There’s something infinitely magical about Christmas Eve, isn’t there?
I think it can be attributed to the sheer relief that preparations are, for the most part, over and that finally we can truly indulge in heaping mountains of food, a Buck’s Fizz before you’ve even managed to make breakfast, the stillness of the outdoors once ‘driving home for Christmas’ voyages are over, some quality time with family knowing nobody is out working ‘passing sail ship’ hours.
For me, often Christmas Eve and Eve-Eve are more exciting than the day itself! Us Chai family have had a handful of traditions since I was a little girl and now that Harvey and I are about to enjoy a sweet, second Christmas together, it’s been oh so lovely to begin our own set of traditions. All in the name of cosy winter feels in partnership with JD Williams who’ve dressed our abode for the season, let’s talk Christmas traditions, shall we?
Festive coffee dates.
Whilst arguably coffee dates are our most favoured – affordable, relatively time efficient and involves the caffeination of the human form – they seem to amp up towards the latter part of the year. Sweet, sweet drinks in decorated cups, sipped from as we talk animatedly through gifting ideas for our family and friends or as we wander through town, admiring the displays and pet Good Boys but mostly curse our constant failure to remember just busy this time of year gets. I can hardly believe we gift to friends as a couple, it’s the oddest feeling!
A honeycomb latte for me and an iced vanilla latte with soy milk for him, often accompanied by a tiffin for me, a cherry Bakewell for him. And there, another mini tradition set in sugary-stone.
A mini 25th November picnic
Every year I joke that ‘I’d happily celebrate the 25th of every month as Christmas if I could!’ and every year I’m met with looks of disbelief. Not this year! Readers, I’ve found myself the perfect Harvey who took to making sure we could celebrate a November Christmas this year!
We awoke early and made coffee in our pyjamas and unkempt bed-head, before stocking up on festive food essentials (canapés, fizz, veggie stuffing and profiteroles) and enjoyed our very own, very first November Christmas in appropriate pyjamas. We even exchanged a gift ahead of the real day! The idea is that we can spend a day together for Christmas, as well as one surrounded by family on the 25th December.
Dressing the tree!
The Chai tree goes up on the 1st December without fail, and we always go out the week before to pick up a new annual bauble to add to the mix.
Growing up, our tree was dressed with a mix of 80s’ tinsel and homemade gingerbread baubles that we made each year at primary school, for that atypical, rustic feel of the 90s. Over time, this tradition has developed to us each buying a new bauble for a more grown-up tree.
Then, we all don Christmas jumpers (though it is often much too early to be wearing a jumper all through the day!), pop a Christmas film on and set to work on dressing the tree.
This year, we’ve opted for a wintry woodland theme, complete with pinecones, complemented beautifully by our new reindeer tealight holder (A DREAM!) and this chevron-embossed throw that Milo is thoroughly obsessed with. Perfect for cosy evenings in. View more from the range here.
A read, + a game
Something that Harvey and I do on winter weekends is throw open the curtains in the morning, spy a drizzly landscape and then curl straight back under the covers for a day in. And often they’re the best, despite what Instagram may tell you!
In recent years, I’ve really come away from heading out during December because it’s just SO incredibly busy. I favour shopping in small bursts throughout the year, popping out a few times for festive gatherings with friends and a few wintry walks, but we enjoy nothing more than indoors warmth, fuelled by good books, games and food. I’ve just finished reading ‘The Miniaturist’ by Jessie Burton and it was such a great winter evening accompaniment!
One present on Christmas Eve
Another leftover from our childhood, my favourite tradition was that we’d be allowed to open one present – of our choice – after dinner on Christmas Eve. Of course it was because we were impatient children who were desperate to know if Santa had brought them a new Pokédex, Blush Art set or Barbie Fairies doll, but I like the idea of spreading out gifting to make room and time for more time spent together and, erm, eating cheese.
A lights tour, by car!
Last but not least, we ALWAYS enjoy an evening drive on Christmas Eve, right before dinner to see the local houses and neighbouring towns’ light renditions. There’s always a beautifully soft-lit house with twinkling foliage out front and then there’s always the obligatory garish, every-colour-imaginable house. Which one are you?!
What are some of your traditions during the festive season?
Part of the 12 Days of Daisybutter Blogmas challenge. See the challenge introduction here and post along!