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Our family Christmas traditions

by Clare Mansell

Every family celebrates Christmas in a slightly different way with different traditions and different ways of doing things. White Stuff recently asked me to write about the way we celebrate Christmas as a family, so I thought I’d select a few things we do and tell you about them…


A few years ago I got fed up with buying crackers and paying for things which, however posh, always ended up in the bin. After all there are only so many keyrings, miniature packs of cards and nail clippers one person can use in a lifetime! So instead we started stuffing our own, it is a bit more work but it doesn’t necessarily cost any more. One year we bought a load of different novelty USB sticks (which can be picked up really cheaply on eBay) themed according to the receiver’s hobbies or tastes. I’ve also bought nail polish, tape measures (for the sewers in the family) mini Green & Blacks bars and torches. It definitely adds a bit of fun to the Christmas lunch knowing that your cracker contents have been tailored to you rather than being filled in a factory with millions of others.

Our Christmas year book

Just after we got married I discovered this brilliant Christmas year book and bought a copy. Every year since it has been dug out of the box so we can read the previous year’s comments and write about how we are spending Christmas and what are hopes are for the year ahead. The first Christmas in 2007 it was just Jim and I celebrating in the Rockies, then we moved back to the UK and had Christmases with family, before having our own children. My niece and nephew were at primary school when they first wrote it in it and my nephew will be nearly 31 by the time we have filled it up! He may even be married with children of his own by then!


I don’t send a huge number of Christmas cards, but I do always do personalised ones with either a festive picture I have taken especially or a collection of images from the year. One year we had these ones made by Truprint and this year we weren’t quite as organised (might be something to do with the small baby!) and had to rely on Moonpig who aren’t as cheap, but are very speedy!

Presents in age order

We open our presents after lunch (a torturous tradition when you are a child) and drag it out by opening all the gifts one at a time in age order with the youngest starting first. It’s not quite as ordered as it might first appear, because after a couple of rounds the system always falls apart because the youngest members of the family always have the most to unwrap, so the older ones start skipping turns and it comes back to the kids quicker and quicker.

Our Canadian tree

We spent our first Christmas together as a married couple in Alberta and so the bulk of our decorations were bought there and we went full out on the Canadian theme. As I mentioned in this post we now have a tree which is covered in Mounties, ice skating beavers, a family of bears in a canoe and cowboy boots. It’s even topped by a moose instead of a star. I’m sure Theo will one day realise this is rather odd, but on the other hand my childhood tree was topped by a one-legged Sindy, so maybe not?!

What are your family traditions? And have you created any new ones since you’ve had children?

With thanks to White Stuff for our lovely festive bundle of goodies…



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Katie Haydock December 19, 2015 - 9:28 pm

I hadn’t ever thought of stuff my own crackers – especially with green and blacks mini bars. This s brilliant… except too late for us this year as we already got the ‘Frozen’ themed ones from Home and Bargain. They’ve got stickers in so Little Miss will be very happy xXx

Dawn & Bean December 21, 2015 - 2:07 pm

I love that Christmas yearbook idea, however there’s no way it’s going to get here before Christmas now 🙁 Maybe I’ll have to make my own! Now there’s a plan 🙂


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