was up, showered, dressed and breakfasted.  Breakfast was always Christmas tree shaped toast and eggs - thanks to those metal cookie cutters!

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RE: Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Tradi... - 17/12/2008 8:26:50 PM   
Mozza

 

Posts: 8089
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: The CIC
Every year, once we set up a nativity scene, we always hide Jesus around the house and leave clues to his location. So far he has been hidden on top of the tree and inside a teapot.

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Post #: 13
RE: Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Tradi... - 17/12/2008 8:50:23 PM   
Funkyrae


Posts: 20373
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Just stick a pin in a map
From son of God to helping make a crackin' cuppa.  Good to see that Jesus' talents haven't gone to waste over the years. 

Generally for my family it's food.  Stupid amounts of food.  We always have a fairly big breakfast and presents don't get opened until after then.  Other than that we don't really have any specific traditions.

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RE: Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Tradi... - 17/12/2008 9:06:25 PM   
Felix

 

Posts: 15692
Joined: 29/9/2005
From: Brighton

quote:

ORIGINAL: Mozza

Every year, once we set up a nativity scene, we always hide Jesus around the house and leave clues to his location. So far he has been hidden on top of the tree and inside a teapot.


Have you found Jesus?

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RE: Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Tradi... - 17/12/2008 9:10:46 PM   
Goodfella


Posts: 17339
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: North Devon
We have the nativity set as well. Unfortunately one wise man is missing, well not fully missing, just his head. The dog bite it off.

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Post #: 16
RE: Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Tradi... - 17/12/2008 9:23:09 PM   
Felix

 

Posts: 15692
Joined: 29/9/2005
From: Brighton
My wife is dyslexic. She bought a naivety set.

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Post #: 17
RE: Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Tradi... - 17/12/2008 9:23:54 PM   
Goodfella


Posts: 17339
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: North Devon
She was being naive when she married you to wasn't she?

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Post #: 18
RE: Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Tradi... - 17/12/2008 9:27:29 PM   
Funkyrae


Posts: 20373
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Just stick a pin in a map
quote:

ORIGINAL: Felix

My wife is dyslexic. She bought a naivety set.


Boom Boom!  He's here all week folks, try the veal and don't forget to tip your waitress.

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Post #: 19
RE: Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Tradi... - 17/12/2008 9:39:25 PM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20118
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Springfield

quote:

ORIGINAL: Felix


quote:

ORIGINAL: Mozza

Every year, once we set up a nativity scene, we always hide Jesus around the house and leave clues to his location. So far he has been hidden on top of the tree and inside a teapot.


Have you found Jesus?


That actually made me 'lol' - 99.9% of the time I say 'lol' I haven't actually 'lol'ed but merely smiled. That was a definite 'lol' tho...



Right, my traditions.

When I was 8, as is well known in some parts of the forum, I went to a boarding school as a cathedral chorister which meant that we stayed at 'school' (the building, not actual classes) right up to Boxing Day, practising for carol services and the Christmas services themselves. Which meant that there were plenty of traditions each year. We would have parties to attend at the Bishop's Castle, the Dean's house, the choirmaster's house, and the headmaster's house. (The bishop would have a list compiled where we name one thing we're interested in, and buy a present accordingly.)

But it's the three Christmas days - Eve, Day, and Boxing Day - that have the most memories. There would always be two Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols - the big carol service - one on the 22nd and one on Christmas Eve afternoon. The service would start with the cathedral in complete darkness, absolutely packed. The choir would enter at the back of the cathedral, holding boards with candles on the end. To this day the smell of a burning candle (non-scented) transports me back to that service. A soloist (nope, never me) would sing the first verse of Once In Royal David's City, unaccompanied, followed by the choir still unaccompanied, as we processed up the nave. It was always touch and go, depending on how well we had rehearsed, whether when the organ and congregation came in on verse 3, whether we'd stayed in tune! One particular anthem - Howells' A Spotless Rose - possibly because it is rarely heard anywhere else, reminds me utterly of the service too.

After the service we'd have free time in the evening where we'd go to any of the choristers' houses who lived locally before heading back that evening. We'd put a rugby sock at the end of our beds and the headmaster would fill it with little toys, fruit, nuts, chocolate, etc, to open as soon as we woke up. The first year I was there was odd - I was 8, and it was my first Christmas away from my parents. I remember writing a list to Santa, making sure he knew I wouldn't be at home, and to make sure some of my presents were delivered to the school instead! At breakfast we'd open a few presents that, in hindsight, our parents left for us. Then it would be almost a normal sunday, two services in the morning, light lunch, break, evensong. After the Christmas evensong however, came the highlight - formal dinner. Chorister uniform (nothing prissy, just a black suit, white shirt, black/white tie - quite classy really.) full turkey dinner. Totally traditional. The headmaster would bring in the flaming Christmas pudding (complete with sixpences hidden inside) whereupon every single person there would bang his spoon on the table creating a hideous din - it was great! After the dinner were party games - murder in the dark etc.

Boxing Day would be a 6am get up - earlier than any other day of the year. In our pyjamas we'd wander the school making sure no rubbish remained (in hindsight, it was a pretty shitty thing for us to do on Boxing Day!). We then packed ready for our parents arriving at 10am ish. Now, this is where it gets great. When I got home that afternoon, I'd have a second Christmas - the rest of my presents, another traditional dinner, this time with the family. It was this that made me not miss it on Christmas Day, knowing it was coming the following day. The fact that for 5 years - ages 8-12 inclusive - I spent Christmas Day away from home meant the slow creeping realisation of the truth behind Father Christmas - I never had that sudden 'wtf?!' fortunately.

Of course for those 5 years my parents didn't feel right having a Christmas dinner on Christmas day without me. So instead my mum would knock up, from scratch, an Indian feast - home made bhajis, samosas, naan, curries, the works. I always felt I sort of missed out on it so when I left that school I asked if we could carry on that tradition, which we did for several years, eating Christmas dinner on Boxing Day instead.

I fully appreciate the richness of this Christmas experience and if there's anything wrong with it it's that every Christmas since has been a shadow of those years. Until, that is, 2003, when I had my first Christmas with my son. Of course he was too young then to know what was going on. This year however, through all the other shit that's going on, one of the things that has allowed a steady trickle of festive spirit to grow has been my children's growing excitement. My son was able to write his own Christmas list to Santa this year (he wants a DS, a skateboard, a lightsaber and some lego - go on my son!) and his own cards to his friends too. Seeing their faces on Christmas morning allows me to relive my own memories as a child.

I swear blind that one year, I must have been 7, I heard Santa's sleigh bells at the end of the village green. To this day I don't know what it was. I also remember, before I went to the school, that my dad would always have to go downstairs first, to make sure Santa had gone.

So, what traditions do we have now? Well, we're starting an annual toy purge whereby my children go through the hoards of toys in their room to look for toys rarely played with that can go to charity or to the hospital. It allows them to appreciate the joy of giving and sharing, and it also gives us more room for the new intake of toys! We sprinkle magic oats on the front drive for the reindeer to see their way. (It's oats and glitter, but with any luck birds eat the oats first thing in the morning and leave just the glitter.) We go one further than suggesting that Santa has a magic key - we have a magic key! We leave it out the front on Christmas Eve for Santa to get in. I also log onto Norad's Santa tracking service on Christmas Eve, so that my children can see where he is on his journey. (And if, I'm honest, I check myself after they've gone to bed...!)

I started this thread in the hopes that, in writing this, I might help get myself in the Christmas spirit a bit more. Well, mince pie consumed, mulled wine to hand, I think it's working.



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Post #: 20
RE: Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Tradi... - 17/12/2008 9:47:41 PM   
Felix

 

Posts: 15692
Joined: 29/9/2005
From: Brighton

quote:

ORIGINAL: Funkyrae

quote:

ORIGINAL: Felix

My wife is dyslexic. She bought a naivety set.


Boom Boom!  He's here all week folks, try the veal and don't forget to tip your waitress.


http://www.instantrimshot.com

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Post #: 21
RE: Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Tradi... - 17/12/2008 9:48:19 PM   
Felix

 

Posts: 15692
Joined: 29/9/2005
From: Brighton

quote:

ORIGINAL: Goodfella

She was being naive when she married you to wasn't she?


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Post #: 22
RE: Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Tradi... - 17/12/2008 9:59:12 PM   
Mozza

 

Posts: 8089
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: The CIC

quote:

ORIGINAL: Felix


quote:

ORIGINAL: Mozza

Every year, once we set up a nativity scene, we always hide Jesus around the house and leave clues to his location. So far he has been hidden on top of the tree and inside a teapot.


Have you found Jesus?


I deny it and hide it again once I do.

Right now, anyone looking in the fruit bowl will get a surprise.

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Post #: 23
RE: Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Tradi... - 17/12/2008 10:14:07 PM   
Sway


Posts: 9085
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Albuquerque
Just the usual really in my household.

Myself and my middle brother (oldest bro was off in the army when I was 4 so wasn't there for many of my Christmases) would get our 'Santa sacks' (Oi! No being filthy at the back there...this is my childhood we're speaking about) and usually stand and pose with them in front of the Christmas tree.  Then we'd place them down on the respective armchair/settee on which we'd get all our presents.

Then we'd go outside and put a bowl down with carrots for the reindeer, and come back inside to put out a mince pie and some sort of alcoholic beverage for Santa.  Usually a wee dram of whisky.

Christmas morning would inevitably start with me waking everyone up and dragging them all to the sitting room.  We'd sit and unwrap all our pressies listening to Christmas music and then us kids would play with our toys until Christmas lunch was served around 2ish.



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Post #: 24
RE: Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Tradi... - 18/12/2008 2:40:38 PM   
Newander


Posts: 2172
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Spain
I can just remember going into my sisters room and saying ' wake up, santas been' and we'd creep downstairs and open most of our gifts that had been left on out selected armchair/sofa. We'd then compare what we'd got, open up a selctionpack and wolf down several bars of choccy, then we'd put on our new pjs' and dressing gown ( we got new pj's and dressing gowns every year) and go back to bed untill my mum would come and wake us or we'd sit and play with our new gifts until my parents would get up.
Our house always had all my aunts and uncles, so there would be bewteen 10-18 people most years and we'd eat and play games etc.

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Post #: 25
RE: Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Tradi... - 18/12/2008 3:12:29 PM   
krudler


Posts: 7018
Joined: 30/9/2005
The year I got the Millennium Falcon and Castle Greyskull was the best Christmas ever, never been topped

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Post #: 26
RE: Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Tradi... - 18/12/2008 3:37:07 PM   
Hobbitonlass

 

Posts: 11919
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Westeros
My brother and I would normally wake around 5 - 6am but we had a pillowcase at the end of the bed that usually had a satsuma, annual (which ranged from Bunty to Jackie for me and Beano to 2000AD for my brother) and toy in so would keep us amused until the parents emerged.  Breakfast was always scrambled egg and pressies were not to be opened until after all the breakfast stuff had been cleared away and washed up.

Once pressies were opened, it was all down the pub for a couple of hours to see all the neighbours etc.  Dinner was started after the Queen's speech and then the rest of the day was spent playing with stuff while parents dozed on the sofa.  Mum would put on a small buffet style spread in the evening and family /friends would come round.

When my brother and I reached late teens we would crawl out of bed just before dinner.  Have dinner and then sit in front of the TV for a few hours before disappearing round to mates houses

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Post #: 27
RE: Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Tradi... - 18/12/2008 3:46:19 PM   
Maria Noir


Posts: 2803
Joined: 1/6/2006
From: Café 5 to 2: Just follow Cheryl down Bachman Road.
quote:

ORIGINAL: krudler

The year I got the Millennium Falcon and Castle Greyskull was the best Christmas ever, never been topped


You lucky bastard!


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Post #: 28
RE: Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Tradi... - 18/12/2008 3:50:15 PM   
Maria Noir


Posts: 2803
Joined: 1/6/2006
From: Café 5 to 2: Just follow Cheryl down Bachman Road.
quote:

ORIGINAL: Sway
Then we'd go outside and put a bowl down with carrots for the reindeer, and come back inside to put out a mince pie and some sort of alcoholic beverage for Santa.  Usually a wee dram of whisky.


Funny, we always left out alcohol for Santa too (usually a large bottle of Guinness). I always wondered what the Americans were on about with their milk and cookies.


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The Empire Script Challenge: Month 19 - Look Through The Looking Glass

"And our bodies are earth. And our thoughts are clay. And we sleep and eat with death."

"- Are we going to let politics get in the way of our friendship?
- Friendship? You told people I lured children into my Gingerbread House!
- Haha. Yeah. That was just a lie."

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Post #: 29
RE: Christmas Memories, Reminiscences, and Family Tradi... - 18/12/2008 5:18:11 PM   
LiliBee


Posts: 1154
Joined: 10/10/2005
From: The nearest bar.
Santa was only ever allowed coke in our house after my older brother, aged about 5/6, got concerned that Santa shouldn't be drinking and driving 

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