Tuesday, 16 December 2014

BLOGMAS Day 16: What Christmas Means To Me...

Me and my family aren't religious. We don't go to church and we don't celebrate Christmas in a religious way. Although we are aware of what Christmas is supposed to represent, it has always been about spending quality time with loved ones, taking the time to appreciate what we have, reflecting on the past year, looking forward to and making plans for the new one and generally slowing down to just live, love and laugh (wow, that sounds so cheesy! #sorrynotsorry). Obviously, the gifts, food and drink are all a bonus that we enjoy just as much :).

I absolutely love the feeling I get on Christmas Day, an excited feeling, almost like a feeling of peace and calm. I love that random strangers will say Merry Christmas if you're out and about and that no-one is really worrying about the usual stresses of life. I know that not everyone has the same experience as me at Christmas, which is why I cherish it even more. I never take for granted the fact that every Christmas my family have traditions, we look forward to them and we are lucky to be able to spend it together.

I love receiving presents as much as the next person, but I think it's such an enjoyable experience going out and buying gifts. I love knowing what my loved ones want and going out and getting such items (for any occasion, not just Christmas). I hate the thought of loved ones worrying about buying presents though. When me and my sister were younger and my dad was around, it wasn't such an issue and it isn't an issue now that we're older, but during those in-between years, when it was just my mom, my sister and me, my mom used to worry about not getting us enough presents. Luckily, me and my sister were grateful for anything and we just felt bad for my mom worrying, we always used to tell her not to fret and that as long as we all had a good day, that was all that mattered. Breaks my heart though thinking that she was ever worrying about something like that.

Me and my sister were never spoilt by any means, but we could never complain either. We always had a stocking with little gifts in and we shared a room for years where we'd wake up early (or rather, my sister woke me up!) and tuck into our stockings. My mom and dad made the back room/dining room in our family home into a bedroom for me when I started growing up and I looooved it! Since then, my sister would knock on her floor, which happened to be my ceiling and that would be my signal to go up to her so we could open our stockings together. Christmas Eve, before bed, my sister (who's four years younger than me) would say what time she'd be knocking on her floor.

On Christmas Day, we had our specific places in the living room where our presents would be laid out and we'd all take it in turns to open a present, so we could see what everyone got. It sounds so funny describing it like that, but it was fun to us, made present opening last longer and is something we've always done. During the morning, we'd have a cup of tea or something fizzy (when I was old enough) and mom would make a full English for us all or bacon/sausage sandwiches. When the 'back room' was a 'back room' and not my bedroom, we never wanted to eat Christmas dinner in there. We always preferred to sit in the living room and watch a film whilst we were eating but my mom had this wooden table that was hand-made. It came apart so it was stored away for the rest of the year and brought out at Christmas, so that used to be brought into the living room and set up all Christmassy :). My mom's living room isn't the biggest, so this big table took up most of the space and we'd have stools or garden chairs to sit on. Ha ha, it sounds like something from The Royle Family! All of these little traditions have always been the same, up until last year when me, Si, my mom and my sister had our first Christmas in a different place (mine and Si's new flat). They will probably resume this year though as me and Si are going to my mom and sister's for Christmas :).

We had a few traditions growing up, that we don't have now. It was a lot more family orientated when me and my sister were kids and my mom and dad were together. A lot of Christmas was associated with my dad's side of the family. Boxing Day was the day we used to go to my nan and grandad's (my dad's mom and dad) house, my dad's six siblings and my cousins would be there and nan would put a little buffet on for us all. Also, on New Year's Eve, we'd meet my dad's side of the family at a local social club where there used to be a disco/party on. Us kids used to really look forward to it, we loved having a dance and staying up late to see the New Year in. When me and my sister were quite young, my mom used to dress us in the same party dresses, ha ha! I can't remember the exact time all of this stopped, but I think it was around the time my mom and dad separated for good. We still see my dad's side of the family, of course, but there are no big get-togethers or anything like when we were kids. I understand that people grow and take on different traditions, but I just remember those two things being something we did for years and years.

Me and Si have started our own traditions since getting together 6 years ago. Most of them are the same as above ( Si lived at my mom's with me for about 5 years) because we've only had one Christmas in our own place and that was just last year. We have made it a tradition to stay over in Birmingham at Christmas time, so we can do a bit of shopping and enjoy some mulled wine and food at the Christmas/Frankfurt market. We also like to do each other stockings, organise a pre-Christmas meal with my fam and Si's fam, Si goes Christmas shopping in London with his friend and we watch Christmas movies or listen to Christmas songs as we're putting the decorations up. They're just little things, but things that are important to us. When we have kids, we'll probably take on new traditions for them to grow up with.

I've really enjoyed writing this post and I hope it gives you a bit more of an insight into what Christmas means to me :).

What does Christmas mean to you?

Don't forget to like, comment and follow to keep up to date with the rest of my Blogmas posts :).

Thanks for reading lovelies!
Gem XxOo

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