Every family has one thing they do at Christmas that makes Christmas their own…
Whether your tradition is a family trip to the pantomime, eating pork pie for breakfast, or even going for a Christmas day outdoor swim, make sure you keep the tradition in tact this year and keep on passing it on.
To tell us about your traditions email your letters, stories or tips through to firstname.lastname@example.org or send them to Living the Good Life, Joules, 16 The Point, Rockingham Road, Market Harborough, Leicestershire, LE16 7QU.
It’s entirely possible that this is my favourite time of the year. Being a hopeless romantic, and a December baby, this month is full of promise and perfume. Christmas tide. Advent. The run-up. The hint of clove and cinnamon already in the air. The presents lying in their clandestine cubby-holes, waiting in the wings for their moment to shine (my little girl has already cottoned on to the stash at the bottom of my wardrobe, and has taken to visiting it regularly, sizing up the parcels, squeezing and poking to see what’s in store).
It’s all so provocative, this pre-Christmas hum, more particularly in Britain than anywhere else on earth. I’ve always found myself non-plussed by the American take on Christmas – all the schmaltzy Santa stuff and the buying wobbling towers of presents at Bloomingdales. And I’m not much taken with German gingerbread either, nor Italian panneforte, Scandanavian elves and aquavit, and Australia’s quaint taste for turkey on the barbie on the beach. Apologies to all, but give me a proper British festive season any day. The crackling fires, the mulled wine, the sixpences folded into pudding mixture, the extra eiderdowns on the bed. Give me slipper socks and mince pies and one of those drinks parties on Christmas Eve when unexpected neighbours turn up and drink all the booze.
Dressing for this time of the year is equally appealing, and makes the most of tweeds, knits, plaids and fleeces zipped right up to your chin. It’s a time when trends give way to trad, and you find yourself yearning for a great coat, a bobble hat and a hot-water bottle, and a vintage-print wrap dress to wear with dancing shoes just in case people happen to come over for supper or champagne (or both). December lends itself to layers and scarves and thick, striped socks. You need a hat pulled low and fingerless gloves, and a rough woollen jacket to haul on just as you venture out to pick up the turkey or prowl the streets for the last of the presents. You may even need a hot toddy when you get home to stamp the frost from your boots. Like I say, happy days.