Christmas Traditions

Author: Lolly Gautier-Ollerenshaw

Today is technically Christmas Eve Eve Eve and I’m sure there’s a fair few of you who are winding down and perhaps have even finished work already for the Christmas break. We’re super excited here at RMLtd HQ having eaten our combined body weight in food at the Christmas party last week and indulged in a tipple or two.

What better then than to share our individual old and new Christmas traditions with you as we gear up for the holidays. It seems that team RMLtd remain staunch fans of the Christmas stocking and are fond of a festive film or two…


We always take our dog, Sash, out for a morning walk together before madness ensues in the kitchen. I also always inevitably forget something for Christmas dinner… it’s become a sort of guessing game as to what it will be each year. One year I grilled the pork(!), last year I forgot the pigs in blankets, all bets are on for this year’s fiasco.

Now that Leo is a bit older I want to start some traditions with him; I want to give him a parcel to open on Christmas Eve that will contain a new pair of Christmas pjs and a new book for bed time… something Christmas related obviously. I’m also keen for him to have his stocking on the end of his bed. That’s where ours always were as children and I used to love waking up and having that something instant to open.


I always have a few glasses of Prosecco, wear a fancy frock and play Mariah Carey’s “All I want For Christmas” whilst I’m cooking the dinner. We always watch Downton in the evening – usually accompanied by a large tin of Celebrations or Quality Street, I can’t believe it’s the last ever episode!

I hope to start some traditions with Mabel when she’s a little older – although the advent calendar with chocolates in has already been a huge hit!


Our Christmas traditions have changed somewhat since my sisters and I have grown up and Hector made an appearance last year. When we were smaller we all sat down and watched It’s a Wonderful Life without fail every Christmas Eve and I’m glad to say that this tradition remains despite the milk and cookies being exchanged for a glass (or two!) of fizz and some decadent champagne truffles. Treats were left on the mantlepiece for Santa accompanied with a note and a plea for him to write back which my sister used to compare to all the previous years’ notes for consistency!! Stockings were always hung at the bottom of beds although one year my mum tried to make us hang them on the outside of our doors which went down like a lead balloon and us girls opened the presents on my bed on Christmas morning taking turns one by one whilst the oldies tried to catch some extra precious minutes in bed.

This year marks Hector’s second Christmas and he’s beginning to have some awareness that there is something going on that involves a tree, sparkly lights and the opportunity to stroke some reindeer. Whilst previously we would have popped to the pub on Christmas Eve to celebrate with friends, pretty much everyone we know has now got a baby so we’ll be staying in this year for a change. I’m curious to see if it will make Christmas Eve feel any different for Ste and I.

This Christmas morning will be all about Hector opening his stocking or rather his personalised sack which my mum had made for him last year and celebrating for the first time as a family of three since my family are off to London to celebrate with cousins. I’ll be making sure that we’ll be opening the rest of our presents to the gentle strains of some Christmas carols as we did when we were small.


When it comes to Christmas traditions as a child me and my sister would always open our stockings in the middle of the night and then Christmas morning carefully show my mum everything she had made. Once we were in our new frocks we would go to our local pub where the whole village would gather with a festive drink and wish a Merry Christmas to all our friends. Now the girls are old enough to understand we are starting to establish some new ones.

On Christmas Eve we will go to our local church for a rather chaotic nativity play. It’s a teeny church and everyone packs in to sing carols and watch the children. There is even a real Donkey that makes an appearance! After that we go to my neighbours for mince pies and mulled wine before heading home to tuck the girls up and get the stockings ready for Santa. In the morning I have a sneaky suspicion it will all be over in a whirlwind of paper and presents so we will go for a nice walk before joining family for lunch.

This is the first year in many that I’m not cooking so it will be nice to relax and enjoy the morning. I am on pudding duty still though (no surprise there!). The rest of the day is spent together and in the evening we love nothing better than popping a film on and opening the tub of Celebrations. Can’t wait now!


When my sisters and I were little we’d always leave carrots out for the reindeer and a glass of sherry and a mince pie for Father Christmas. We loved surprises so we weren’t ones for trying to guess what we were getting, or secretly trying to open the presents – I’m still like that now! On Christmas morning we’d pile into my parents’ bed and open our stockings, then go down stairs and lay out our gifts in a different corner of the living room each (not sure why?!?).

The rest of the presents were always opened throughout the day slowly – probably so that excitement levels didn’t hit the roof by 9am. When we were really little we’d all head to our local church for the Christmas morning service, followed by a walk, then home for lunch at 1ish. As we’ve all got older the traditions are still there, but usually one of us isn’t 🙁 I guess that’s what happens as you and your siblings grow up, but this year I’m super excited for Elle’s first Christmas, bringing the whole family together, and to start new traditions with her.


Our Christmas traditions will start as early as October half term week, when we’ll all pop round to Nanny’s house to bake the Christmas cake and make a wish stirring the cake mixture before it goes into the oven. I’ll also get involved in the copious amounts of sausage roll making (my Mum’s sausage rolls are legendary) whilst listening to Phil Spector’s Christmas album which are always demolished on Christmas Eve.

As a family we enjoy so many traditions in the run up to Christmas as well as Christmas Day itself including a Christmas Eve box, ‘Chase the Ace’ card game and more and you can read them all on Rock My Family.

What do you do at Christmas? Do you still hang up your stocking? What’s your favourite Christmas jingle? And is anyone looking forward/super sad about the last ever episode of Downton?

Merry Christmas folks xxx

Author: Lolly
Lolly is a self-professed frustrated florist and styling maven with an endless passion for all things pretty.
Follow Lolly on instagram @graceandgable
[show_ltk_widget_version_two rows=1 cols=3 show_frame=false user_id=116091 padding=3 app_id=481186275 profileid=4c5b55b6-ff30-11e5-96ef-22000b0f8f3a]

18 thoughts on “Christmas Traditions

  1. Ahh Christmas traditions. I can’t believe there isn’t one single thing I do every single year. More often than not we spend Christmas Eve with friends though and this year we’re hosting a little shindig. The pressure of being in our new house for six days…… I need more prosecco…

    1. Perhaps Christmas Eve shindigs at The Coleman’s will be a new tradition…can’t wait to pop over to see the new pad!

  2. Whilst I hate the run up to Christmas (I know, bah-humbug and all that lol) I really do love the actual day. As a kid, I loved having two Christmasses – Swedish on Christmas Eve and English on Christmas Day, both with their own traditions. My parents were heavily involved with Church so it always started with the kids nativity play and then heading home to stuff our faces with ham, potatoes and herring (gotta love the pickled herring!) We’d then open all the presents from our Swedish relatives and then when I was older, head off again to church for Midnight Mass.

    Christmas Day was always spent at my grandparents, where we’d obviously indulge in the usual turkey and, wait for it, not open any presents until after the Queens Speech… Something that my parents and nan have continued to this day! And I’m not going to lie, when it’s just me and my husband and we exchange presents between the two of us first thing, I’m always a little bit deflated and wishing we’d kept up the afternoon tradition instead.

    This year is just me and the husband – I still do Swedish Christmas for the two of us (although he hates herring lol) and I still go to Midnight Mass – not for any religious reason, but just because it doesn’t feel like Christmas if I don’t!

    Happy Christmas to everyone at RMS! x

    1. Jo I’ve always wanted to experience a Swedish Christmas so you’re super lucky to have the best of both every year. SO jealous! I haven’t been to Midnight Mass for years but I agree it does feel less Christmassy without the carols and the singing that was a staple part of Christmas when we were at school. Perhaps I’ll persuade the hubby to pop to the church down the road this year for the carol service.

  3. I love Christmas and all its traditions! Its great hearing the different things that everyone does – each family has their own rituals. Even now my siblings and I are in our 30s we still do much of the same stuff as when we were little, stockings, carol concerts and mulled wine.
    I got married earlier this year so this is the first Christmas I will spend with my husband (in 10 years together), I have always gone home Christmas Eve and spent the day with my family but this year the hubby is joining me and I cannot wait for him to join in our traditions!!
    Christmas Eve is by far my favorite day, everyone is excited about the big day and it just feels really magical – I cant wait!

    1. Carly I’m with you – Christmas Eve is most definitely my favourite day out of the whole lot. There’s so much anticipation and usually by this point everyone is off work and getting excited about the holidays to come. There’s a tangible sense of relaxation in the air.

  4. As a child my brother and I always left out a mince pie and glass of sherry for Santa (I presume it was my mum who really enjoyed this treat) and a carrot for Rudolph. There was always a present of new clothes on our bed when we woke up so we could wear something new and posh for Christmas Day. Presents were opened as soon as possible and we had round 2 of presents when my grandparents came round in the afternoon.

    Now my hubby and I now have our own traditions on Christmas Day – we have pancakes with bacon and maple syrup for breakfast as it reminds us of our holiday to New York, we will open our presents with a very excited little dog who loves tearing wrapping paper up, then walk the very excited dog, before chilling out and eating too much chocolate. We always turn the TV off about 9:00pm, open a bottle of wine and either play a board game or do a jigsaw – this year with it being the final Downton Abbey the jigsaw may have to wait!

    A fun tradition we have been doing for a couple of years is seeing who can find the best gift from a pound shop – it’s amazing what you can find!

    1. We left exactly these treats for Father Christmas and Rudolph too Claire! One year my sister decided to leave a trail of cereal for all the reindeer across the carpet which my mum wasn’t very happy about (it never got repeated again!). We’ll probably be kicking back with a glass of champers and a box of choices for the Downton Abbey finale too.

    2. Awwww we used to leave mince pies and sherry (& a carrot for Rudolph, obviously!) as well!
      We used to love reading the thank you letter Santa would leave us 🙂 xx

  5. I really love hearing about other people’s traditions! I’m 28, but my brother and I still have the same stockings that we’ve had since we’ve been born, and we still open them in our parents rooms in the morning! Then it’s boiled eggs for breakfast (even though none of us particularly like them). We always have the same type of champagne for opening tree presents and we always have the same CD of Christmas Carols playing too. We go out for a meal on Christmas Eve, my Mum always drives and as soon as we get home we run in and pour her a really big glass of Amaretto (which she never drinks usually). Next year I’ll be married so I’m sure Christmas will be a little different, but I’m looking forward to adding new traditions as our family morphs! Eep excited now. Two more days of work to go! xx

  6. I love how people do Christmas SO differently – it’s lovely to hear about others and also makes you realise how yours is so unique because of how it’s evolved in your little family! Christmas is far and away my most special day of the year and we’ve always gone seriously overboard for it – but why not! 😉 Thankfully, hubby – who is used to more low-key Christmas affairs – has fully embraced doing it my over-the-top way, I think he’s scared I’ll have a full-on tantrum if he doesn’t (I wouldn’t…not a full-on one).

    I’m really sad about Downton Abbey! It’s become such a tradition, I can’t imagine Christmas without it next year (although that will be our first Christmas with a bub who will be 9 months old by then, so it’s quite good timing as he might not be into Downton by then). Really hope they give Edith a happy ending – poor girl!

    A massive happy Christmas to everyone at RML and all the lovely readers! xx

  7. I still have the same stocking too Sian but it doesn’t get filled any more. Sad face! I think it stopped a few years ago when I moved out but I’m astounded that I managed to get one for that long. We usually have smoked salmon for breakfast but I might give Heccy a boiled egg – he does love them!

    Not long to go now!

  8. Eeeeeeep!!! Can’t believe it’s nearly Christmas!
    Yup, as probably expected I’m definitely one to get excited for Christmas!!

    Usually Christmas starts on my birthday (1st Dec) when the Christmas tree goes up (although sadly life got in the way this year and that was postponed until the 13th!)

    Traditions around the actual day have changed somewhat since I became a grown up(??!!!)
    When I was little I would get up super early and open my stocking (which would be on the end of the bed too!) but now we obviously have a cheeky lie-in as we’ve more than likely been out for a little Christmas Eve tipple with friends the night before!
    Then it’s off to Dave’s family church for the Christmas morning service, and then a quick dash in the car to see some of my family for a brief hello & exchanging of gifts. Then on to whoever we’re having Christmas dinner with! (Phew!)
    It’s a little hectic, but we love being able to see all our family.

    This year we’re having our first home alone Christmas dinner – just the two of us! Which means we actually have to cook for ourselves?!!! (Eeek!)
    We’re planning on attempting a Beef Wellington, so wish us luck!

    Have a wonderful Christmas everyone xxx

  9. We have started a tradition in recent years of going to friends house on Christmas Eve for Smorgasboard as he’s Swedish so the 24th is the big day! This year they are coming to us for a change which will be nice.

    Me and hubby have a few traditions we’ve established … in the run up to Christmas we head to the Dome in Edinburgh for some Prosecco although I don’t know when we’re going to have time this year arghhh! For anyone visiting Edinburgh in the festive season it’s a must – looks like something they’d have in New York. We had a couple of Christmases on our own which was quite nice actually and always go for a walk with our Santa hats on (and sometimes even sunglasses) … we always end up forgetting we have the hats on though! haha. This year we are going to my Mum’s though which I can’t wait for … my fav thing is when everyone comes together after dinner to play board games – Jenga is our thing although last year we spent it with my Dad and Step Mum and sister and played a game involving tights, balloons and a 4 minute timer… split into teams of 2, blow the balloons up and as may in the tights as you can. When time is up pop the tights on your head and whoever has the tallest antlers wins haha.

    I really really miss being a child and thinking Santa was real. I’m nearly 39 and I still think it would be so ace if Santa was real! #believe

  10. Loving all the traditions and feeling totally festive now! We always do a family play in the evening which is a right laugh – my dad is gutted this year as he realises he is finally old enough to be relegated to the audience! I on the other hand am stoked because I get the main part this year – we are doing a Christmas Carol and I am Scrooge! On my way home now to dig out my nightcap and nightshirt….in the words of Ebenezer himself, Merry Christmas Everyone!! X

  11. I LOVE Christmas and I strongly suspect that most of my family’s are them humouring me….

    On Christmas Eve we always skip dinner then have mini hotdogs made with little pigs in blankets and champagne at midnight. Stockings first thing, including for grown ups, and then I start cooking around 12 whilst one of my obliging uncles hands out Snowballs. (I know it’s the most 70s of drinks, and not sure why I love them when I wasn’t even born until the mid-80s, but YUM!!) We usually have the Christmas meal around 4pm, then presents, and card games, then it’s Christmas telly with cheese and wine. Presents always include Christmassy pjs and slippers for everyone and these are always worn for cheese and telly 🙂

  12. Wow to have your stocking at the end of the bed is an interesting place to put them. I can see how that would be a fun surprise. I was never quite enough. The kids always heard me with the tooth fairy duties

    Its A Wonderful Life is an incredible Christmas show to watch. Though I personally lean more towards the Die Hard Side of the Christmas move spectrum.

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *