One of the things I love most about Christmas are family traditions. Every family seems to have their own little rituals or traditions which makes their family Christmas unique and special. We have several in our family, some have remained over years and some have changed as we have grown.
My earliest memory of the build up to Christmas was family shopping day. My Mum and Dad would bring my brother and I into town to suit and boot us in our Christmas clothes! The highlight of the day though was pressing our noses up the glass in Switzer’s window and our visit to Santa.
Here is my brother and I every year from 1968 to 1973. How brave am I posting these! Just please don’t do the maths now on how old I am 😛 I must say, they’re not the cheeriest bunch of Santa’s I’ve ever seen! And Mum, what’s with all the purple coats????
If you don’t know what I mean by pressing our noses to the glass, then you were not a child of Dublin in the 70’s and 80’s and you missed out on the most magical Christmas shop window EVERRRR!!!!
If you’re unfamiliar with it, Switzers was one of Grafton Streets more upmarket stores and their Christmas window display brought squeals of joy to the children of Ireland for generations. Every year they decked out their front windows with an animated winter wonderland which would include a selection of singing and dancing polar bears, reindeer, penguins and elves. The sound of Christmas carols would drift up Grafton Street and there really was magic in the air!
Watch this touching video of a family visiting Switzers window on Christmas morning 1989. The excitement of that little girl was echoed by the
hundreds thousands of children who visited Switzers every year.
The tradition changed slightly as we grew older as my brother and dad ducked out. But to this day mum and I still have an annual trip into town followed by a nice meal out together. My nieces often join us for dinner, but a day in town with their nana and auntie is not something which appeals to them 🙂
Another family favourite in the Hughes household was singing Happy Birthday to Baby Jesus. Yep you read that right!! My mum would insist on putting a candle in the middle of the Christmas cake and all the little ones would gather around and sing happy birthday to the Baby Jesus!
Christmas day, while traditional was pretty typical of a lot of families. We would all go to mass, then dad would bring my brother and I to visit my Nana, and other relations, while my mother was busy cooking the feast. When we got back, the neighbours would call around for drinks and merriment and afterwards, we would sit down to dinner. That’s still the way it is today, except I’m the one in the kitchen and everyone calls to my house instead of mums. Same tradition, same family and friends just a different house 🙂
Other traditions that have remained over the years is putting a candle in the window on Christmas Eve, attempting (and failing) to light the pudding year after year; and racing in Leopardstown on St Stephens Day (the absolute highlight of my husbands Christmas)
How about you, what Christmas traditions do you have in your family?