Just 2 more sleeps until Father Christmas arrives! I am Spanish and hubby is Scottish. Until now we have celebrated Christmas in a very loose manner. But now we have a baby, and we want our baby to learn both traditions. We will take our favourite things from each side and make our own way of celebrating the festive season. Our family, our Christmas traditions.
Our Scottish side of the family gets their Christmas gifts from Santa and from family members on Christmas day. Children will leave a glass of milk and cookies for Santa to eat when he visits. Stockings are hung at the end of the bed for Santa to fill them with small gifts and treats. Santa also leaves 1 gift under the tree. The rest of the gifts are from family.
Christmas dinner is served on the 25th of December in the early afternoon. It is usually roast turkey, roast potatoes, mashed turnips and all the trimmings. Yorkshire puddings, pigs in blankets and Brussels sprouts are also on the menu.
Some Scots burn a twig of the rowan tree on Christmas Day as a way to clear away bad feelings of jealousy or mistrust between family members, neighbours, or friends. Another common tradition is to put the Christmas Wish List in the chimney of a lit fireplace. Enabling the list to fly all the way to Santa to grant their wishes.
The 26th is Boxing Day and its time for cold turkey sandwiches and left overs made into stovies!
New Year’s Eve is known as Hogmany in Scotland, and one of the best is in Comrie, at the southern highlands. Felled birch trees become the flaming torches of the Comrie Flambeaux soaked in paraffin and tar. They are lit, at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, the flaming part of the torches can be as much as ten feet long. After the countdown to midnight everyone sings Auld Lang Syne. Fireworks and lots of hand shaking, hugs, booze and kisses ensue.
The first person to visit your house on New Year’s Day is know as the First Footer. This person must bear gifts for good luck.
Our Spanish side of the family has their main Christmas meal on the evening of the 24th of December. This is known as Nochebuena. On Nochebuena it is common to start with cold meats and cheeses. Prawns are also an important part of the feast. For the main course, roasted pork or lamb are popular choices.
On Christmas day the children might get a gift form Santa, but this is not our tradition. It has only become popular in he last decade due to television. Families will get together on Christmas day and have a light meal such as fish soup.
Another important tradition we have is on New Year’s Eve. In Spain it is important to wear red underwear for good luck and to eat twelve grapes at midnight with the twelve strokes of the clock. Each grape eaten represents a month of the year.
In Spain we get our gifts on the morning of the 6th of January. This day is known as Epiphany, and it is when the three Wise Men presented their gifts to baby Jesus. This is my personal favourite part of the Christmas traditions.
On the 5th of January there is a parade where the three Wise Men arrive at the city and throw candy for the children to catch. Before going to bed children leave a dram of anis for the wise men to drink and a bucket of water for the camels. They also leave their shoes out for them to be filled with sweets. On the morning of the 6th it is also tradition to eat Roscón de Reyes. This is a cake in the shape of a large ring with candied fruit on top. The cake can be filled with cream. There are also a small gift and a bean inside the cake. The person that finds the gift will be named king for the day, and whoever finds the bean has to pay for the cake!
Our Family, Our Christmas Traditions
The first thing we decided to agree on was how many gifts LC will get for Christmas and when. I read once something about the ideal number of gifts being 4: something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. We really like this idea. He will still be getting gifts from our family aswell, so we don’t want to get him too many things. Since we have 2 gifting dates LC will get 2 gifts on the 25th of December and 2 gifts on the 6th of January. He will also get his stocking filled by Santa. And we will eat Roscón de Reyes on the day of Epiphany. We have already pre-ordered our Roscón at Las Delicias, a great wee Spanish shop in Edinburgh.
This year we will skip Nochebuena because LC is only 29 weeks old and not fully weaning yet. But next year we will do a nice dinner on the 24th and a big Christmas dinner on the 25th.
For New Year / Hogmany we will celebrate eating our 12 grapes at midnight and singing Auld Lang Syne after.
There are 12 days between the Christmas day and the Epiphany (the 12 days of Christmas). We are thinking of doing some sort of advent/countdown to tie the 2 Christmas dates together. I want to watch a different Christmas movie everyday for these 12 days. My husband is not sure he will handle so much Christmas spirit… we might wait until next year to start this tradition. Maybe we can read a Christmas story instead.
Is there anything special you do with your family? We would love to hear about it in the comments below.