Whilst I know that my Little One won’t remember anything about Christmas this year – she’s only 8 months – I am excited enough for both of us. And my Other Half as well. That’s a whole lot of excitement. I just love the magic of Christmas.

As I now have a little family of my own, I really want to establish our own traditions, so here are 10.

1. Panettone.

My Other Half is Italian. I asked him about his family traditions. After a lengthy conversation, we ascertained that his family is pretty boring and other than his mother creating a very impressive Nativity Scene each year, there’s nothing really “Christmassy”. Except Panettone. He loves Panettone so this is a must.

The rest of the meal is flexible. We’ve roasted a chicken for years because my mother is excellent at murdering Turkeys and making them drier than the Sahara. I might experiment with dishes, but otherwise, I’ll fall back on a roast. And panettone alongside my amazing Christmas Pudding that you do in the microwave. (it’s seriously good. If anyone wants the recipe, let me know)

2. Santa’s Grotto

The traditional photo of her, hopefully not crying, sitting on Santa’s knee! We ran into a Father Christmas outside an exhibition today. She smiled broadly, until a kind passer-by asked if I wanted to be in the photo. Whereupon my darling daughter promptly burst into floods of tears as I held her..charming!


3. Make marzipan & mince pies

Mince pies is something I remember making with my grandmother when I was a little girl. The warm, cosy kitchen with the smell of baking. Our cassette tape of Christmas carols. Icing sugar that seemed to get dusted everywhere. Yum yum yum.

My father loves marzipan and is monumentally difficult to buy for. So we’ll make him marzipan animals. For this year, I’ll just have to make them in the shape of her hands.


4. Advent calendar

The countdown that seemed to take f.o.r.e.v.e.r.


5. Save a present

My mother always made us save presents for dinner and Boxing Day to stretch out the excitement and have more to look forward to.


6. Handprint baubles

How many of you have tried to pry open your 7-month old’s hand, paint it, then reopen it in order to wrap it around a bauble?

Well, it’s very difficult! Hopefully future years will be easier. This year’s look like those Ink Blot Tests that they do for psychological evaluation. Maybe we can interpret the mess as an after-dinner activity?


7. Fancy dress

My family aren’t particularly religious. Our Christmases are about family and fun. Being together, raucous, laughing and being a little bit crazy. We almost make Christmas jumpers look sedate. My mother-in-law will be receiving some LED-flashing reindeer earrings this year. I thought we’d start her off small..

My Little One is going as a kangaroo which I know isn’t particularly festive, but she is the most gorgeous joey you’ve ever seen, so we’ll save the Elf outfit for future years. I’ll tell the in-laws that kangaroos, not reindeer, pull the sleigh in my Motherland


8. Letter to father Christmas
I look forward to hear writing to Father Christmas and then sneaking shavings from sparklers into the envelope when she’s not looking. Taking her into the garden and letting Daddy set the letter alight so we can send it via the Elves to the North Pole. If it’s been received, it will magically sparkle!

9. Reindeer dust  & nibbles for father Christmas

In Australia, we used to leave out a vegemite sandwich and milk for Father Christmas and a carrot for Rudolph.

I’ve seen they now sell packets of reindeer dust, although I heard about this years ago; oats mixed with edible glitter to be sprinkled across the garden. The reindeer will see it shining at night so they can find us, and they can munch on the oats whilst Santa is inside. (This puts my carrots to shame!)

As always there will be nothing left but a few crumbs and perhaps a footprint or two.


10. Homemade gifts

I sometimes think the random presents I give people are more for me than them. I love thinking about someone and what they would like and enjoy. And then getting to work.

As I write this, I have some rocks on the kitchen table, covered with cling film and drying papier-mâché. I’m attempting to build Chamonix at the peak of Ski Season.. wish me luck!