Merry Christmas! Let me tell you about my first Christmas in the UK in 10 years and share with you what I got. I do want to stress that I am not bragging in anyway and Christmas for me really is about spending time with family and celebrating kindness and giving, even though I am non-religious. I am only sharing my traditions and what I got because I find it interesting to see what other people do and receive. All books here will be in my December book haul, so if you don’t want to read this, but want to see what books I got, you can still do so.
I had the worst nights sleep: star wars and Christmas dreams mixed into one isn’t particularly restful. I was so happy when 6.45 rolled around and I no longer felt bad about waking everybody else up. We do stockings in my parent’s bed, although it is a bit of a squeeze. We take it in turns to take one present out at a time, starting with my sister, then me, then my mum and then my dad in order of age (as per family tradition).
The first thing, of course, is chocolate. Chocolate is basically the #1 staple of stockings in my family. I got a little chocolate penguin to match my penguin pyjamas, two Lindt bunnies and five gold coins (traditionally Christmas-y). I also got a gingerbread reindeer. I’m very impressed with myself; as of writing this, it is 13:21 and in the 7 hours since we did stockings I have eaten one bunny because the foil was peeling off and 2 chocolate coins. With my chocolate addiction, that’s really good!
I also received some coasters with cats on, with four different moods: happiness, fear, curiosity and sadness. Little captions underneath them read ‘I’ve eaten recently’, ‘Will there be more food?’, ‘Where is the food?’ and ‘I want more food’ respectively. They’re adorable and absolutely perfect.
I got a stripey umbrella (which is great because mine broke) and a pair of gloves where the fingers allow you to use your phone with your index finger. I got a little box of trivia questions and answers, a pencil with a small metal Christmas tree on the top and a little booklet with a variety of sticky notes– some with words like ‘yay’ and others in the shape of speech bubbles.
After stockings, we go downstairs (my mum goes first) and sing a traditional Advent song from Germany although technically Advent is over. Then it’s time to open presents. In the spirit of giving to others, we each take it in turns to pick a present from under the tree- any present we like, as long as it is not for us. We do it in the same order as we did stockings; this has been carried down from my mum’s family and I really enjoy the tradition. About halfway through the presents we also have breakfast. This year, we had a rum truffle that my mum made specially for my dad and a pain au chocolat.
Starting with presents from people not in the family, my mum’s childhood au pair who we have occasionally visited, Ursula (pronounced uza-la) sent me this beautiful mirror with a girl playing a flute; something that is especially sweet, as both she and I play the flute.
My mum’s friend from University, Kate, and her family gave me a £15 Amazon giftcard, which I will be redeeming after my birthday so that I don’t buy anything that has already been gifted to me.
My cousins got me a really pretty watch with a navy blue band and a nice, floral perfume, which is very strong, but gorgeous when used sparingly.
My paternal, Scottish grandparents bought me the Staedtler ergosoft colouring pencils and Crystal Storm by Morgan Rhodes, the 5th and newest book in the Falling Kingdoms series, both of which kind of link to presents I got from my immediate family. They also bought me the Alice Through the Looking Glass Blu-ray Disc, which is great as I never got to see it in cinema.
My entire immediate family (my mum, dad and sister) got me quite a few presents together. They got me a beautiful caged-kite necklace (right hand picture, but it’s slightly hard to see and a lot of books: The Secrets of a Fire King by Kim Edwards, The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards, A Book of Spirits and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes, Aerie by Maria Dahvana Headley and Fantastic Beats and Where to Find Them: The Screenplay by J. K. Rowling. They also bought me the Throne of Glass colouring book, which I have already started colouring in.
My dad specifically bought me Spindle by E. K. Johnston, which is every piece as stunning as its prequel, A Thousand Nights.
My sister got me this pair of gorgeous, rose-gold plated earrings. Or rather, as my sister is 12, my mum got them and asked Lauren (my sister) whether or not she wanted to give them to me and my sister agreed.
My mum bought me Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Top Trumps cards, which I love; they’re excellent to play when the family is over. She also bought the family The Jungle Book Blu-Ray Disc, but as my sister and dad have already seen it and it was on my wish-list, I get to keep it. We should be watching it together as a family tomorrow.
After the morning’s Christmas presents, we sort of disappear a bit; my mum did some cooking, I took some photos and lay in bed, my sister played with her new toys and my dad took a nap. Then, around 2 ‘o’ clock we headed off to my aunt’s house (maternal side) for Christmas lunch/dinner and more presents. We started with the presents when we got there.
My maternal grandparents bought me earmuffs, which I won’t wear here in England, but might do the next time we go on a ski trip or a trip to some other very cold destination; I have quite a lot of hair, so it’s not really necessary in the moderate temperature of Cambridgeshire winter. They also bought me The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater, Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix and Half Wild by Sally Green.
My aunt and uncle always give us lots of incredible, amazing presents and I must say they are always amazing. They also hosted us today, so I am so incredibly grateful for everything they gave me and to my aunt for cooking a fabulous meal and for my uncle for washing all the dishes (it’s kind of weird for me to refer to them as ‘aunt’ and ‘uncle’ because I never call them that).
Firstly, they bought me this massive, loose-turtle-neck cream jumper of the kind I absolutely live in. I have similar styles in purple and deep blue-green, so this is a wonderful addition to my collection! They also bought me Thornton’s Dark Chocolate covered ginger, which they know I absolutely love. They got me two mason jar type glasses, which is wonderful because mine broke earlier this year and I absolutely love drinking water out of them when I am at home.
As you can see in the second picture, they also bought me a whiteboard as well as magnets, pens and a whiteboard rubber to go with it. I mentioned to my parents months ago that I really wanted one to plan things on and then I didn’t mention it again or even put it on my wishlist, but my mum must have talked to my aunt about it and I couldn’t be happier with it!
Finally, I got some more Harry Potter things: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: The Illustrated Edition by J. K. Rowling (illustrated by Jim Kay) and the World of Harry Potter 1000 piece Hogwarts Puzzle, which I am super excited to do with my mum!
Merry Christmas! I hope you had a wonderful day, whether you celebrate or not! Do you have any traditions that you love on Christmas Day or for whatever celebration you partake in? Happy reading, Keira x.