The 12 Days of Christmas: Day five – saying Hi to Jesus.

Image: courtesy Flickr/JRWI
I read a really interesting post over at Living With Kids this week, where Liz asked for people’s traditions for Christmas Day.

What was interesting – apart from how many people voluntarily watch soap operas -  is that nobody mentioned church. Seriously, if I was Jesus, I’d be a bit pissed off, frankly. It’s his birthday we’re all celebrating, and hardly anyone bothers to pop round and say Hi.

I have to say, church is a  definite part of the tradition for us – I wouldn't feel right celebrating Christmas without it.

For us, the celebrations start on Christmas Eve when we have a day outdoors somewhere (this year we’re off to a wildlife reserve) and head home in time for the crib service, which is always good fun – last year the vicar caused chaos with a live donkey, and a remote controlled phone which kept ringing with urgent messages from Father Christmas.

After church, we trim the tree, hang the stockings and Flea opens one present before a reading of The Night Before Christmas. I’ll put on National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Elf while I do the wrapping, remembering of course to artistically create snowy footprints on the hearth and a thankyou note from Santa on the breakfast table.

Christmas morning is for stockings and presents – then we go to the Christmas service. We have lunch, then we'll tend to go for a walk on the beach or the local woods. It gives Flea a chance to run off some energy, and then after supper, when she's asleep, I love watching proper blockbuster movies – something like Terminator or Star Trek is perfect. 

Boxing Day is our big family day, and someone will host a family lunch where we can catch up and Flea can play with her cousins and endure kisses from elderly relatives she doesn't really remember. There may be Trivial Pursuit, but we try and steer clear of Scrabble on the big day because Mum has a tendency to get a wee bit over-competitive about the whole business.

Obviously, there are other, rather less Norman Rockwell elements to the traditional Whittle family Christmas. Regular readers will be less than astounded to discover that I almost always kill a domestic appliance at Christmas – last year it was the fire, this year the central heating is already making noises that are turning each day into a thrilling will it/won’t it adventure. I'll always forget to serve one element of Christmas dinner, and I'll drink too much on Boxing Day and find myself unable to resist raising the subject of women who shave their intimate regions, just to see my sister-in-law's reaction, which never gets old.

Regardless, though, our Christmas feels like Christmas – and church is as much as part of Christmas as mince pies and Chevy Chase. And there’s always, always Quality Street. What do you think – will your kids be going to Church this week?

About 

Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

5 Comments

  1. 24th December 2009 / 10:09 am

    Well said, Sally. We will be going to church on Christmas morning as we always do. I told a couple of friends that and they seemed appalled at the idea that I would be taking my daughter away from her presents. Our entire family will be there. It is what Christmas is all about afterall although I fear we will be in the minority.

  2. 24th December 2009 / 11:50 am

    The kids may go with their Grandma but, as an aetheist, I’m afraid I give Church a wide berth. And, as it was basically a pagan mid-winter fetical hijacked by the early church, I feel no qualms in still enjoying all the non-religious elements of Christmas. Still, if I’m stuck by lightening tomorrow, you can say ‘I told you so’!

  3. Liz (LivingwithKids)
    24th December 2009 / 3:42 pm

    It is interesting – and I’m not sure if people didn’t mention church because they don’t go, or because they didn’t feel comfortable saying they do. I’m a Catholic but tend to go to church when I feel like it – not just on special occasions. The rest of the family are decidedly agnostic, and that’s fine by me, although I can see the appeal of Christingle etc for little ones. Anyhooo as Ned Flanders who definitely goes to church at Christmas would say… Sally you’re not the only one who kills domestic appliances at Christmas – poor Dotterel has already lamented the loss of his oven door this morning. By the way, I had a photo of Chevy Chase on my wall when I was a teenager. I know!

  4. 28th December 2009 / 10:54 pm

    @Rosie – yes, it is what Christmas is all about, but it does seem to be a minority, although where we live in Lytham most people I know do go to church anyway, and virtually everyone goes at Christmas. It’s not a chore, our local vicar is very child friendly, so Flea really enjoys it.
    @Dawn – still alive? Phew! Actually, I think if you have an actively atheist/pagan/whatever perspective then of course there’s no reason to go to church. But if you’re singing Carols, celebrating Christmas and acknowledging it as a Christian festival, why not go to church?
    I also think a totally secular Christmas is just, well, weird. And soulless.
    @Liz – the heating died. And half an hour after it was fixed, United Utilities turned off the gas for repairs to a pipe, only to nick the electricity cable, leaving us without gas AND electricity for a whole day. Argh! Hope you got on better!

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