So now it's just a month to go till Christmas Day, and preparations are definitely getting underway. One of the really nice things about this time of year is how you can create your own family traditions once you become a parent.
So maybe you'll take a few things that you or your partner did as a child, and add a few new ones of your own, to create your own unique family Christmas traditions. Because the stuff that we do every year, and only at this time of year, is what tends to stick in our memories - much more than individual gifts.
These are my family's traditions, what are yours?
- The music
Christmas season officially opens in our house with the playing of Phil Spector's Christmas Album, which goes on as we are putting the tree up. I also have a CD of cult film director John Waters' Christmas music, which I only play when the children aren't around because it contains swearing. Bad mummy, don't tell Santa.
- The comedy gift
One year there was an unusually shaped present under the tree, labelled to me from my partner. I opened it up with great excitement to find - a bottle of tomato ketchup. And so the tradition of the comedy gift began, in which a member of the family will receive something slightly...er...unusual. Previous efforts have involved: a jar of pickled eggs, a tin of pineapple chunks and some stick on moustaches.
- Wrapped up presents
Everything from Santa is wrapped, including stocking fillers. When I was a kid, gifts weren't wrapped, and I remember the pile of stuff being a bit too much to take in. Unwrapping spins it all out a bit more and means that Santa can sneak in a few boring gifts like pants and socks too.
- Stockings for all who've been good
Did you think Christmas stockings were just for kids? Not in our house. Last year I had a can of gin and tonic and a 10% discount voucher for the local pie shop in mine. And a Terry's Chocolate Orange - that's compulsory.
- A walk on the beach
After we've opened our presents, we take our chocolate oranges down to Brighton beach to scoff them. The beach on Christmas Day is full of jolly people in new knitwear and mad fools going for a swim. It's lovely.
- Yorkshire puddings with Christmas dinner
Personally I find this weird weird weird, but my partner insists that yorkies are a compulsory part of the meal. Does anyone else do this?
So what are your family Christmas traditions? Leave a comment below and let us know