So, if you're like me and like to know how other people celebrate over the festive period, here is a run down of a typical Kirsch family Christmas.
Before having children all my decorations were kinda-classy, all glass and gold and natural looking garlands. However, when Lily was a year old I traded them in for colour and sparkles and now the best I can hope for is 'eclectic'. But they're fun and I tell myself that an explosion of colour and enough glitter to fill a unicorn is more magical for the kids...
During Advent we have a few 'must do' activities on our list. We visit Santa in one form or another, we attend carol services, walk or drive to stare at other people's Christmas lights and make tons of biscuits. These aren't in any particular order but I do try and make sure we fit all of them in before the big day. There are also loads of parties and Christmassy fayres to visit and attend, and of course, the nursery Christmas performance.
This year, we discovered some new Christmas lights nearby in Marlow Bottom. These ones are synced with music and they had a big display which encouraged children to run around. It's magical and Lily declared it to be 'the best day ever' which brought a tear to my eye (I cry at everything).
We then count down towards Christmas day by forgetting to open the drawers and eat the chocolate...
I always try and keep Christmas Eve as relaxed as possible, but it doesn't always work out like that! We like to attend the 'Ultimate Christmas Party' at our church, grab a takeaway (usually fish and chips) for dinner and then settle in at home to perhaps open a present and watch some festive cartoons before heading off to bed. When he visits, Santa is happy to eat mince pies, cookies or the odd jaffa cake and we're hoping that this year the reindeer enjoy some special food instead of their usual carrot. Santa likes to drink milk, it helps him avoid a hangover after all the alcohol he gets from people with a stocked bar in their living room.
Being woken at 6:00am on Christmas Day is no different from any other day of the year. Except that on Christmas Day we snuggle back in Mummy and Daddy's bed to open our stockings. Everyone get's one, filled with 'proper' stocking fillers (ie. they're tiny and cheap) and at least one present will accidentally get thrown away with the wrapping paper.
Then it's time to head downstairs and open the presents from Santa! There is usually a main present or two, then a selection of others. I like to spread out the present opening which is different to Matt's side of the family - with German heritage, presents are usually all opened on Christmas Eve!
After a light breakfast of toast, cereal, pannetone or pastries we head out to church to properly celebrate the most amazing Christmas gift. I always use to love going to Midnight services but that doesn't work out well with the children being so small. I was worried about Christmas Day services being less magical but actually they are so filled with joy I wouldn't want to miss it at all!
For us, it's usually a relaxed affair. If we happen to have guests then I'll put loads more effort in, but for just us, it's all about lots of yummy food and lots of fun. We're always too stuffed for pudding and so that tends to be eaten after present opening round three: gifts from family and friends.
In my family, present opening was a crazy, fun, free for all but we've adopted Matt's family tradition of each person choosing a gift from under the tree for someone else. I love watching the joy apparent with each and every gift and it takes a lot longer than ten minutes of screaming and flying paper.
After all the presents, food and cleaning away we just relax. I'm a bit lost at what we'll watch on the TV this year - with no Downton Abbey and Matt going off Eastenders, my usual Christmas viewing will feel very different! To be fair though, I'll probably be asleep on the sofa by 10pm...
In an ideal world, I'd love to host a big party for family and friends on Boxing Day (like the sort of parties you see on M&S adverts) but it would be logistically impossible to include everybody and so we tend to visit others. This year is looking quiet so I'm planning a lovely walk in the woods before heading home for leftovers and more alcohol!
How do you celebrate Christmas? Is there any part you couldn't do without?
If you fancy doing Advent like us (I can't see why, but you know) then you can check out our Advent Activity checklist! How many have you ticked off this year?