When my parents split up, Christmas was thrown into a bit of disarray. Their divorce also coincided with my move to Leeds, which didn't help matters, and eventually our family home was sold and everyone moved onto pastures new. Figuring out how to make this new family arrangement work was bound to take some time, and it meant throwing out a lot of our original Christmas traditions. And, really, what is Christmas if not a time for traditions?
I am not one to do things for the sake of tradition, generally speaking, but Christmas is a little different. So much of the magic is in eating the same thing you always eat, in singing the songs you always sing and doing the things you've always done. So, what happens when you can't get comfy in those old familiar grooves anymore?
Well, you have to carve yourself some new ones. With Benjamin now in the picture, I am being very conscious of starting those little Christmas traditions that he will come to know and rely on, the same way I did with the ones in my own childhood. It's important to me that he has those memories, and those things to look forward to every year.
We're lucky to be spending the actual days of Christmas at home with my brother and sister, which not only means no trips down the M1 (for us) but also means I get to have a little bit of control about what we get up to (I'm the eldest, can you tell?!). With so much time on my hands at the moment, you can bet that I've planned a festive itinerary full of organised fun for everyone!
Of course, they're not so far away from the traditions of my childhood. Baking cookies on Christmas Eve to leave out for Santa. Laying out our stockings in the hope that he brings us some goodies. A slap-up roast dinner cooked by yours truly. And, of course, the annual watching of the Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special which, in my eyes, is the best Christmas television show of all time. There will also be fizz with breakfast, a Christmas Eve book exchange and an obligatory Boxing Day walk. My hope, of course, is that we can do all this again next year and the year after that, enshrining these new traditions into old ones and giving them that little touch of magic. It is Christmas, after all...