Sunday, November 8, 2009

Advent into Christmas, and beyond...

This is the last post of my Advent series, and it's really ironic that I planned this post over a month ago, as it's where I show you family photos snapped a few Christmases ago with no thought of presenting them to the blogging public! This ties in with the discussion about only showing the 'perfect' when we blog. Well, here are some rather blurry family snaps: frazzled parents, cobwebs and all!The best thing about Advent, for me, is the preparation – putting Christmas into its proper place so it can be celebrated with fresh enthusiasm. For us, we get very enthusiastic indeed on Christmas Eve, with traditions taken almost entirely from Ben’s family. On Christmas Eve morning, the house gets a really serious tidy-up. It’s gonna need it for what follows… The tree, which grows in a pot outside the house for the rest of the year, is brought in and put in place. After lunch, the paper chains are strung up. We keep the old ones if we have space, and mend them or make new ones out of last year’s Christmas wrapping paper plus other colourful bits and bobs saved over the year. This needs to be done in advance if you want a big show! Once the chains are up, it may well be time for Carols from Kings on Radio 4. Now we’re in France this puts the timing out a bit (we’re one hour ahead, of course), but we make an effort. If we can’t get the timing right, we have some good classical Christmas CDs.
Now the Christmas boxes can come out, and the tree is decorated. All the usual family ‘discussions’ related to taste, ‘less is more’ etc ensue, but it’s generally a lot of fun to work together to decorate the tree! The decorations, all of which have been bought or made over the years and hold a lot of memories, come out, plus any new ones the boys have made this year. As well as the tree decorations, we have some for the mantelpiece and plenty for the stairs, which are a focal point in our house. Once the decorations are up, it’s time to sit down with some drinks and nibbles. At Ben’s parents’ house, this works very well, when there are plenty of adults gathered together for a civilised sherry. When it’s just the four of us, crisps and cola may be more the order of the day, but Ben and I usually find time for a French liqueur or similar…
As you can imagine, saving all this until Christmas Eve isn’t actually difficult when Advent is such fun. It certainly makes Christmas very special and new, and means that we can celebrate the whole Twelve Days of Christmas without the desperate urge to Get That Tree Out of the House that you get when it’s been up since early December.
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In France, new traditions that keep the celebrations going have been added to the ones we brought with us. I think you’ll have to wait until January to find out what we do, although I’m sure my friends at French Village Life, Suzy's Vintage Attic and Marigold Jam have a good idea…

14 comments:

TheMadHouse said...

I adore the paper chains and think it is a wonderful idea, we will be making some this year on the lead up to Christmas. We actually put a lot of the decorations up in December as the boys love it so much and for us Christmas Eve is about food, family, the crib service and a bad christmas movie and also the tree trimming takes forever with a three and four year old. Your home looks wonderful, not at all imperfect

Michela said...

Hi Floss, I can't believe that you decorate your house just on Christmas eve!..it has to be really fun. Here on the Boxing Day we're all tired to see the Christmas tree and decs!

P.S.It was lovely to see you not in profile once!

VintageVicki said...

I love your paper chains.

It is great to read about what others do at christmas. Our christmas eve is spent preparing for the next day - everyone has jobs, whether its food prep or tidying.

In the evening we go to an open air carol service in town. MrVV plays in a brass band - this year little son has been learning to play a baritone and is hopeful he'll be good enough to take part too.

Wendy said...

Hi Floss,
That has put me right in the mood - I can't wait!
I adore Christmas, and I adore how you 'do' Christmas, very similar to ours. Very traditional, it's all about family.
I'm off to count how many sleeps it is!
Wx

The Vintage Kitten said...

I love your paper chains X

Florence and Mary said...

My SIL is talking about putting her Christmas tree now and you wait until Christmas Eve! LOL! Sounds like you have a lovely day

Victoria xxx

Pomona said...

I love the idea of paperchains out of recycled wrapping paper - very much in keeping with the Challenge!

Pomona x

Sarah said...

You must have a lot of patience to have made so many paper chains! No wonder you keep them.

It's nice to see your house uncropped and natural even if it was after a major clean up. I don't think we need to have a show us your grot party anymore as word seems to be spreading very quickly. Nice to see so many get on board.

You look very pretty by the way as well!

marigold jam said...

Lovely "real" life post! I loved how in France Christmas doesn't begin till December not like here when the shops start piling up the Christmas stuff in September so that we are all tired of it by the time the 25th comes round. Yes I will be sure to post about Christmas and January celebrations in "Living in the Limousin" later!

Jane

Itch2stitch.com said...

I think you do it just in the right way! I agree about the tree, I can't be doing with it too early, as I like to enjoy it fresh over the christmas, without that feeling of wanting to get rid because its been there so long! Suzie. xx

The Curious Cat said...

I love hearing about how other people celebrate christmas - I like the traditions - yours sound really lovely and family orientated! I like how you all decorate the tree together xxx

Lola Nova said...

What festive and comforting photos. Gives me a twinge of excitement to read and look at your Advent posts. Come December, there will be many a rainy day Christmas craft sessions with the small one, I am really looking forward to our family celebration. Thank you for sharing yours.

Kaye said...

I so enjoyed coming to visit as I also love celebrating Advent in preparation for Christmas. It's such a fun way to celebrate the season while making sure my grandkids are enjoying learning that Jesus truly is the Reason for the Season :)

theshepherdshouse.wordpress.com said...

Hi Floss ~

How fun to read of your Christmas Eve traditions!

Thank you so much for leaving a comment at my blog ~ I am so happy to meet you!

Sweet blessings,
Sharon