So its coming up to Christmas, which means lights are going up, too much drink is flowing, family members are coming from miles around to visit and an unbelievable number of chocolate Kimberly’s and cups of tea will be consumed. Christmas has always been a very mixed time in our family. Myself and my Mam love Christmas. It’s our favourite time of the year. Where as my brother and Dad who are effectively the devil’s incarnate, and have no joy in their hearts, do not share our sentiments. However, like all of you reading this, our family, just like every other has incredibly strange Christmas traditions that without fail, come up every year. Here are just a couple….

No. 1: The Wake-up Call:

Over and over again I have been told that this is weird, but on Christmas morning, my family usually get up at around ten o’clock. I know it’s a special day in almost every other way, but when it comes to sleep, my family don’t do the whole early riser thing. It’s weird, and uncomfortable and if I’m not going to do it every other day, I’m sure as hell not going to do it on my favourite day of the year.

No. 2: The Hallway Fake Out:

This one’s an oldy. Ever since I can remember, on Christmas morning my family will always stand in the hallway outside the door to the living room, my Dad will open the door into the dark room, pretend to look around, and come back out and say “Nope, no presents.” and we’ll all pretend to walk back to our rooms. Who doesn’t love a bit of childhood disappointment with their Christmas.

No. 3: The Present Situation:

So, Santa doesn’t wrap our presents. We never had wrapped presents. Many of the people I know find that incredibly weird but it just wasn’t what Santa did. Then again, my parents used to have to leave money for our Christmas presents “behind the tree for Santa” every year but that’s a story for my therapist in future years.

No. 4: The Book:

We always get a book for Christmas. Without fail. Its not really that weird but the book is usually my favourite part of the present so that could be counted as weird I suppose.

No. 5: The Champagne Breakfast:

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. We have champagne with breakfast. If you needed evidence to prove that I am a basic, middle-class, white girl, there you go.

No. 6: The Salmon Equation:

Usually Christmas morning, you don’t eat very much, because all sane people are waiting for the big feed in the afternoon. But for whatever reason, my father thinks it acceptable to eat salmon on brown bread for his Christmas breakfast. Its bougie and weird, and I don’t know how exactly it started but it did, and its just become a thing now.

No. 7: The Sing Along:

On Halloween, you watch scary movies, on Valentines day, you watch rom coms. In our house, all of the Christmas movies come before Christmas Day. Elf, The Grinch, Home Alone, all pre-Christmas must watches. But on Christmas day, we do musicals. Singing in the Rain, Sound Of Music, any classic musical, we dig. There was one year we watched Stranger Than Fiction but that was a dark day in the Hollingsworth family histories and we don’t speak of it.

No. 8: The Screaming Match:

Without fail, every year there is some sort of blow up about something. Usually its about something stupid, like someone didn’t set the table or you asked someone to get you a drink and they didn’t, or someone farted in someone else’s face, you know, the usual. It only lasts about five minutes of huffiness and then Dad will mispronounce a word or Mam will try and do a modern dance move and the mood goes back to joyous and Christmassy.

No. 9: The Open Button Policy:

Before we all sit down for dinner, we have a rule in our family that whatever trousers you’re wearing, the top button has to be open. This has become both a tradition and a physical necessity. When it comes to the Christmas dinner, we don’t play.

No. 10: The Mandatory Two Hour Nap:

Takes place after dinner. No need for explanation.

No. 11: The Division Of Assets:

Selection boxes are an essential part of Christmas, and we always get one each. But because we’re not normal, our family tend to divide up the boxes and trade certain sweets for other ones. One year my Mam got five Flakes. And there was only four selection boxes! It was a true Christmas miracle.

No. 12: The Family Initiative:

And perhaps strangest of all, after all is said and done, I actually enjoy just spending time with my family. I love Christmas so much because its just a day of pure family time. Whoever you are and wherever you are this Christmas, I hope you have a happy day full of love, good food and your own weird traditions. Merry Christmas.

Ava Hollingsworth