Christmas means lots of different things to different people, but most of us find that our Christmas traditions – the silly, sweet, sentimental, even borderline ridiculous ones – remain a firm part of our festive celebrations.
Even when we move to different cities and countries, and start families of our own, we tend to bring our favourite Christmas traditions with us, whether it’s adding a personal touch to each stocking in the house, ensuring everyone gets new PJs for the new year or using glitter flour to make reindeer or Santa footprints.
These days, we’re constantly adopting – and adapting to – new Christmas traditions, like integrating technology into our Christmas routines.
Who doesn’t spend part of Christmas Day Skyping with friends and family in other cities and countries? And the other half of the day memorialising our favourite Christmas Day moments on social media?
Here are some traditions others enjoy... and maybe one or two to try yourselves this year?
“For my grandson’s first Christmas, I wanted a handmade tree decoration. One of my friends makes things from glass so I asked her to make me two of the same with my grandson’s name and the year – one for me and one for my grandson’s other grandmother, Christine. She loved it so much that she said she would get handmade tree decorations for the following year, so we’ve decided to make it a tradition that we take it in turns to buy handmade tree decorations with our grandson’s name and year on. We are now into our third year and we have a granddaughter due next year so now we’ll have two to buy for.” Amanda, Surrey
“I always put envelopes on the tree from Santa that contain experiences instead of presents, like Cirque du Soleil tickets or a night away somewhere, so we have something to look forward to in January.” Nicola, south London
“On Christmas Eve, the kids always get a nice box – the same one each year – with their new PJs and Christmas mug (it’s always the same old mug). We then have hot chocolate and snuggle on the sofa. I drink Bailey’s or cherry brandy at Christmas – that’s my tradition for me.” Julia, Nottingham
“I buy wooden Christmas decorations (the flat ones), put them in the advent calendar, and the kids paint them so we can put them in the tree! Don’t tell anyone, but I usually just get them from Tiger.” Alice, southwest London
“In 2005 my daughter gave birth to my beautiful grandson who we sadly lost at birth. We call Bradley our little angel. That year I bought an angel tree decoration with his name on. I decided that each year I would hang a tree decoration in his name. I now have 14 hanging for each year on my tree.” Sandra, Kent
“My friend and I are single mums so we only have the kids on Christmas every other year. To get around this, we have ‘fake Christmas,’ either on Boxing Day or New Year’s Day. It’s continued even as the kids have gotten older. We have the whole of Christmas Day – presents, food, games – on fake Christmas. So the kids have two Christmases. We nearly always go to the pantomime as well.” Karen, Crystal Palace
“Instead of a stocking we always got a pillowcase with presents on Christmas Day, which we were allowed to open after church. Then it was hours of freezing, wet cricket in the front garden – we didn’t mind! – Dr. Who on the TV and board games.” Sam, London
“I’m planning to try something new this year with the kids: the reverse advent calendar. Of course this doesn’t take the place of the normal chocolate advent calendar – my kids aren’t that nice. In fact, my youngest was very concerned about his chocolates and just told me ‘giving is boring’... I’m glad all my efforts are paying off!” Dina, London
“I go to Midnight Mass, but I pick a different church to go to every year. I’m Greek, so if someone in our family died earlier that year, we’ll still lay a place for them at the Christmas table.” Linda, Thornton Heath
“I’m originally from Paris, and in my family, we don’t eat a big Christmas dinner. We have hot chocolate and brioche and tangerines when we come back from church super-late on the 24th and eat a massive feast the next day after opening the presents.” Pauline, London
“In my native Spain, we always have 12 grapes with the last seconds before midnight and the New Year. My mother drops some small, gold jewellery in her glass for prosperity, and, like many Italian people I believe, we eat lentils for lunch on January 1st. For prosperity, again.” Eloisa, London