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As Christmas draws near, its the time of year for many families in the West that,  Family traditions start playing a part in their daily lives.

As a child I can remember we ( Mum, Dad and two Kids) would drive to a large Asda supermarket and we need  two trolleys to complete the big Christmas shop.  My mum would quite often work Christmas Eve nights as a nurse so then she was free for the next few days over Christmas.  We always had a Christmas Eve present, something small to keep us occupied, I was normally allowed a  small sherry from a young age in my parents bid to knock me out before 3 am!  I was rather excitable   about Christmas, Roadrunner seems to follow in my foot steps.  Christmas day would arrive,  my sister and I opened our stockings together in one of our bedrooms trying to keep quiet, so my parents were not aware we were awake at 4am.  Occasionally Santa had to leave our stockings   in other rooms in the house since we were not asleep when he called.

Presents downstairs were then opened, we had to open them one at a time so we could see what each person had and from whom,  from my Great Auntie Madge- each year she saved all the new copper coins that she had and then divided them between her great nieces and nephews which looking back was very thoughtful, we were thought of all year.  My Auntie Rose – Money for Clothes,  Auntie Camella-  Hairbrushes. After breakfast it was then on to  ‘doing the rounds’   as we called it, first off to my Nan’s where she lived with her step sister our Auntie Mo.   When I was young we would then take her to the cemetery to visit her husbands grave, my Granddad, he died when I was 2 1/2.  We would then open our presents from Nan, an annual and pair of slippers, and Auntie Mo flat 20 when we were children and a box of milktray as we got older.  We then took the cards and presents that she had to my Dads Sister and  then on to his Brother, it would then be home for lunch.  It was always Turkey as far as I can remember, we always had crackers to pull and Christmas pudding was always set on light, after pouring brandy over it.   After Christmas Lunch one of my presents was always something to do to keep my hands busy, so making a rug or scrapefoil, so I’d start on that.  Boxing day we seemed every year to  rotate the boxing day party between our house,  or my Auntie’s or Uncle’s, it would be a buffet tea, sherry trifle  ham, pickle onions and Christmas cake, followed by games of Charades.

Now we have our own family, new traditions have been started. Its a lot quieter since no family live close by, Christmas food shopping is now delivered by the supermarket, apart from the meat which I collect on Christmas Eve.   All the vegetables for the next day are also prepared.  Normally the weekend before Christmas we meet up with my sister and family and my parents for a  Buffet or meal out.  In the village  every year the local Churchmen as a way of raising money for Charity arrange for Santa to visit  the Children’s houses on Christmas Eve.  Most Children know its ‘uncle’ Terry the school caretaker as Santa  due to his unmistakeable glasses, and last year due to snow he had to walk since his sleigh couldn’t get up the hill!   Christmas Eve we have started a tradition of making  a Gingerbread House and we are normally eating this well into the New Year.  Christmas morning the boys  are not allowed up before 6am, Roadrunner normally crashes into our room at 6am and then we have to wake Mr Pickles  up.  Stockings are opened on our bed, then its downstairs for the big presents, though Dad needs a large mug of tea to function first.    After these presents are opened its on to breakfast, smoked salmon on hot buttered muffins, with Bucks Fizz have become another of our traditions.  After breakfast its onto the  family presents under the tree and like when I was a child then are opened one at a time  so we can all see what we have been given.   Its then time to eat chocolate and play with the new toys and games.  We don’t eat our lunch until about 3pm, every year we have let the boys choose what meat they would like so over the last few years they have had Turkey, Goose, Duck, Pheasant and Partridge  this year its my turn and as I don’t eat meat we are having a nut roast, don’t think that’s gone down that well.  The boys don’t like Christmas pudding so its chocolate pudding for them and Christmas pudding for the grown-ups .. more for us since they are made for 4.   Time for more playing before settling down to a film and  a very light supper as Mr Pickles wont go to bed without supper.  The boxing day ham is still a tradition here for their tea.

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