With Christmas fast approaching, our family is in full-on festive celebration mode. Despite not being particularly religious, Christmas has always been my favourite time of the year – and Winter my favourite season – so I’m loving the new opportunities being a parent offers for making the most of this brilliant time.
Whilst chatting to another Christmas fan the other day, the topic of which ‘Day’ was best came up – and I’ve been giving it quite a bit of thought ever since. Whilst the obvious answer is Christmas day, I’ve realised lately that I actually enjoy a lot of the other build-up/come-down days around the 25th just as much – and in some cases more.
I suspect my answer to this question has matured just as I have – I know I certainly enjoy some of less selfish aspects of Christmas a lot more these days. Heck, I’m tempted to say I even enjoy giving presents more than receiving now!
So which IS the best day of the holiday period? Let’s take a look at the candidates:
In a world where anticipation is half of the fun, Christmas Eve has certainly been a favourite of mine quite a few times over the years. When I was younger and living at home, we had a fairly regular Christmas Eve tradition of going for a brisk wintery walk around a National Trust property in the afternoon (usually Stourhead!) – but sadly this tradition hasn’t yet made it in to my own family calendar, mainly due to me usually having to work for at least half of Christmas Eve at the office – then spending the other half travelling across the country to whatever place we’ve chosen to spend the big day. That’s not to say that I don’t love Christmas Eve still – and being a father means the evening in particular is now a very exciting time. After all, who could feel anything but joyously happy while stuffing little packages of joy in to a stocking, and knowing how happy the recipients will be in the morning?!
Surely the obvious choice, and definitely a day that’s full of joy – and probably one of the only days of the year when I fully switch-off from work and the outside world! But as a day, it always seems to whizz past in a bit of a blur – I barely stop moving (in one way or another!) until after the children have gone to bed, and only then do you really get to sit back and reflect on the day itself. Hopefully with two excited children (or three if you count my dad!) enjoying the day this year (at 18 months, this is the first Christmas that Freddie will actively participate in!) I’ll find even more fun in Christmas Day this year. Let’s hope it snows too – though having finally had a White Christmas last year, and having realised what chaos it actually brings to our Christmas travel plans, perhaps I should stop putting ‘White Christmas’ on my letter to Santa…!
The morning after the day before – boxing day is usually a time of lethargy, though it’s also traditionally been a good day for actually looking at your presents. Not to mention all that left-over turkey and sausage meat! If sport is your bag, Boxing Day is also a great day for a bit of armchair punditry! I can’t say I’ve developed a preference for spending Boxing Day on the sofa QUITE yet – though I must admit that, having developed an amateur interest in a bit of sports better this year, I *might* be tempted to have a flutter (my top tip for that particular vice: use a betting comparison site like www.freebets.org.uk to make sure you get the best odds!) But one thing I DO like to cram in to boxing day is a nice long way in the countryside – something that is very easy to achieve at both sets of grandparents house, thankfully.
So which is my favourite – or should I say, my current favourite?
Well, despite the chaos and travel it involves, I’ve got to say Christmas Eve is riding pretty high in my mind this year. Whilst I expect both Christmas Day and Boxing Day will be delightful days for our family, I’m REALLY looking forward to cracking open the Sherry for Santa (*cough*) and then conducting a mad dash to get all the presents in to their allotted slots and spaces without waking the kids. Let’s just hope the whole season is as merry and bright as we all deserve after such a long year!