Every family has Christmas traditions, whether they’re conscious ones or not. What time of day do you open presents? Do you get dressed up on Christmas day (I mean in a nice outfit not as an elf or Santa, though maybe you do that in your family?) or do you spend the day in your jammies? What time do you eat your Christmas dinner? I bet you do these things pretty much the same every year. In my house we open our presents first thing in the morning, we get fairly dressed up and we eat dinner at 3pm…..every year! I also bet that your family does things that are unique to it too, be it a certain film you watch on Christmas Eve, specific things you eat, the order you do things in on Christmas Day, how you spend Boxing Day; every family has their own Christmas traditions and any change to them can feel a bit unsettling. (The year my mum stopped buying the Sara Lee Double Chocolate Gateaux for Christmas dessert is still a sore point for me).
On their own these little traditions may not seem like much but it’s all these small, apparently silly things, that add up to make Christmas really feel like Christmas. As the years go on though inevitably things change. We lose people we love and with that we find an extra empty seat appearing at our Christmas table, something that can be incredibly difficult to deal with. Especially because the traditions of Christmas mean that someone’s absence is felt so hard when they are no longer there to partake in them with you. Things can change for positive reasons too. People, just like us, find an adventure that takes them away from home. And more often children grow up and get married, have their own families and make traditions of their own but the majority of the traditions we take forward into our adult lives are those that are imbedded from our own childhood.
For me the biggest of these traditions is spending Christmas Day, and in particular having Christmas dinner, with my Mum and Dad. So I am over the moon that they will be arriving here next week as this year for the first time we will be spending Christmas in Canada. This will be the first time ever that we’ve not been in Scotland for Christmas so having them here with us is very important to me. This will also be the first time that I’ve ever cooked a Christmas dinner, though how that will go still remains to be seen! We have two of our closest friends in Montreal also joining us for Christmas and I’m really looking forward to this, normally on Christmas Day we wouldn’t spend time with our friends so to have two of them with us for Christmas will be lovely.
So this year Christmas will be different. We aren’t in Scotland so some of our Christmas traditions just wont be able to happen this year. We can’t visit Mark’s family on Christmas morning and watch our niece open her presents. I can’t go and place a wreath at my gran’s grave. I won’t get to join my friends for our annual Christmas girls day out. We won’t get to spend Boxing Day doing Christmas all over again with my wee cousin or the evening having dinner with Mark’s family. These things are all part of our yearly Christmas traditions and the fact that we won’t be able to do them this year or spend time with our other family or friends does make me sad. So yes, this year some of our traditions will change. But some will stay the same; the ones that can be transferred across the miles. And the exciting thing is we’ll also make new traditions. Ones that we can carry forward with us into future Christmases, wherever it may be that we spend them.
I know that things wont be the same this year, this will be a different type of Christmas from any we’ve had before but I hope that it will still be amazing. It’s our first Christmas in Canada and we get to celebrate it along with some of our favourite people so that seems like a pretty good start to me.
(Just a little bit in love with my Christmas tree this year!)