Christmas has become more and more stressful.
All the pressure to come up with the perfect gifts. So many cards to send. Not to mention work being especially busy and keeping on top of the usual stuff- grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning. No matter how hard I try each year I am never fully organized and always end up trying to race around for a last minute present or I'm praying each day that something ordered online will be delivered in time!
Once all the busyness is over though and I'm spending the Christmas holidays with family the stress melts away and it's a really lovely time! Every family has there own little traditions I've noticed from chatting to people and there's something really nice about that.
In Ireland we celebrate on the 25th when we open presents in our pajamas in the morning then go to church. We have stockings with our names on them where Santa leaves little gifts. After we often drop in to visit family friends for tea and mince pies and then come home to prepare the big dinner and eat around 4pm; Turkey, stuffing, roast potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, roast ham. For dessert plum pudding which is lit first using brandy then enjoyed with custard or cream. This is traditionally what the majority of families eat in Ireland that day. We sit around and have good conversation for hours. Then in the evening we might play a board game such as Cluedo or Trivial Pursuit and then later watch a movie. We'll usually wear silly winter jumpers and take selfies by the tree.
I've always thought Germany does Christmas well. The decorations are really pretty and many towns have temporary markets and even ice skating rinks built from the end of November.
When we spend the holidays with my husband's side here in Germany, Christmas is celebrated on the 24th. After a big lunch, a little bell is rung, we leave the room and the Christkind delivers the presents under the tree. After opening presents we might go out for a nice walk, also to digest our food before the next meal! We'll wear silly reindeer headbands or hats and take photos. The meal on the 24th is usually fish. Then on the 25th there is another big lunch this time duck or goose. What each family eats varies based on where they are from. For dessert there is always Christmas plätzchen (cookies).
what Christmas traditions do you have where you are from?