tree traditions

For me, Christmas is all about traditions. Looking back at my own childhood, it was those things we did year after year that stand out in my memory; those things which made our Christmases ours. And I think it's only natural that so many of those get carried over when you become a parent and get to start your own traditions.

Much of the way that our Christmas works is exactly the same as how it was for me growing up. Reading "Twas The Night Before Christmas" at bedtime on Christmas Eve. Stockings from Father Christmas opened on Mum and Dad's bed. Then the wow factor of all coming downstairs together to find the previously lonely tree, suddenly surrounded by presents.

Of course we've added traditions of our own along the way too. Our quiet Christmas Eve traditions are some of my favourites. And our activity advent calendar, that helps us focus on little festive activities each day of the month. And Christmas fairies....

You see, Christmas fairies come to our house on the night of November 30th and put up our tree each year; I love the wow factor of waking up on the 1st to find the house Christmassy, and I love that the tree gets to be pretty and perfect and I (I mean the fairies!) can take my sweet time about getting it just right.

But at the same time I have amazing memories of doing myself the tree growing up; my brother and I wearing Christmas hats and singing Christmas songs as we hung all the decorations on the tree. Some years my brother would hang all of his allocated decorations on just a couple of branches. Some years (much later on) the two of us would be rather drunkenly merry on Baileys. My dad would always have to deal with lights, and would complain that my mum had too many decorations. Mum would often shed a little tear. Matt and I would always argue at some point, but would mostly have a total blast. A real time of togetherness.

And I didn’t like the idea my kids would miss those memories; even though they get the magical fairy memories. Because as much as magic is nice, those shared memories of doing something together are so special too.

So when I knew we could have two trees, I knew that I could do both traditions. The fairies could do the living room tree, without interruptions from little people. And those little people could also make tree decorating memories of their own. So this year (with a little help) my children decorated their own playroom's Christmas tree. Well Everly did, Dylan was poorly and watched from the sofa, and Quinn was more of a hindrance than a help. But it’s theirs, and while I did “oversee” and “help” a bit, there are plenty of baubles put in places I wouldn’t choose, but that’s kind of the point.

And I love the fact that they get to have the new fairy tradition, and the old tried-and-tested decorating with your siblings tradition too. And we get to have two trees. So it's double the magic.

Many thanks to John Lewis who sent us the tree and decorations to make our playroom look totally magical, and give the children a chance to make some new traditions and memories.

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