In the spirit of giving, the Stranger team would like to share with you some of their unconventional family traditions. Think very cold water, car park sherry and miniature stuffed Christmas trees.
“Every Christmas we go for a surf at Whitsand Bay. The water might be freezing but the waves are normally clean and there’s always a good crowd. Side note – wearing a Santa hat is as bad an idea as it sounds.”
“I’m one of five siblings. Two under 14 and the rest in our 20s. Since the youngest two were born we’ve all hunkered down in one bedroom on Christmas Eve, blanketing the floor with pillows and duvets pulled from various rooms around the house. I read The Grinch Who Stole Christmas to the youngest ones and we wake on Christmas morning to scrabble over stocking presents, together. Nowadays it’s more of a necessity as the family grows. ”
“Dashing into the chilly sea at Gylly Beach on Christmas morning has become part of our family ritual. We swim post-presents, pre-lunch, and revive ourselves with a slab of Grannie Annie’s fruitcake and a glug of something warming from a hip flask.”
“Before going to bed on Christmas Eve, we all sit down together so my mum can read us The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore. My Mom gets very animated and does sound effects and voices to make it more of a performance than a reading. Since I’ve moved to the UK from San Diego, I’m not home a lot on Christmas Eve so my Mom now does it for me and Sam (my two-year-old-son) over Skype.”
“A tiny stuffed Christmas tree with a muddle of ribbons is brought out after dinner. At the end of each ribbon is a gift and the ribbons are pinned to the tree with people’s initials. The game is to follow your ribbon and find your gift. I think my great grandma introduced it to our family – she certainly made the tree…”
“I’m with Alfie on the Christmas surf – it certainly takes some beating. But the last couple of years have seen my wave count plummet in correlation with having two tiny children. Meanwhile, I’ve just discovered the joys of a Cranberry Tini – a perfectly refreshing and (slightly dangerously easy) sip, be it in a hot kitchen or from a flask on a crisp walk. It’s set to be a tradition from here on in.”
“My favourite part of Christmas happens in a car park. After an early, often wet walk on the beach, we crack open a bottle of Bristol Cream stowed in the car boot. We pass the bottle around the family (no cups necessary), glugging, singing and washing down a selection of Lidl’s naff and delicious Christmassy biscuits. On the drive home we sit in the back like children, chanting ‘BEEP THEM’ as my Step-Dad sounds his horn at people. Pretty mean really.”