Growing up in India, not too many people celebrated Christmas – Diwali was the name of the game, which, was the equivalent to Christmas over there. That being said, my mum and I would always have our own little Christmas celebration, together with some family friends who celebrated, too. We’d usually put up a tree together at the start of December (I’ve had a tree ever since I was born) attend midnight mass with them in church on Christmas eve, open presents together om Christmas morning, just the two of us, and then congregate around 7pm for a takeaway dinner. It was simple, fuss-free but fun and I loved every minute of it.

Its kinda surrel to think that this is my fourth Christmas in the UK now, and I’ve been lucky enough to have gotten to experience and embrace James’ family Christmas traditions during this time. We usually head over to James’ mum’s house around noon and open presents with the whole family, then take all the family dogs on a walk while James’ mum prepares a traditional Christmas dinner. After we eat with the family, we watch all the usual Christmas shows by the fire (me with a box of Quality Street firmly planted on my lap) and then stay the night at James’ family home.

While James, Poppy, Millie and I haven’t been our own little family unit for very long (well, not long enough for us to have established traditions, anyway), there are a few little moments I treasure around this time of year and while I’m not sure if they’re all going to become full-fledged traditions over time, I like to think that this is the start of something quite special.

The Christmas Train

This is a new one we’ve started this year, but I think its my favourite one yet. We bought a little toy train called The Santa Express that runs on a track round the base of our tree. The company makes a different carriage each year, and James tracked down the carriages from 2014, 2015, 2016 and now 2017. Basically, every year I’ve spent a Christmas in the UK. We look forward to adding to it as the years go by.

Poppy and Millie’s Ornaments

I may not always show it, but I’m mushy AF and our little dogs, Poppy and Millie are like my children. And like every mum utterly besotted with her babies, I collect little keepsakes from milestone moments so we have memories to look back on. In their case, I collected a pine cone each from their first ever walk when they were puppies, spruced them up with a little gold glitter, attached a string to them and hang them from our tree every single year.

Opening One Present Early

I love that we do this because it is something a lot of families tend to frown upon. “Wait for Father Christmas”, they say. Um, well, I kinda stopped believing in him twenty odd years ago, so that ship has sailed, Brenda. It is one tradition my mum and I have always done growing up back home as well, so it makes it a bit more special that we can continue it.

Buying Poppy and Millie Christmas Presents

Okay, so I’ll hold my hands up to this one. But they’re a big part of our little family and its so sweet to watch them get all excited when they get treats and toys on Christmas morning. Last year they got a couple of Christmas food dishes and a toy each, but my mum was visiting us a little before Christmas this year, and got swept up in the moment of being an indulgent grandma. She went a little overboard with the present buying for the rugrats and so far, this Christmas, the lucky pair have got a new Barbour bed, Barbour coats, about ten new toys (at least), not to mention numerous bags of treats!

Calling My Mum

I’ve never been much of a Skype / Facetime girl. Even though I’ve lived thousands of miles away from James, my mum and my friends for prolonged periods of time. I do, however, make it a point to ring my mum to wish her every Christmas and spend a few moments with her before James and his mum say hello and wish her, too. The goal is to bring her over to spend Christmas day with us one day, but since she doesn’t do too well with the cold, we’re taking baby steps for now with trips in October and November.

Snowballs

Not actual snowballs, but the dreamy cocktail James’ mum makes. I’m not entirely sure what’s in them, and I’m sure I could look up the recipe online, but part of the magic is not knowing, if that makes any sense? They’re absolutely delicious and are a treat I save especially for Christmas day and I love that she’ll make me one even if nobody else fancies one, because she knows they’re my favourite.

The Queen’s Speech

Why is she just so cute and amazing at the same time? I think I love her even more after watching The Crown. *Season 2 Spoiler Alert* – my favourite episode of the show till date is when they show how the tradition to start televising her Christmas speech every year came into being. Its so incredible to think that we still watch and listen to her words from wisdom some sixty odd years later – makes me feel like we’re part of history, in a weird way.

What are your favourite Christmas traditions? Share them with me in the comments below or via social media – I’m @MascaraEverSat on Twitter or @MascaraEverySaturday on Instagram. See you at the next #CountdownToChristmas post! xx

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