Christmas Traditions - Santa, Stockings and Presents

Everyone has a Christmas traditions story to tell and I love hearing how they differ between families and yet are still all so similar,  always full of memories.

Santa or Father Christmas? 
Growing up he was only ever Father Christmas to me but somewhere over the years he became Santa!  I don't know if it's anything to do with the fact we live in Cyprus- what do people say in the UK these days?   I don't know if it was me that started saying Santa to the boys or if I got it from them, but they never say Father Christmas.   The children at school would either say Agios Vasilis or Santa so they were quite confused the first time someone asked them about Father Christmas.

Christmas Eve Traditions
What did you do on Christmas Eve?   Were you a church family going to Christingle or Midnight Mass,   or did you stay home and drive your Mum crazy as you were so impatient for the big day?
We sometimes went to the Christingle service at our local church, but apart from that we had no real traditions that we followed.    I remember enjoying the Christmas TV specials and putting out all the sweets and treats for the next day. 

And of course putting out the whisky and mince pie before going to bed.  No milk and cookies in this house!

We have a 'Snuggle sack' that I give the boys every Christmas Eve early evening.   It's a well loved tradition and the boys are always so excited about it.   I've been doing it since 2011 now,  before everyone got personalised Christmas Eve boxes and the like.     Ours is a simple Christmas bag which everything goes in, and is usually new pyjamas and snacks and treats to enjoy in front of a film.   I love how something so simple is so loved!

Presents by the tree or in the stocking?
I always had a pillowcase to leave at the end of my bed, and all of my presents would go inside it.  Mum would never put any of my presents under the tree before Christmas day.  One year I think I asked why everyone else (Grandparents etc)  got a present from Mum and Dad and I didn't get one, I had several presents but mine were all from Father Christmas.    I can't remember what the answer was but I know in all the years after I always got presents (maybe less than in previous years!)  from Father Christmas and something from Mum and Dad.

Aaron used to hang one of his Dad's socks at the end of his bed (along with his brother and sister they all had to choose a pair each and hang one up)   in that they would be left little treats,  and would find the larger presents downstairs by the tree.

Nowadays Santa fills the boys stockings with a couple of small gifts and sweets and leaves them a present each by the tree.

Present Opening
As a child I was allowed to open one present when I first woke up, and the rest once Mum and Dad were up.  I remember spending ages looking at them all and debating which one to choose to open, trying to choose the one that would be the best to play with and that didn't need assistance with or make too much noise!

One year I think I told the boys they could open their stockings before we got up, thinking it may be some ridiculous hour but it wasn't and as soon as I heard them I jumped out of bed anyway.    As I wake up early generally I always get up and so we are all up and ready for presents around 8 ish which is a perfectly acceptable time for me.

I know some people wait until after lunch to open presents,  or stagger them throughout the day - I love the staggering idea but we don't have that many to stagger so that has never worked for us!   

We do have a 2nd round however when my parents come up mid morning which is lovely.

I'd love to hear your families Christmas traditions, are they similar to ours?      Let us know in the comments....


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