- each of us picking out a new decoration for our tree and Thomas picking one for his Dad's and one for my Mum's. This is a tradition that dates from my childhood and my parents tree (before they lost everything in the fire) was heavy with memories from childhood, early 20s travel and friends and relatives who visited for one Christmas or another as each trip or visit involved the adding of decorations to the tree. This year he picked up one for his brother and our tree is starting to look nice and full - I am looking forward to being an old lady and enjoying all those memories again. I will have a very strong memory from this year of Al rolling over and over from his spot in the middle of the room so he is lying under the decorated tree watching with huge eyes the lights and reaching up with all his might to grab a unreachable glowing star or twinkly ball.
- stirring the pudding mixture and making a wish. This comes from my Dad's side of the family and Thomas has been involved every year in a pudding stirring. Some years when we won't see my folks around Christmas my Mum makes a pudding in November, this year she is saving one for the 21/12 when we will be there so he (and we) can have our annual wish. The last two years Gaye and I have wished for a baby and then his healthy arrival. Until a week or so ago I felt like I wouldn't know what to wish for this year - but now I shall wish for their ongoing health and happiness.
- visiting Santa (includes photo - thou Thomas did in fact refuse to have his photo with that strangely dressed big man from aged 3 - 5 so there are a couple of years missing) and writing his note and leaving out some of my birthday cake for him at night
- decorating the tree - which has been brought back to the first week in December as that is Gaye's tradition - which also must involve the playing of Christmas music (that's me) and now the decorating of the house (this is all Gaye and Thomas - who each respectfully love the 'tack' and 'beauty' of the Christmas lights)
- buying a present to go under the wishing tree for a child whose parents can't give them Christmas
- the making of a Christmas decoration - this year we are making chains of cardboard into reindeer's and Santa's. Complicated but good fun.
- a picnic one night some where where there is carols by candlelight - some years we do the big thing in town - some years the local park or church
We have also promised Thomas this year a drive in the middle of the night to look at houses where people 'go crazy' with their lights. We will also walk our neighbour hood on Christmas Eve - but it doesn't seem like our (slightly more inner city and groovy) neighbours are as enthusiastic as our old neighbourhood was.
Thomas has an advent calendar of course - it is day 11 today and he is sure it is going to take FOREVER to get to day 25!