Christmas was the most exciting time of year for me as a kid, for one it was more or less the only time my brothers were actually home, and for another we had lots of little traditions that a lot of my friends didn’t have since my dad was Danish, so I wanted to use todays post to talk about some of the traditions we had when I was a kid!
I think the most unique, at least from my friends at the time, was that we got to open one present on Christmas eve and the entire day led up to it. Christmas eve was like our practice day for the real Christmas since in Denmark Christmas is celebrated on the 24th. We’d start the day by having breakfast together and then madness commenced. The whole day was spent making marzipan ‘sweets’, literally just coloured marzipan that we braided and made into various little shapes, and baking a lot of Danish biscuits before sitting down by the tree as a family to open the presents that my Aunt had sent over from Denmark. Then we all had to make sure our rooms were tidy before having showers and getting into bed early.
My mum really ramped up the excitement for Christmas morning by making me and my brothers wait at the top of her stairs while she got her camera to film us coming downstairs where she would hurry us past the living room door so that we just got a quick glimpse of all the presents before she sat us down and forced us into eating a cooked breakfast at my dads insistence.
Once my mum was satisfied we had all eaten enough and eaten properly with manners, we were allowed to go into the living room and start opening our presents one at a time taking it in turns until all presents had been opened. Then she vanished into the kitchen while everyone else inspected their presents. By around 12 we would start wondering in occasionally to help out but she mostly just let us set the table while she did all the important stuff.
Christmas dinner meant everyone reading out jokes from crackers and wearing the rubbish paper hats. We usually took dinner as a chance to thank our parents for our presents too since even though my mum kept up the pretence of Santa until far after I stopped believing in him she always told me she had to buy the presents off Santa. I also always got one present from ‘Santa’ and whatever pet we had at the time, my guineapig Baby Bobby was the pet that I had the longest and he usually got the brussel sprouts I snuck off my dinner plate as a thanks.
Dinner lasted a long time, we finished eating with in an hour but tended to sit around the table still to talk, and occasionally get the odd sip of our parents alcohol. Once dinner was all finished up we would move back into the living room and continue playing with whatever presents we had gotten while a film played on TV until Doctor Who came on, which me and my eldest brother insisted everyone was quiet for.
Not long after that, I got put to bed. One of the best ideas my mum had though was, I think, saving one present each for boxing day so that the excitement of Christmas lasted 3 days for us! I’d like to take a moment just at the end here to thank my lovely mum for making Christmas such an exciting and magical time for me and my brothers as kids, she always got us the best presents but managed to keep it as an important time for family too, and she still does.