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Christmas traditions – are they hereditary?

Last week, my visiting godmother took one look at my two, traditional, non chocolate, religious-based advent calendars and said, “Oh, advent calendars. They always remind me of your mum.” One of them was from my mum – but this year, not for me, for Tibbs!

See, my mum has a thing about advent calendars, and doesn’t like the chocolate ones much at all. I have to say, I don’t either, although I suspect I heartily disagreed with her as a child (although, at my age, I promise you chocolate ones still feel like a recent thing).

It made me wonder, what else have I picked up about Christmas without even realising – and is it tradition, or is it hereditary?

So I dug up some photographic evidence to check my suspicions.

Right, here’s Christmas for the first three years of my life. I was lucky. First child, first grandchild, and only ever one of three on my mother’s side and two on my dad’s. That meant pretty much every Christmas was a grandparent christmas! Tibbs is one of many cousins so shares her grandparents around a lot more than I did. One year, I’ll aim to get them all in the same place at the same time!

Both my mum and grandma were fans of colour in clothing and I think I am too. I am pretty sure my grandma will have made both the dresses you can see her in. She had a special christmas dress, but I don’t have a picture of it. I don’t have a christmas dress. Grandma also stood up during the national anthem of the Queen’s speech. I don’t remember seeing it at all in recent years!

It’s good to see paper hats, because we were the sort who made everybody wear the hat, no matter how miserable you were about it. And that still happens but I like wearing mine, and we always have made a big fuss of crackers too. I love seeing my Auntie Mary in these pictures, she lives in Australia now and I’d love to see her more often. It feels nice that she was there when we were little.

Big up to my dad, his strong use of the waistcoat as a Christmas day fashion accessory two years on the run, and, bearing in mind he would’ve been under 30, loving the pipe, Dad. I have not taken up a pipe. So this is not a tradition. Yet.

Flash forward a few years and there’s my Dad, still fagging it up at Christmas. Nothing’s changed there! We do love a long tapered candle in our family, and my mum always decorated the holders really nicely as you can see. In fact, she always used as much fresh holly and fir tree as possible, and I really want to continue doing that. Am also pretty chuffed to see a miniature pyramid of Fererro Rocher on the table – early ambassadors receptionists that we were!

I love this next picture of my sister, the look on her face is so happy and we spent a long, long time playing Buckaroo that year. I’d rather play games than do anything else on Christmas Day, so I’m hopeful I can continue this somehow.

I’m noting the gold and red tree colour scheme going on behind. That’s what I still have now and consider to be the most christmassy colour combination! However, my mum puts her tree up on Christmas Eve, never before. I’d like to do it a bit before that, I think.

And lastly, by 1980-whatever it was (maybe 85 or 86), both me and my sister were totally in the land of the bowl heads. You’ll also note my trendy cartoon reversible jumper. I was very proud of that. I do have a new Christmas jumper now though, more on that in another post though.

Our house was always so festive at this time. We sang carols in the road with our neighbours on Christmas Eve, a tradition my mum carried from her mum. Maybe we’ll try that next year.

This scientific study concludes that, from the photographic evidence of my childhood, some Christmas traditions do indeed blend from the hereditary. And I’m totally cool with that.

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6 Comments

  1. I loved this glimpse of your childhood, Eleanor. I smiled at the oversized paper crown. I don’t own any photos of myself as a child and can’t say I remember seeing any that were taken at Christmas time. I hope some do exist somewhere. I must get my parents to send me some old pics at some stage.

  2. I am totally loving these little snippets of your past, you are too cute! It’s funny isn’t how much we pick up form our parents without realising. Me and paul’s upbringing couldn’t have been more different and it really shows around christmas time.x

  3. Oh how cute are all these photos – I really need to dig out some. I do think traditions are passed down, especially if you enjoyed them. For us Christmas Day is always very much an immediate family day (literally just the four of us) while the run up – Christmas Eve and Boxing day are so enjoying with more extended members.

    Laura x

  4. Oh, I love these photos! I don’t think we really have any Christmas traditions as such – possibly collapsing on the sofa after dinner and all falling asleep, ha! I love that typical seventies carpet as well – I think my Aunt had exactly the same one!

  5. lovely photos! i think in the same way that tradition is often passed down, a lack of one is too. though i guess you could say a lack of tradition year after year is still a tradition in itself?

    other than when i was really little i never remember that much of a fuss being made over christmas, other than having a nice meal. which has definitely passed on, because that’s how i am now …but am slowly trying to embrace it just a little.

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