Hannah Butler shares her quintessentially English Christmas Day…
IN my household, Christmas Day traditionally starts early. The current record for me and my sister trooping into our parents’ room with manic grins and stockings in hands is currently 5am – completely oblivious, of course, to the fact that said parents had been forced to stay awake until well into the early hours, due to the overexcited “can’t sleep” routines we inevitably made them endure.
The early mornings are still a prominent feature of Christmas Day though, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Those first few waking minutes, in which I lie in bed, heart pounding like that giddy 8-year-old who can already see the shadow of a filled stocking in the gap of light issuing from the bedroom door… that’s Christmas for me. That feeling continues as the family crams onto our parents’ bed, bleary eyed and giggly, exchanging Merry Christmases between yawns.
Over the years, this scene has evolved: a couple of years ago, my sister and I surprised our parents by buying and filling stockings for them, an act which has stuck. Last year’s stocking routine undoubtedly beat the previous year’s hands-down though: reaching the end of the presents, as my sister pulled out the obligatory orange that was to go straight back into the fruit bowl, I shook out my stocking and complained to my parents that they’d forgotten mine. Exchanging puzzled glances, they admitted that actually, they hadn’t put oranges in either of our stockings this year. This was when, taking a closer look, we realised that what was in my sister’s hand was last year’s orange, completely fossilised after twelve months in the bottom of her wardrobe. Disgusting, of course, but it left us crying with laughter. That moment made my Christmas last year. Not just the fossilised fruit – although that was pretty impressive – but the four of us sharing a moment of utter hilarity and closeness we don’t get to experience too often any more.
Christmas is full of special moments. I know that this year, like always, I’ll go to bed exhausted but unspeakably thankful that on this special day I can surround myself with those I love and cherish
This year though, I’ll also be donating to Crisis at Christmas, reserving a place for someone less fortunate than myself to enjoy warmth, company, support and advice on 25 December. For my family, Christmas is a day to over-indulge, and enjoy each other’s company. However, projects like this offer hope and support, changing lives and proving Christmas can be special in more ways than one.
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