MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!
I hope you're Christmas day is, or was, filled with love, laughter and friendship, however you may be celebrating. Even though it's Christmas Day, it's still a Monday, which means a new blog post. And since I've been really good recently with posting every week, I just couldn't skip an upload day! Today, I thought I'd share with you some Christmas memories, what Christmas has been like for me over the years, and what me and my family do today.
For my entire life, Christmas has definitely been my favourite time of year. Obviously, as a kid, Christmas day was filled with presents, food and family. But now that I'm an adult, it's the lead up to Christmas that I particularly enjoy. Christmas day is still a favourite for me, but the lead up in December is where the magic really happens, in my opinion - you're spending the month listening to Christmas Carols, watching Christmas films and TV specials, buying and wrapping everyone's presents, and getting the Christmas feast ready.
Christmas Day - Then
Christmas day has always started with opening presents with my parents. As a kid, this involved me opening a tonne of presents and my parents probably opening one each. Plus, there was usually a gift or two, or a sack full, from the big red man himself. I would usually finish the morning with a pretty good haul.
Growing up, Christmas day would be spent with my mum's family, with my Nan and Pop and aunt, uncle and cousins all coming together to celebrate Christmas. This would either be at my house, at my Nan and Pop's house, or at my aunt's house. We'd have a nice roast Christmas lunch with all the trimmings - I think, anyway, as I can't really remember the food - and the afternoon would see us opening up all our gifts. Wrapping paper would be everywhere as me and my two cousins ripped into all our presents. Then we'd finish the day by playing with our presents and eating the leftovers for dinner.
Boxing Day - Then
When I was a kid, Boxing Day was spent with my dad's family. We'd travel to see my Grandma, who lived with my aunt and uncle, and have a delicious roast Christmas lunch. Some of my cousins, their kids, and other aunts and uncles may have also been there - since I'm the youngest grandchild, everyone did their own things for Christmas across the eastern states, and we were really only spending the day my Grandma, bonus if there were other relatives visiting too. We'd spend the afternoon opening presents and catching up before heading home.
One Boxing Day I remember the best is when my cousin (technically my first cousin, once removed - my cousin's daughter) came, and it was one of the few occasions we've spent a lot of time together. And of course, being kids, we were instant best friends and had a blast all day playing together. As I got older, Boxing Day just became a day to spend with my Grandma until she sadly passed away in 2010 at the ripe old age of 92. Boxing Day's are definitely some of my favourite memories with her that I'll treasure forever.
Christmas Day #2 - Then
Usually, on Christmas Day, my other aunt and uncle and cousins are spending it with their other relatives as they don't live close like the rest of my family. So we end up having a second Christmas Day, somewhere between Christmas and New Years Day. It was essentially the same as Christmas - yummy roast lunch, presents in the afternoon and leftovers for dinner. With two extra kids, the five of us would make a massive wrapping paper mess and have so many presents to play with throughout the day. We'd all be heading home with a bundle of amazing new presents to add to all the ones we got back on Christmas day.
This second Christmas is where most of my Christmas memories lay. I loved hanging out with all my cousins. We'd have the best day which would only make us even more excited for when my aunt and cousins came back to stay for a week later in January. If Christmas was at our Nan and Pop's, we'd spend the afternoon playing with presents, riding our bikes and swimming in the pool.
Christmas Day - Now
Christmas morning is very much the same now as it was back then - I still get a tonne of presents from my parents (although not as many toys as when I was a kid), but this time, I actually have a number of presents to give to my parents. And sadly, the big red guy has stopped coming to my house with a sack full of presents.
As me and my cousins have gotten older, the nature of our Christmas day has changed. About seven or eight years ago, my aunts and uncles decided that everyone would buy presents for us kids, but the adults would do Secret Santa to cut down on the number of presents everyone needed to buy and save a bit of money - it was becoming harder and harder to buy presents for everyone when they already had everything - so every adult would give one present and receive one present. Now that me and an all cousins are adults, we are also part of this Secret Santa. During the year, we pick a name out of a hat and have to only buy a present for them.
With this new Secret Santa, it's become impossible to give presents on Christmas Day. So instead, me and my parents spend Christmas day with my Pop, having a nice roast lunch, before seeing my Nan, who is in a nursing home, in the afternoon. We then eat leftovers for dinner, watch the Queen's Christmas Message, and veg out on the couch to watch a Christmas film. It's a very quiet and chilled day, but I honestly love it. I much prefer the buildup to Christmas, as I stated earlier, so with our main Christmas taking place a few days later, it's just become a longer buildup.
Boxing Day - Now
With my dad's family spread out across the east coast and all with their own families, we don't do anything for Christmas with them. Since my Grandma passed away, we no longer spend Boxing Day with my dad's side of the family. Instead, Boxing Day is spent watching Christmas films, eating leftovers, chilling under the air-conditioner and doing some online shopping with the Boxing Day sales.
Christmas Day #2 - Now
My second Christmas is really my Christmas. And it's usually the weekend following Christmas! This is when all my mum's side of the family get together, usually at my aunt's, and veg out for the day. Over the years, we've moved away from a full roast lunch and gone onto cold meat and salads as it's so much easier to organise and means we don't need to heat up the already hot house with the oven - thank you good old Aussie summer!
The afternoon is spent vegging out on the couch and catching up, especially since Christmas is sometimes the only chance we have to catch up with some family members. We'll exchange gifts, which is always fun to see who your Secret Santa is and what everyone has received. We might go for a swim or just chill under the air-conditioner and have some afternoon tea - which is usually way more food than we need. Most of the time, we will all stay for leftovers before parting ways.
The Christmas magic has certainly changed since I was kid. Back then, it was all about getting together with my family and getting a whole lot of presents. Now, it's still about getting together with family and getting a present, but it's more about spending time and catching up with my family over some yummy food. For me, the magic of Christmas has moved to cover the entire month of December as everyone prepares for the big day. As much as I love spending time with my family, it's definitely the buildup to Christmas that I love the most now.
I'm so lucky that my Nan and Pop used to film a lot of home movies between 1998 and 2006, many of the clips involving Christmas. It's been so great to go back and actually watch all those memories again. Last week, I uploaded a video watching back some of this footage, so definitely check it out below.
Feel free to share some of your Christmas memories and traditions in the comments. I hope you all have a fantastic holiday period and have a safe and happy new year.
See You in 2018!
See DISCLAIMER for information about Affiliate Links