Monday, 3 December 2012

Creating Christmas Traditions


It's December - so now I'm allowed to blog about Christmas! YAY!!

Last Christmas I wrote about how we have some long-standing family traditions and ones that have evolved more recently.

Christmas has always been at my parents' home surrounded by the whole extended family, sometimes there have been additional guests and even the odd waif and stray over the years. It started on my first christmas as my mother didn't want to be driving all over the country with a 11 month old child to visit all sides of the family with the first grandchild/niece, and so the tradition of Christmas Chez Nous began.

Everyone comes to stay on Christmas Eve and the celebrations kick off from there... a soup competition, dinner, Secret Santa and some table games, drinking and talking (or in fact debating) and playing more games way in to the night, camping out all over the house (unless you're lucky enough to be allocated a bedroom!), waking up en masse and breaking in to our stockings, delivered by  various "Santas" in the night, followed by bacon sandwiches, tea and toast in the breakfast room in shifts (not enough space for everyone, and the dining room is full of sleeping bodies!) and washbag-queueing for the bathrooms. A midday visit to my in laws' where Mr G and his sister cook up a mean Christmas lunch whilst my family nibble on canapes back home. I'll then head back, help set the table and then we tuck in to our own Christmas dinner. Mr G returns, hoping he's missed out the numerous renditions of a slightly tailored version of the Twelve (or Fourteen, depending on who's there) Days of Christmas and the bells and whistles music games. Everyone devours the petit fours whilst my cousin and I dish out the presents in to piles, always leaving my dad until last, just to niggle him and then wrapping paper carnage ensues.
After that it's all about chilling, chatting drinking, and spending QT with loved ones.

But, this year... well this year, we're throwing it wide open.

Mr G and I sold our flat and we bought a house. With stairs, a garden, a dining area and a conservatory (or Orangery, as we referred to it after attending a wedding at Blenheim Palace this summer). I may have mentioned this purchase once or twice on here...
As we were house hunting, in the back of my mind I was always thinking about buying somewhere with enough room to host not just the hoardes of my family, but also Mr G's family, for some or all of Christmas.

One day, the time will come where Mr G and I will have to stop going our separate ways on Christmas Day and make a choice. But I don't want to, and I don't want to make Mr G choose either.
So, that leaves us with two options:
  1. Hire a house for twenty (or more) people, divvy up the catering and hope everyone gets on...
  2. Invite everyone to our place and pray that we have counted correctly and have enough chairs!
Well, this year we're broke (due to actually buying the place), so option 2 it is.

Thus a new tradition is (hopefully) born and we have linked another two families with the power of Christmas! 
Christmas Eve this year will be Chez Griffith and both families are invited. We're keeping it informal with cocktails, canapés, a festive buffet and inviting some family members to stay, so there will be no lounge-floor-camping at my parents' house. Which makes me a little bit sad. That and the fact it'll be the first time I've woken up on Christmas morning and not been surrounded by my entire family, and the chaos that follows.

I may be a teensy bit sad, but I'm also a teensy bit scared. Ok, a LOT scared. I have 21 days to turn myself in to a Christmas domestic goddess...
Does anyone have Nigella or Kirstie's numbers?

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