Throughout the month of December, as we approach Christmas, we’ve both been sharing different Christmas memories from when we were kids. It’s been really interesting. The thing is, we both had a pretty different upbringing and different Christmas traditions, which resulted in our Christmases being completely different from one another.
Since we found it pretty interesting and seeing as it’s Christmas Eve today, we’ve decided to share with you guys what Christmas looked like for us as kids in this post.
Lydia’s Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve was never really a big event in my family. My family is not religious and I did not have a religious upbringing therefore Christmas Eve didn’t hold any religious importance to us, it was just a day where we were all together.
Christmas Eve would always be a pretty relaxed day. In the evening my parent’s would have friends over for drinks and nibbles so we’d just spend the day lazing about and getting ready for the evening.
In the evening when we had friends over my parents and their friends would all just hang out, chat and listen to music while myself and the other kids would muck about and swim in the pool. The food served was just basic snack foods such as mince pies and sausage rolls.
My mom and dad always made Christmas Eve a short night (which was unusual for my parents as they were party animals!). They made a rule that all the guests had to leave relatively early (around 8/9pm) so we could get ready for bed and go to bed early. Once the guests left we’d immediately tidy up and get ready for bed. Just before we went to bed we’d leave out cookies for Santa and carrots for his reindeers (a tradition that my family did every Christmas Eve without fail).
Wehan’s Christmas Eve
On Christmas Eve my family would either get together early in the afternoon with my dad’s side of the family and have a BBQ (typical South Africans!) or would spend the day with my mom’s side of the family. At dinner with my dad’s side of the family we would usually have some sort of steak or loin chop, salad, veggies and sliced beetroots! Yuck, I never liked beetroots!
After having dinner we would eat dessert. Most of the time dessert would just be vanilla ice cream cones, topped with ice magic (that chocolate topping that hardens when it’s on top of ice cream) and fruit salad (or just plain sliced watermelon).
After dinner we would open our presents (yes I know, Lydia’s told me thousands of times how weird it is that we opened presents on Christmas eve and not Christmas morning!). My family are religious and I did have a religious upbringing which meant that Christmas for us was about being together and celebrating the meaning of Christmas. We didn’t have a Santa who would leave us gifts for the morning, we would just share gifts with each other on Christmas Eve.
After opening all of our presents my sisters, my cousins and I would play games such as hide and seek for the remainder of the evening, before we went home.
When we were on holiday by the beach (with my moms side of the family) for Christmas Eve, our afternoons/evenings would look pretty similar. Except that we’d spend the entire day at the beach swimming. Weird side story, which I just told Lydia as I’m writing this and she’s looking at me like I’m crazy… my grandma used to make us bleach our feet after spending the day at the beach. Yep, my grandma was obsessed with cleaning and everything in her house was white (the walls, the sofas and the chairs, everything was white and clean).
Lydia’s Christmas Day
Christmas morning is honestly my favourite childhood memory. I was always just so excited to wake up and start my day. I would always wake up really really early on a Christmas morning. Not because I set an alarm or anything, just purely from excitement.
My brother and I used to have a stocking that would go on our doors. Santa would put a single gift in these stockings to keep myself and my brother distracted for a little while until my parents woke up. When I woke up early in the morning I’d grab my gift out of my stocking, and I’d grab my brother’s gift, then I’d knock on my brother’s door and would go climb into his bed. We’d open our gifts, would play around with the gifts and would talk until our parents woke up.
When my parents woke up they’d immediately make a coffee or tea while my brother and I went over to look at all the presents from Santa under the tree. As soon as my parents had grabbed a drink (and a seat) my brother and I would open all of our presents from Santa, taking turns and showing each other what we got. One of the gifts would always be some form of chocolate (like a box of malteasers, biscuits or a block of chocolate) which we would eat for breakfast. My mom always used to say that there are few days we were allowed to eat chocolate for breakfast, those days were our Birthdays, Easter and Christmas.
After opening our gifts we’d spend the morning playing around with our gifts and hanging around the house. Then we’d all have lunch together. What we ate for lunch would vary each year. My brother and I would always ask for pasta so I know alongside ‘traditional Christmas dishes’ we’d sometimes be able to coerce my mom into making pasta also. Majority of the time the lunch was just with my immediate family but sometimes we’d have guests for lunch. For example, one year, when my grandparents were visiting from the UK we had them with us for lunch.
After lunch we’d open the rest of our presents. These are our non Santa presents. These are presents that came from friends, family and each other. At this point all four of us (my mom, my dad, my brother and myself) would sit together and would open each of our presents one by one.
After opening our presents we’d spend the rest of the day hanging around, eating way too much, playing with our toys and swimming in the pool.
Wehan’s Christmas Day
Christmas was always a very quiet day in my house. On Christmas Day my family would would wake up relatively early (around 7/8 AM) to get ready for church. After church we would go home and eat lunch together. We would eat any leftovers that we had from Christmas Eve (steak, veggies and salad). Once we had finished eating we had to clean and tidy any mess leftover from Christmas Eve.
As soon as my mom was happy that the house was tidy enough, we were allowed to play with our new toys and do whatever we wanted to do for the remainder of the day.
What Did Christmas Look Like For You?
Now that’s enough about how we spent Christmas. How did you guys spend Christmas as a child? Do you have any similarities between what you do and what we did or did your Christmas look completely different? Please let us know in the comments.
Also, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Make sure to stay safe this holiday season.