Our Christmas is packed with traditions, some old and some recent. They are extremely important to my daughters, for whom they represent comfort and stability. So what are they?
Well, I've already mentioned one of them - our Advent calendar. Then there's our annual visit to Bath Christmas Market and the pantomime (at Bristol Old Vic until last year when we switched to the Theatre Royal in Bath). We try (not always successfully) to read A Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder. We wait until a week before Christmas until we buy our tree, from a lorry parked in Asda car park, and we always decorate it (in red, green and gold) to the Handel's Messiah. There is usually an argument over whether it is quite straight. This too is a tradition!
We throw a mulled wine and mince pie party on Christmas Eve with white iced star biscuits, adorned with silver balls. After midnight mass the girls are allowed to open one present - a pair of pyjamas (pinched from a friend, the tradition not the jimjams). We still leave Santa a glass of sherry and a mince pie and a carrot for Rudolph. There's a stocking for everyone. The girls' stockings must contain chocolate coins, pistachios, a Lush bath bomb, a pair of knickers, an orange (which they traditionally never eat) and a chocolate Santa. Christmas dinner is not necessarily turkey, but breakfast is usually Bucks Fizz and Christmas morning muffins (courtesy of Nigella Lawson).
After Christmas we tackle one of our Christmas jigsaws and visit the BBC Wildlife Photography exhibition at the Museum. We have to watch Love Actually at some point during the holidays and we keep our tree up until the twelfth night.
So how about you? What do you do?