Growing up my Dad was massive on traditions, especially Christmas traditions! For example every September weekend (where Scottish schools get a long weekend from school) we’d write out our Christmas list, we weren’t allowed to ask for anything for Christmas until that weekend. Then the last weekend of October we’d make our the Christmas cake, I don’t know why but you’re meant to make Christmas cake quite early I can’t recall why. My dad bought himself a chef hat and my brother and I would wear the “apprentice hat” and we’d all help prepare and cook the cake, and everyone including my mum would have to give the mixture a stir for good luck. We did this every year despite the fact that my Dad was the only one who actually liked it… sorry marzipan ruins it. As I’ve gotten older I’m very adamant that we carry on with the traditions, of course, ones like writing our Christmas list we have outgrown and to be truthful it’s been a few years since we made a Christmas Cake, but we have few traditions that I insist we still do and today to kick off the most festive month of the year I’m going to share them with you.
Growing up I never had chocolate advent calendar my Dad would take us to a little shop on Hanover Street, which is currently called Bonkers, we buy beautifully handcrafted calendars that are often rather expensive… especially to those who find the concept of an advent without chocolate shocking! But hey! we love them and we have a stack of them under the stairs going back quite a few years now. I just want to add that I never felt deprived of not having a chocolate calendar so don’t go feeling sorry for me! ha. Anyways, they’re always beautiful and I always look forward to going and picking mine.
One of my favourite things about Christmas is obviously the lights, my Dad travels around a lot with his work so for years he would take us on night drives to different towns and through different streets to see not only the lights put up by the council but how people have decorated their houses. We sing a million Christmas songs and during Feed the world by Band Aid my Dad and my Dad alone (he’ll stop the song and start it from the beginning if anyone else sings) at the top of his lungs will sing Bono’s famous line “Well tonight thank god it’s them instead of you” – that’s another tradition right there.
Another tradition started many moons ago was The Sunday Before Christmas tradition. Every year we travel through to Glasgow’s George Square to walk around and look and their lights. We now have a route where we go through Allenton, where there is the most beautifully decorated church… It’s full of lights and has a lovely little nativity. As I said the final destination is George Square – over the years we’ve had to adapt to our surroundings… For the last 10 years or so they now have their Winter Wonderland/German Market set up in the square and although it’s very lovely I do miss the days when the Square was empty and we could wander around. Last year they also changed the decorations for the first time since I was little… So that was a little bittersweet but hey when a tradition has lasted as long as this one I’m going to have to deal with change eventually.
Another long-standing Tradition of ours is every Christmas Eve we go to the fab Edinburgh King Theatre Pantomime… I’ve literally not missed this since I was two years old – it’s very serious business to ensure we get our tickets for that particular day! What I love about going every Christmas Eve is every year when I sit down in my seat I know Christmas is here! On the years where I have struggled to get that real magical Christmas feeling I’m guaranteed to get it when I sit down in that theatre.
A tradition that I have kept for myself is to go on the carousel in Edinburgh, when I was younger my Mum and Dad would always take us to have a ride on the carousel. In those days ( my god am I sounding old) that was the only attraction in Princes Street and I remember the man who was taking the tickets let my brother go round and round for free because it was so quiet… quite the change from today. Plus it was just a very basic carousel, not carriages or double deck. Thankfully I have nieces and nephews to go on with but to be honest I’d ride it childless too.
Another Christmas Eve tradition that I’ve adopted in the last decade or so is to deliver the Christmas cards to those in my Cul – De – Sac, it may appear last minute but it’s now something I do on purpose… I wait till its dark and myself and someone else from the house will take half and I’ll take half and we’ll dart around the street posting them. I’m going, to be honest, this tradition only started because I was really unorganised but now it’s part of the Christmas Calendar.
The last tradition that springs to mind are one I started on my own and that is to watch The Santa Clause with Tim Allen on Christmas Eve either whilst doing some last minute Christmas wrapping or in bed before going to sleep.
I’d love to hear your traditions!