Have you all put up your tree? Ours went up on Saturday. In fact I couldn’t wait to put it up. When you have a fake Christmas tree that takes two hours to put up and look perfect, I definitely want to get the most out of it. But when is officially the right time to put the tree? Do you follow the tradition or do you just put it up whenever you feel festive?
Christmas is not even two weeks away. It’s mad how fast December has flown in the end. Yesterday evening I finally got time to wrap all the Christmas presents and put them away into each children’s sack. I am just waiting on a few presents for hubby and that’s me done then.
In our family we do two traditions each year. I had a conversation with someone yesterday about traditions. It seems that the UK and Ireland are the only countries that unwrap Christmas presents on Christmas morning. All other countries do it Christmas Eve.
Since day one we have been unwrapping presents on Christmas Eve and on Christmas morning. Even more so since having children. The presents they receive on Christmas Eve are from us and the ones on Christmas morning are the ones Santa left behind when they were asleep.
The morning of the 24th December is generally very chilled. We all get dressed and have breakfast downstairs. I am that kind of person who doesn’t feel ready for the day if I would go downstairs in my PJ’s. I need to be all fresh, dressed and washed. Then we have a bit of play time. If the weather allows it, we go outside for a walk. Fresh air is always good. Both kids get cabin fever if they don’t go outside even for a few minutes. We normally walk around the estate for a bit. We haven’t figured out where the nearest playground is.
It’s lunch time. Of course we have Christmas music playing in the background. While the kids are having their lunch, I am preparing the dinner in the background. Our typical Christmas Eve dinner is homemade potato salad with sausages… German sausages these are. I call them Wiener. Nice with some English mustard or for people who don’t like mustard, also nice with tomato ketchup.
Around 3pm/3.30pm we generally have some cake and tea/coffee. The most famous German cake we have at Christmas time is probably Stollen. You can have it with Marzipan or just a butter one. I like both. Another cake I really love is “Baumkuchen”. I normally have this sent over by friends because I have never seen it in Ireland before. It’s so nice that I could eat the whole cake.
Once we have cleaned up the dishes, it’s onto the presents before dinner. Depending what the kids get for Christmas, I only allow them to open up two or three and do the rest the next morning, just so we don’t get them too excited before bedtime. I don’t want them being too hyper.
With unwrapping presents, we can get delayed a bit for dinner but that’s ok because the potato salad is already made and the sausages only have to be boiled in water a bit. That’s why it’s so handy to have a meal made already and not spend hours in the kitchen.
Around 7pm we are going upstairs to have a bath and be squeaky clean for the morning for when Santa has been. Of course we can’t go to bed without wearing all our Christmas PJ’s. We all have been wearing them already the last two weeks. Matthew’s ones have Santa on it and his beard is all fluffy. He loves them.
What do you do on Christmas Eve? Do you have a tradition or do you do everything Christmas Day?
I would like to share something very special with you in this post. As most of you know I was born and raised in Germany. For people like you living in Ireland or the UK or anywhere else in the world you might not know how we are preparing in the run up to Christmas and what we do before Christmas even arrives. I managed to put a little collection of traditions together. Christmas is always a special time of the year in my opinion. There is Halloween and Easter during the year too of course but Christmas makes it always that extra special to me. It is where all the family gathers together. I might live in Ireland for ten years now but I love taking my home country traditions with me.
Come December 1st the Advent time starts. Every Sunday of December is an Advent. So there is 4 Advents until Christmas. In this time we create a wreath with 4 candles around it. Each candle represents an Advent and will be lit on the Sunday. My mum used to make these from scratch. We would go out in the garden or the graveyard (out garden had door onto the local graveyard, I know spooky but I grew up with it) and pick up some branches to make it. She did some gorgeous pieces. I have been continuing making these myself. The first is actually the coming Sunday this year. I really need to start on the Christmas stuff very soon.
I love this time of the year because it’s so cosy having candles in the house and it makes it even more special and exciting to look forward to the Christmas period.
The next tradition is particularly for all kids out there. I used to love this day as a child.
On December 6th it’s “Nikolaus Day“. The night before the 6th every child cleans their shoes and puts them out hoping that Nikolaus will call during the night and fill them with sweets and fruit. I had 3 pairs out or even more but they were always filled with lovely things (thanks mum, you were too good 🙂 ) But beware, the bold kids get a rod from Nikolaus (That actually never happens- even though I remember getting one for fun)
Next up is a tradition that would be popular all over the world at this stage. The advent calendar.
24 Windows filled with chocolate that represents each day in December. Doesn’t have to be just chocolate though. There are so many cute advent calendars out there now that can be filled with anything. Last year we actually had a toy advent calendar from WOW toys. Matthew loved it. I think this year it may be just a chocolate one for the kids and one that we have to fill ourselves.
If you happen to be in Germany the middle of December you definitely have to go to the Christmas Market. It’s a market normally in the centre of town or in the market square of town.
A must is to drink a hot mulled wine. Yum, even the thought of it I would love one right now. Wrapped up warm and the wine standing in the middle of the market is the best thing ever. There is something I love eating at a Christmas market too and I actually made it last year for Christmas. They were going down a treat. They are called “Mutzen”. I published the recipe last year so you can find it again here. I made a whole batch. It’s basically dough which you fry in the deep fryer. DELICIOUS.
Because I live in Ireland now for the past ten years, I am trying to keep both traditions, Irish and German which is only fair I think.
This means come Christmas Eve December 24th we unwrap some presents after having coffee/tea and cake around 5pm. Half of the other presents will be kept for the morning that the Irish Santa left.
In Germany we normally put up the Christmas tree December 23rd. I like the Irish tradition better as the tree goes up December 6th. I love my decorations so I am always getting so excited being able to put up the tree so early. It will be interesting this year because Chloe is on the move.
What’s the tradition in your country? Would you do any of the ones listed or maybe plan to add on, now that you read about it?