I think each family has a unique Christmas but made all the more special in the knowledge that something similar is happening in other homes all across the world.
Here are some of our family traditions - how similar are they to your own?
G8 opens her advent calendar from the 1st December - little wooden symbols to hang on a Christmas scene. Now the dog has to have one too (for heaven's sake!) although hers is of the chocolate variety.
The three of us; J, G8 and me go to choose the Christmas tree for our house - it takes a bit of ooing and ahhing and how big is thating before we can all agree on the best one. Once home the smell is gorgeous and fills the room. G8 and I decorate, we're as happy as Larry and it can take hours of faffing. We have a fairy on top.
In Christmas week we go to Church, which in our case is at the bottom of the garden. This year G8 is in the play with the Llysyfran Mummers and there are refreshments, including warm punch afterwards. There are also games and a Welsh concert party by ALAW. Bendigedig! Donations are going to Shelter Cymru's Christmas Appeal this year.
Christmas Eve we prepare a (rather large) shot of whisky & a mince pie or two for Santa and a carrot for Rudolph. Then we all have to work out which chimney he is going to come down - each year since moving we've had the same discussion. I assure G8 it won't be the Rayburn as he'll burn his bum, likewise the wood burner. Instead it'll be the one we don't use in the dining area. Here we then very carefully lay out all the wares ready for Santa's night time visit.
A newer, more technological tradition for our nuclear family has been tracking Santa using http://www.noradsanta.org/ Great fun - there are also lots of Christmas games for all who are young at heart, try it!
Finally, it feels, we pack G8 off to bed - relief. To wind her down beforehand we read Christmas stories in front of the wood burner with oodles of hot chocolate for all.
Once G8 has given in to sleep we spend our time scurrying around, drinking whisky, eating mince pies and Topsy Dog helps with the carrot now. It's hard, but someone has to do it.
We pack G8's stocking up with little goodies, including a small orange. We believe this represents the gold that Father Christmas first dropped when coming down the chimney and which had been luckily caught in a stocking instead of being lost in the grate. Did you also know that green was the traditional colour for the British Father Christmas (remember in A Christmas Carol the Spirit of Christmas Present?) It was Coca Cola ads that ''popularised'' red as the color of Santa's suit in 1931. I learnt that last week in Chapel (our neighbours had invited us to a family service. It was really lovely and we met Santa, although not the "real thing" of course - he only comes Christmas Eve).
First thing Christmas morning G8 bounds in to our bedroom, we've tried to get her to look at her clock and not to jump on the bed before 4am! This year we've installed a fibre optic tree in her bedroom, which lights up at exactly 7am, do we have any hope that she'll wait for this before leaping on us? My guess is nope, not a chance!
G8 opens her Christmas stocking in a frenzy on our bed... this is my favourite part of the day really... it's so cosy and it's a joy to watch her face.
We have always trooped over to Him and Her Next Door for the big event - nowadays we don't have to get wet and de-ice the car, we can just walk down the back corridor and there we are! Santa has usually been extra busy here. We start with a Bucks Fizz, yum and G8 is the elf for the day reading the labels and handing out the presents. We have always done one gift at a time - as part of the joy for all of us is the giving, seeing what others get and watching faces light up (or drop on occasion!) It takes longer but I think it's important for G8 to realise that giving is just as lovely as getting.
Of course we then eat way too much, drink a little more and collapse in a heap of exhaustion at the end of the day. But for the magic of Christmas for the children (of all ages) it really is worth it.