We go to church around 7.30pm on Christmas Eve (that’s the 24th December). Well, we try to. The problem is that there are three girls in our family and only one and a half bathrooms. This means that the hour before church is extremely hectic – every plug socket is busy with straighteners, hair-dryers, digital-camera-chargers (you have to look extra nice on Christmas Eve). We usually manage to leave the house at about 7.25pm, so we get to church for 7.35pm. Any other time of the year, this wouldn’t be a problem. But Christmas is the busiest time of the year for churches in the UK, so those 5 minutes do make a difference. There are never any free seats when we arrive, so we often have to stand up for the mass. In high heels. It’s not as bad as it sounds -- as soon as you start singing the Christmas hymns, you don’t notice the pain!
After church, we all go to the pub. When we were children, we went to bed as early as possible (it made Christmas come faster), but nowadays Christmas Eve is a great chance to catch up with old friends at the local. When we get home, though, we still are strictly forbidden from going into the living room. We have to go straight to our rooms in case we disturb Santa.
We usually wake up around 10am on Christmas Day. The rule is that we have to enter the living room at the same time, so we all have to wait outside the living room door until everyone’s there (mum, dad, sisters, brother-in-law, and the cat). Sometimes we have small-ish arguments at this stage because someone wants a cup of tea and everyone else just wants to open their presents.
Then it’s the jackpot moment: the door opens and we get to see all the presents. Me and my sisters sit on the floor and go through them. Our parents (or Santa) always put the presents out in a chaotic mess on the floor, so we have to really search for our own presents. When we were little, this led to problems. Often, you would see a huge present, get ready to open it, and then realise you had to pass it to another member of the family. But now that we’re older, we can handle the disappointment. (Also, when you’re older, the best presents tend to be smaller).
After we have opened our presents, we sit and admire them for a while, and mum usually makes bacon sandwiches. So breakfast on Christmas is bacon sandwiches followed by whatever chocolate you can find near the tree. Once the eating has started, it never really stops. We go from breakfast to sweets, and before you know it, Christmas dinner is ready.
Christmas dinner is funny. We all wear our new Christmas presents (posh socks, clothes which still have the labels in, glittery things), we have paper crowns on our heads (you get them inside Christmas crackers), and no one is really hungry. Despite this, we manage to eat most of what’s on the table: turkey, beef (dad doesn’t like turkey), garlic bread (not Christmassy but everyone likes it), many, many vegetables, sauces, drinks...
After dinner, we relax (or recover) in front of the TV for a while. Christmas TV is great. There’s usually a new film on, followed by Christmas favourites like ‘Home Alone’ and ‘Miracle on 34th Street’. Then we go and visit other members of our family for the evening. As you have probably guessed, this means more eating and drinking ...
The days after Christmas are spent trying to finish all of the leftover turkey. Which is good because turkey and ketchup sandwiches are delicious.
What's Christmas like in your house? Do you have any special traditions?