Christmas is a big deal in my family. Like massive. We really go for it, and the main reason for our enthusiasm is that we are Christians. For us celebrating Christmas isn’t just about family reunions, enjoying winter festivities and gift giving, although these things are wonderful. We celebrate Christmas because we believe we have been given the greatest present ever; Jesus. For us celebrating Christmas is thanking God for sending Jesus to earth as our saviour. We celebrate how Jesus came to bring true forgiveness, love, joy and peace and enabled us to look forward to a wonderful eternity with our amazing God.
So our Christmas prep is huge. My dad and I often go together to choose our Christmas tree, and with Christmassy music on we set about decorating it. I love bringing out the old decorations. It’s like saying “hello!” to old friends. We laden our tree with sparkling baubles and put up nativity sets, wreaths, fairy lights and candles. Our house just smells of Christmas.
We also go to pretty much every carol service at our church. If you went to the ECU’s carol service, it’s a bit like that. Except sadly without Semi-Toned and Sweet Nothings.
Anyway, come Christmas Eve, the sisters, brother-in-law, grandparents are all in our house getting ready for Christmas. From peeling potatoes to cutting carrots, everyone pulls their weight. We also have our little Christmas Eve tradition: shepherd’s pie and chocolate log. I like to think this tradition originated from remembering the Bethlehem shepherds. Sadly, it is just coincidence. But it makes a nice story! And it is yummy. My mum’s chocolate log is divine too and looks so Christmassy! Every year it comes out and we still argue about who gets the end piece.
Often we go to our church’s midnight service. It is so wonderful remembering why we are celebrating Christmas, and that there is the greatest reason ever to celebrate! It is also great to look at your watch and realise, “one minute past midnight! Christmas Day!”
We head home, put our pyjamas on, lay out stockings on the stairs and then….CHRISTMAS DAY!
We all bundle in the lounge and open our stockings. I am always way too excited and open mine the fastest. One day I hope to learn patient and careful unwrapping skills. Though I doubt this will ever happen.
We finish off the final preparations and then, once dressed, head to church. This is my favourite bit of Christmas because it feels like one massive party! A whole morning celebrating! We have a family service with both classic and newer Christmas songs, and a talk so excited about Jesus. Being in a packed church with over 500 people all excited about Christmas is so much joy!
When we get home, we sit down for lunch. Our family aim to make their plates so covered with food that you can’t see the plate itself. I am very good at achieving this. We have salad for starter, and then the full Christmas dinner galore. There is every Christmassy type of food you could ever imagine. My grandpa and I also have a deal where he’ll eat my Brussel sprouts if I eat his parsnips. I am always happy to partner him in this contract.
For pudding, my mum makes my Granny’s yummy Christmas pudding, with twenty pence coins wrapped in foil inside it for any lucky eater.
Washing up comes next, and then its present opening time. Everyone gathers around the Christmas tree and we all watch each present being opened. This may sound slow, but it’s lovely seeing and enjoying each present.
Next we watch the Queen’s speech and then have the family skype. I have nine cousins plus spouses, many whom live in Scotland, so we rarely all see each other at Christmas physically. But we always do virtually. We put skype on and pass the laptop around so that everyone can say Happy Christmas to each other. Including the dogs. Then, well, it’s eight or so which means…. food!
For last few years we’ve got in our pyjamas and watched Downton Abbey with nibbles and Christmas cake. Maybe this year, we’ll watch Call the Midwife instead.
And then to bed, ready for the rest of our Christmas holiday celebrations. Excitingly for us Christmas doesn’t stop in January. Although the tree dies and decorations are packed away, Christmas celebrations continue. For us Christmas isn’t just for December 25th. For us it for the rest of our lives because we want to celebrate the Christmas gift of Jesus forever.
How do you celebrate Christmas? We’re looking for a range of students to tell us what they do for Christmas – whether you spend it abroad, in a homeless shelter, or don’t celebrate it at all, we want to hear from you!
Featured image is from: https://www.etsy.com/listing/471562452/christmas-banner-merry-christmas