I am hosting Friday Five for the first time!! And as I have pondered, and enjoyed playing over the year I have also reflected what I would do. I like alliteration, so I came up with the following headings:
Family – my family has changed greatly in the past few years; my three sons are still here, but now there are two beautiful girls in tow! And in recent years, my new beloved has brought his family in too. He has two sons and two daughters, and a daughter-in-law, and this year a granddaughter arrived too! His oldest, married son, and their beautiful baby live in Boston, so our newest family tradition was Skyping with them – when we’d finished lunch, and they were getting ready for it. This year, we are doing Second Christmas, when my boys arrive today, having spent Christmas with their Dad away in Aberdeen.
Friends – when the boys were growing up Boxing Day was friends day; 26th December we would gather together with my best friend and her family and have our special gathering; Ruth now lives in Kuala Lumpur... so that doesn't happen. But on the 26th... Boxing Day, I did Skype with her!
Fun – for us this always includes games! Board games; card games, and now, competitions on the Wii!! The boys all inherited my competitive spirit, but my youngest is probably the worst (best!?) and his girl is similarly minded, so I imagine later on today we will be planning some sort of tournament for the weekend – which will include much laughter as time goes by.
Festivities – nowadays I always have two trees; when they were young I let the boys trim the tree; and then made it how I wanted later on. I never thought they knew, until middle son told me last year, but Mum, you always trimmed the tree, we knew you’d redo it after we went to bed! (me? Control freak???!!) I have kept every decoration they made; and each year something new was added, so now, all the original glossy baubles are gone, and in their place are reminders of Christmases gone by. So that even though I now trim the tree by myself, each piece I take out reminds me of them, of places I have visited and friends who added to my collection.
Food – my mother is Irish, as of course was my grandmother, and every year I make Grandma’s stuffing for the turkey. If someone new is at our table I have to explain this; it’s part of my ritual, for it is potato based, and can be a surprise if you’re not expecting it! We love the proper traditional feast: our tradition of course may not be everyone else’s too! Roast Turkey and a honey glazed ham; potato stuffing; roast potatoes and roasted parsnips; carrots, Brussels sprouts - sautéed with little shallots & bacon lardons; bread sauce; cranberry & orange relish; and rich gravy.... we do not eat traditional Christmas pudding, and the dessert varies year to year, this year it was sherry trifle – having finally worked out how to make it dairy free! (‘twas delicious!)
I do have a Christmas cake (also dairy and gluten free) but we didn’t break into that yet...
So many things we do at Christmas are the same as for everyone else; and many things are I guess unique. But whatever we do, or did, is wrapped round with Christ. Because for me, and mine, it wouldn’t be Christmas if we didn’t, so joining the church family to greet the bells, and ring out the tiding of joy is very definitely part of the festivities too.