Festive Fun – English Style – Quick Five!

IMG_1839Yes, it’s ‘the most wonderful time of the year’! Only two more sleeps! (Assuming you can sleep on Christmas Eve!)

I know it’s fashionable to be all ‘bah humbug’ about Christmas (or Hannukah/Festivus/Kwanzaa etc), but I really do love this holiday season. From the twinkling lights, the decorated tree and house, the festive food, the cheesy, schmaltzy films to the presents, celebrations and traditions. Speaking of traditions, I thought it would be fun to share with you some our English Christmas traditions.

Because we don’t have Thanksgiving over here in England, the period between Christmas and New Year is extra-special for us. It’s a time when most people try to have a few days off, so they can do the rounds of the family and also chill out!

Also related to not having Thanksgiving, we don’t decorate until the 1st of December at the earliest. And we’re very strict about decorations having to be down by midnight on twelfth night (Jan 5th) – it’s believed to be unlucky. Unfortunately, as we’re away at a new year wedding, we’ll have to take them down on the 6th this year. Hopefully, if it’s still the 5th somewhere in the world, we’ll be okay!

DSC_2272We’re very traditional about our food too. Yes, some people do actually make a point of having goose or try to be different with turducken or beef, but most of us stick with turkey. It’s always served with sage and onion stuffing, bread sauce, brussel sprouts, roasted parsnips and roasted potatoes. Often, there will be added accompaniments like pigs in blankets (little sausages wrapped in bacon) or a chestnut dish and even Yorkshire Pudding. In recent years cranberry sauce has made an appearance on many tables. Most families also have their own traditional extra dish. In our family, it’s cream cheese stuffed mushrooms.

Another one of our traditions is Christmas crackers. We all pull crackers, wear the silly paper hats, share the terrible little jokes  and laugh at the usually useless prize inside. (That’s me pulling a cracker with Doc Cambridge’s dad!)

DSC_0077 - CopyAfter lunch, or as dessert if you have room, there is the flaming Christmas pudding (often with a sixpence or silver treat inside – the person who finds it is very lucky!), Christmas cake and/or mince pies with brandy butter or cream. I’m not one for Christmas pudding, but I love Christmas cake and mince pies. My favourite dessrt, though, is trifle!

In the past, everyone listened to or watched the annual Queen’s Speech. Even those Brits around the world and people in Commonwealth countries would tune in to the BBC World Service, to hear what she had to say. These days, with social media, the internet and everyone needing to have a scoop, the text is available in advance. Also in the past, because we had very few channels, and no videos or DVDs, there would be a battle between the two major stations (BBC and ITV) for the big Christmas blockbuster movie premiere – which was usually at least a year old! These days, everything gets to TV so quickly and there are so many other options available, that the Christmas line-up, while still featuring a movie premier, concentrates more on Christmas specials of favourite shows like Call the Midwife and Downton Abbey, and the evening soaps.

A Perfect CatchMany families also avoid the TV and play board or card games! I find it’s the perfect time to sit down and read a book, uninterrupted except for someone handing you a mince pie or a drink!

And then there is Boxing Day – but those of you who have been with us in the Lair, know all about that! One of my old Boxing Day posts – which includes my famous Boxing Day Soup is here.

So, without further ado, it’s time for you to share your holiday traditions in the special festive edition of Quick Five! As part of the annual 12 Bandita Days of Christmas, not one, but two lucky commenters will win a signed copy of A Perfect Catch – and receive it before it’s released on Feb 1! If you’ve also signed up for my newsletter, you can receive a bonus exclusive Anna Sugden keyring (let me know in your comment).

1. Let’s talk lights – coloured or white, twinkling or static, just on the tree or elsewhere too?

2. Christmas lunch – what do you have and what’s your family’s traditional extra?

3. Christmas dessert or sweet treats – what’s your favourite?

4. Traditional Christmas activity – watch TV, play games or something else?

5. Do you open presents on Christmas Eve, in the morning or in the afternoon? Are you a rip into them all at once, or savour each one carefully? Does everyone open all at once or do you take turns?

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  • Franca Poli says:

    1 Colored lights sparkling throughout the house
    2 Lunch with a traditional menu in the family
    3 typical sweet Christmas (panettone in Italy)
    4 Go to cinema after lunch
    5 open gifts on Christmas Eve, I open them one at a time and savor the surprise.

  • Jane says:

    Hello Anna,
    Merry Christmas.
    1. Static colored lights on the tree and elsewhere like the windows.
    2. It’s usually turkey or ham.
    3. We always have a non traditional dessert along with the pumpkin pie. My favorites so far was the lava cake and cheese cake with Oreo cookie crust.
    4. Watching sports(usually an NBA game) or the yule log.
    5. I like to open presents at midnight, but it all depends on whose house we’re at.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Merry Christmas, Jane! Hope 2015 is a great year for us both, hockey-wise! Though I suspect that might stretch even Santa’s powers for my Devils! LOL

      Boxing Day is the big sporting day for us – we will be at Man Utd on the 26th, hopefully watching our boys beat Newcastle!

  • Mary Preston says:

    1. We actually don’t have any Christmas lights. I’m always afraid of a fire. (A not so fond childhood memory of the Christmas tree ablaze.)

    2. It’s summer here, so it’s all cold salads & fruit & ice-cream. Dried figs are a must. A family tradition that goes way back. Goodness only knows why, but they are delicious.

    3. My mother makes a Port Wine Trifle that is to die for.

    4. If people are not napping – I blame the Port Wine Trifle – then they are pretending not to nap watching a DVD.

    5. We open one gift on Christmas Eve. The other gifts we open after church in the morning. We take turns. A cup of tea is in order because it takes a fabulously long time. Love it.


    • Anna Sugden says:

      Merry Christmas, Mary!

      Oh no! I think those of us of a certain age all remember some kind of accident with Christmas lights. Thankfully, for our family, no flaming trees!

      Oooh port wine trifle sounds yummy! Doc Cambridge makes ours with bourbon instead of sherry and it’s delish! Perhaps I’ll see if he can try a port one – though getting him to give up some of his port might be tough!

  • Amy Conley says:

    1. Lights everywhere, please.
    2. The last few years we’ve had ham on Christmas, although I am not a fan, I’m not paying for it or cookinv it, so…..
    3.Pie for dessert.
    4. We used to go to the movies Christmas afternoon/night.
    5.1 gift Christmas Eve, everything else Christmas day.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Merry Christmas, Amy. Hope 2015 will be filled with joy for you after the sadness of the past year or so.

      I know the feeling about the ham – one year we went somewhere and the stuffing was prune stuffing and the side was (over) boiled red cabbage. Ick. They also served duck and overcooked roasties. Not a great meal! Luckily the wine was excellent! 😉

  • Helen says:

    Hi Anna

    I too enjoy Christmas especially with the grandkids

    1. Coloured on the tree flashing
    2. Roast pork ham chicken turkey roast vegies including potato pumpkin onion and carrotts and we must have peas and cauliflower with gravy
    3. We have Christmas pudding with custard or cream peaches with custard (something my Dad started) mince pies and sometimes if I am energetic trifle
    4.watch TV and play with the new toys
    5.Christmas morning and we try to take it in turns but that can be a bit hard with lots of little excited kids 🙂

    And yes I am signed up for your newsletter
    Have a great Chrissy

    Have Fun

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Merry Christmas, Helen! Please pass on the greeting to Barbara too!

      Ah yes, I can imagine Chrissy with the grandkids is somewhat energetic! Our grandson is 15 months and is just starting to enjoy all the lights. Next year, I imagine presents will be very exciting for him!

  • Shannon says:

    1. White for the tree; colored for windows and around the mirrors. I’d like the new lights with twinkling instead of blinking.

    2. No lunch. Just breakfast, forbidden snacking, and the meal at 2 or 3.

    3. It varied every year, sometimes a chocolate cake, pecan pie, or just cookies.

    4. If there was snow, a snowmobile ride and a bonfire in the woods. What can I say? My Dad was a firebug.

    5. Extended family gifts on Christmas Eve and family/Santa presents on Christmas Day. Rip into them, partly to frustrate that careful folding up of used paper. There’s some taking turns but it’s usually in rounds, all the kids get one round, then the adults get a round. The squeals covered the sigh over a set of underwear. We were poor enough that necessities came at Christmas.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Merry Christmas, Shannon! You sound like us – lots and lots of lights!

      We’re not supposed to have breakfast either, but Doc Cambridge’s tradition with his kids was to have Gala pie – so he still does that.

      I remember the necessities at Christmas too. I wonder if I could count shoes as a necessity 😉

  • Laurie G says:

    Happy Holidays! Anna

    1) The colored lights on the tree non-blinking. I also have a couple of similar strands around the house.

    2) We don’t have a lunch . We have a nice breakfast with eggs , fruit and coffee cake. People then come over a round 1 PM. We have appetizers and snacks which we munch on while we play card and board games or talk.

    3)Dessert is apple pie and Christmas cookies. I make Spritz cookies. I love their buttery melt in your mouth deliciousness.

    4) We play Sheepshead and other card games like Up & Down the River, Golf, and Texas Hold’em. We also play Salad Bowl. every player writes down 4 nouns and places them in the salad bowl. You have a partner and each word is drawn out of the salad bowl and you have to guess it in 3 different ways. A guessing game with partners that involves a Password like round with descriptive words, a Charades type round with actions and a round with only a descriptive sound to guess the words. Once the word is guessed in each timed round it is removed from the salad bowl. You tally the scores each round. The winning team has the highest score.

    5) We open our presents on Christmas morning once everyone wakes up. It’s so much fun to see the beauty of the tree Christmas morning with all the gifts on display that Santa brought overnight.

    • Laurie G says:

      We open the gifts one at a time starting with the youngest and we continue with that pattern until all the presents have been opened.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Happy holidays, Laurie!

      What fun traditions you have. I like the sound of all your games. Years ago we used to have a fun board game that was like Charades – each year everyone was desperate to get the card that said ‘hill-walking with Dolly Parton’! LOL

  • sandyg265 says:

    We don’t celebrate Christmas so our tradition for Christmas Day is going out for Chinese food.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Happy holidays, Sandyg!

      Several of our NJ friends went out for Chinese food on Christmas Day – there was always an amazing buffet on offer. We could never give up our traditional lunch, but we were tempted several times!

  • Lucy says:

    Hello Anna,

    Merry Christmas from the Land Down Under!!!

    1. I love White lights. My tree is decorated with red and gold decorations so the white works well 🙂

    2. We start with seafood first followed by roast with all of the trimmings. I do sneak in Turkey and Camembert vol a vents with cranberry sauce for breakfast though 😉

    3. Usually Christmas pudding but sometimes I make a Pavlova (Aussie desert) with strawberries and cream

    4. Usually we try and have an afternoon nap or read a book, but my Dad has just rung to say that he is bringing apricots from his apricot tree and we are going to make apricot jam on Christmas Day this year!!!

    5. We open everything Christmas morning but we have to take it in turns opening each present one by one in rounds starting with the youngest going through to the oldest. It takes ages, particularly for the children as they get more presents somehow and they have extra rounds!

    Have a wonderful Christmas Anna – can’t wait for A Perfect Catch to come out and yes, I am signed up for your newsletter 🙂

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Merry Christmas, Lucy! Thank you so much for your kind words about A Perfect Catch – not long now!

      Oh I love the sound of your turkey and camembert vol-au-vents! Could you share your recipe? They soudn the perfect accompaniment to Boxing Day soup!

      We love pavlova – we’re having it on Christmas Eve, for my nephew’s birthday. Scrummy!

      Sounds like you’re going to have a fun Christmas, making jam with your Dad’s apricots – how nice!

      • Lucy says:

        Smoked Turkey Vol – A – Vonts (however you spell them!)

        2 x 75g packet vol a vonts
        125 -150g smoked turkey, diced
        125 -150g Camembert cheese, chopped
        150-200mls sour cream
        chopped chives to taste
        cracked pepper to taste – optional
        Cranberry sauce or jelly

        Combine turkey, camembert, sour cream, chives. Fill vol a vonts. Bake 10 to 15 mins at 180 degrees Celcius (hope that translates okay)
        Top with Cranberry sauce and enjoy.

        It is very easy and quick to make – that is why it is great Christmas morning or for you Anna on Boxing Day!!!

  • Mozette says:

    1. Let’s talk lights – coloured or white, twinkling or static, just on the tree or elsewhere too?

    I have colour lights and clear lights both on the tree. I have been looking into lights being outside on my jades – but with the cyclone season on us, it’s just not safe – even with solar ones. Plus with the kids around my unit complex, they’re likely to just rip them off my tall, 6 1/2 ft jade and snap the poor thing in half (and I’d not be happy with that). So, it’s streamers all day and the sun on them is just pretty.

    2. Christmas lunch – what do you have and what’s your family’s traditional extra?

    We have a Christmas Dinner… on Christmas Eve. It’s better and easier for everyone. We all bring a specialty dish and dive in… fun for all! Then the next day, we go out to a family member’s home for lunch and slip into a food coma for a few hours. What happens after that? Well, some of us stay home… some of us go to the coast and some of us stay sleeping.

    3. Christmas dessert or sweet treats – what’s your favourite?

    It depends. If we can fit in something sweet, great… fruit and cream with ice cream. Otherwise, coffee and some Christmas Cake or chocolate and that’s it.

    4. Traditional Christmas activity – watch TV, play games or something else?

    We listen to music. It’s better than tv and none of us get hypnotised with it. Then, we all sit around and chat. 😀

    5. Do you open presents on Christmas Eve, in the morning or in the afternoon? Are you a rip into them all at once, or savour each one carefully? Does everyone open all at once or do you take turns?

    We open our gifts on Christmas Eve. One of us plays Santa with a splangly hat on and then ‘Santa’ gets to open their gifts last. It’s fun! 😀

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Merry Christmas, Mozette!

      Sounds like you all have a fun time! I like the sound of it being a pot luck with everyone bringing their specialty! I know what you mean about fitting dessert in! We usually have dessert in the evening, when a little space appears after the big, big lunch!

  • Deb says:

    Hi, Anna! Love your Quick 5s!

    1. I love colored lights, but our pre-lit tree has an off-white, and they are actually pretty. We have twinkling snowflake lights up in our picture window and colored lights on the porch railing.

    2. My family chooses a different country each year and we have a Christmas feast traditional for that country. We’ve done England and loved it. This year is Sweden. I posted on Caren’s blog yesterday about my husband’s family’s traditional Christmas Eve lunch.

    3. I really like mince pie, but haven’t had it in awhile. Of course, there is always fudge made for this time of year.

    4. After dinner, we watch the kids under 18 open gifts. Then we just sit and talk. Very nice to do so!

    5. Our kids open their gifts on Christmas Eve since they all come here for lunch. However, even at age 14, my daughter will have Santa gifts on Christmas morning. I still wrap Santa gifts in different paper than the Mom and Dad gifts. My mother did this until I was well into my 20s, so a tradition, I guess.

    Merry Christmas to you and Doc C. and your family!

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Merry Christmas to you and your family, Deb! Aww thank you. It’s nice to know you enjoy them!

      What a fun idea to celebrate the traditions of different countries! Your daughter must enjoy all the different ideas and foods.

      How sweet that you wrap the presents in different paper. We wrap our grandson’s presents from his Great Grandad in different paper from ours, even though we buy the gifts.

  • Debbie Oxier says:

    I love Christmas lights whether colored or white although not a big fan of the blinking ones. Christmas lunch is whatever we can find. Because of everyone’s work schedule, we vary on when we open gifts, but always have either a huge breakfast spread or a traditional dinner with turkey and ham. For dessert it depends on what the person/persons baking feels like making. Might be pie, or cake, or pudding, or a variety. We open gifts whenever we can get together, Christmas Eve, Christmas day, the day after.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Merry Christmas, Debbie!

      How cool that you’re all so flexible about your celebration and your food! That certainly takes all the stress out of the day/season!

      How funny – I’m the opposite to you on the lights – I must have twinkling lights!

  • 1. Let’s talk lights – coloured or white, twinkling or static, just on the tree or elsewhere too? Multi colored static here, Anna. It’s part of the fun.

    2. Christmas lunch – what do you have and what’s your family’s traditional extra? We do a dinner and it’s grilled flank steak, grilled salmon, shrimp cocktail, spinach and strawberry salad, stuffed mushrooms twice baked potatoes (although this year I’m doing potato gratin).

    3. Christmas dessert or sweet treats – what’s your favourite? We usually just have Christmas cookies. In fact, today, 3 of my helpers are popping in to help make them.

    4. Traditional Christmas activity – watch TV, play games or something else? We usually open presents after dinner, which with this crowd takes a while. And after everyone goes home, the Jazzman and I turn off the lights except for the tree and just enjoy the peace and quiet!

    5. Do you open presents on Christmas Eve, in the morning or in the afternoon? Are you a rip into them all at once, or savour each one carefully? Does everyone open all at once or do you take turns?

    We try taking turns so we can all see what each one got and from whom…but with a house full of little people these days, it’s more like semi-organized chaos!

    • OH, one other tradition after dinner. If we can talk Lyndsey into doing it, she sings O, Holy Night…because it’s a treat for me! 🙂

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Merry Christmas to you and the brood, Suz!

      Your Christmas dinner sounds delish – unsurprisingly! Aww on your Christmas helpers coming over to make cookies – can’t wait to do that with our grandson!

      I know what you mean – we do the same thing, even though we often only have one guest. The peace and the lights are so lovely!

  • Minna says:

    1. Static lights. White lights on the tree(s) (inside and outside), coloured ones on a window and coloured LED candles that change colour and white electric candles on the tables.

    2. Ham, boiled potatoes, rosolli, different kinds of fish and casseroles, liver casserole, potato casserole and rutabaga casserole (fortunately mom finally decided to give up carrot casserole this year, because nobody really likes it) and Karelian pasties. And most of them come from a store, so all we really need to do is to heat them up.

    3. Mixed fruit soup and apple and cinnamon jam pastries. And chocolate, of course.

    4. We watch tv or maybe read. After going to sauna, eating and opening the presents we are just too tired to do anything else in the evening.

    5. We always open presents on Christmas Eve, in the evening after we’ve been in the sauna and eaten. Usually I just rip the paper. And we don’t take turns opening them.



    • Anna Sugden says:

      Merry Christmas, Minna! Sounds like you have lots of lights too! Mind you, it can be so dark for us at this time of year.

      The casseroles sound lovely – even the carrot casserole LOL!

      I was wondering whether saunas featured in your celebrations – that’s so Scandinavian! 🙂

  • Merry Christmas, Ms. Anna! Your holiday traditions and festivities sound wonderful! I hope you have a delightful day and a happy and healthy and prosperous New Year!

    We’ve been traveling a lot lately, so we don’t have a lot of decorations out this year. But at Christmas dinner we’ll have crackers, and we all wear the silly hats and tell the goofy jokes. It’s great fun. We have our Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve and we try to mix up the menu each year. This year we’re making rack of lamb and I’m trying a new potato recipe that sounds fantastic. I’ll let you know how it turns out. 🙂 And my SIL is making cheesecake for dessert. She’s a super baker so I know it’ll be glorious.

    Christmas day, we’ll have a lazy brunch and open presents in our pajamas. 🙂

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Kate! Great to see you! It’s been far too long, love! Merry Christmas!

      Ooh love rack of lamb! And I love anything to do with potatoes, so if your new recipe works out, you’ll have to share!

      I really like the idea of opening presents in our PJs, instead of getting dressed up. Hmm maybe we can start a new tradition. 😉

  • Anna, what a fun post! Your tree is gorgeous, and I’m sure, having seen the house at Christmas, that the rest of your home also is.

    Remember when we had lunch at Bosworth Field and that group near us were all wearing the paper crowns from crackers? That’s one of my fun holiday memories.

    1. Let’s talk lights – coloured or white, twinkling or static, just on the tree or elsewhere too?

    Colored and static for us, on the tree and on the porch. We may toss in some white some year to come, but not yet. That requires time and planning, which have been in short supply of late.

    2. Christmas lunch – what do you have and what’s your family’s traditional extra?

    We have our big meal on Christmas Eve–turkey, stuffing, rice, gravy, green beans, sweet potatoes, and the dh’s homemade cranberry compote.

    3. Christmas dessert or sweet treats – what’s your favorite?

    I will never turn down trifle on any occasion. I totally love it. We used to get a Christmas pudding and brandy butter from a British foods store here, but it went out of business, so we often just go with cake and ice cream.

    4. Traditional Christmas activity – watch TV, play games or something else?

    We watch Jingle All the Way and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (animated version) in the runup to the holiday and the TV marathon of A Christmas Story on Christmas.

    I like the original Miracle on 34th St., but colorization puts me off. I’d rather have black and white than that anemic excuse for color (though I am clearly in the minority).

    On Christmas morning, we have Swedish pancakes like the dh’s mom used to make.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Aww thank you, Nancy – I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since you were over here! That whole trip was full of such great memories. Merry Christmas!

      We’ll have to send you one of Doc C’s Christmas puddings – he uses his mother’s recipe and does the full steaming thing! Can’t have you missing out.

      Oh I agree with you on colourisation of old films. If it was originally in B&W, why do they need to colour it?

  • May Pau says:

    Twinkling. The more the better!

    Nothing big for leaving lunch. .. we saved it for dinner

    I take all kind of dessert but love warm cookies.

    My husband love sound of music but i like he princess bride…


  • bn100 says:

    1. colored- everywhere
    2. turkey
    3. everything- cookies
    4. bake cookies
    5. open when we get them

    already signed up for newsletter under another emaiml

  • Kim says:

    1. I like color lights on the tree.

    2. It’s always Christmas dinner around 2 or 3. We never have a Christmas lunch. Dinner is usually prime rib and lasagna. We also have another big dinner on Christmas Eve.

    3. Christmas dessert has a lot of variety. We usually have cheesecake, cookies and pastries, such as cannolis, eclairs and cream puffs.

    4. Traditional Christmas activity – We watch TV or a movie and sometimes play games.

    5. We used to always open gifts on Christmas Day, but the last several years that’s changed to Christmas Eve.

    Have a nice Christmas.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Merry Christmas, Kim!

      Sounds like you have the same dinner as many of our friends in NJ – especially the Italian ones! Ooh yummy – cannolis, eclairs and cream puffs – we may have to come round to yours for dessert on Christmas!

      Hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas!

  • Anna, lovely post! I was lucky enough to experience an English Christmas in 1985 – still have lovely memories of going to the midnight service at St. Paul’s cathedral and hearing that heavenly choir and seeing the candles reflecting on all the gold mosaics. No snow, sadly. I still need to experience a white Christmas.

    As you know, Australian Christmases are based on English Christmases, especially the traditional ones. These days, though, lots of people do seafood or a barbecue at the beach. Much more appropriate to our climate, although I’m a traditionalist and it doesn’t feel like the season unless I’m pigging out on turkey and plum pudding – not in the same dish, mind you!

    1. Actually I’m really slack and don’t do lights. But the neighbours make up for it.

    2. Our Christmas lunch is very like yours except with beans rather than brussels sprouts. We also have a seafood entree of some form or another. Me, I like oysters!

    3. I don’t like Christmas cake but I do like plum pudding, especially with hot custard and cream and ice-cream.

    4. Our family Christmas always ended with a long game of euchre.

    5. Presents all at once on Christmas morning.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Anna, we still hold out hope that we’ll convince you to join us for an English Christmas in Cambridge. Carols at Kings, Doc Cambridge’s Christmas pudding … can’t promise snow, but you never know!

      We love oysters too – yum! Hope you have a fabulous Christmas!

  • catslady says:

    1.Twinkling, colored lights on the tree.
    2.We use to do a brunch but now we have a late dinner – one grown daughter works that day and the other goes to her boyfriend’s family in the afternoon.
    3. I like a variety of cookies.
    4. We watch Christmas Vacation. Both daughters work the day after Christmas so no time for games anymore.
    5.Instead of gift opening Christmas morning it is now later in the evening.

    Have to go with the flow lol. Happy Holidays.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Merry Christmas, Catslady!

      That’s the problem as the years pass – you do have to go with the flow! Our traditions have had to evolve over the years too and no doubt will again as we get older. It’s a shame there isn’t time for your Christmas games anymore though.

      Hope you have a fabulous time with your daughters.

  • Not long now!!

    I love all the lights. We have colored light on our tree and white lights outside. The white lights make everything look magical. I love the colored LED lights, though – especially the blues.

    We open presents in the family in the morning, then company arrives and we open more presents. Great times!

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Merry Christmas, Donna! I can’t believe how quickly December is flying by! I want it to slow down, so I can savour Christmas!

      I’m sure Christmas at your house is great fun! I like the sound of all those presents! Hope you all have a wonderful day.

  • That trifle looks SCRUMPTIOUS !!

    1. Lights – white twinkling lights on the tree in the house. Blue lights on the cedar tree outside my kitchen window in memory of my Great Dane, Glory, who love to watch the Christmas lights.

    2. Ham and roast pork. Chicken and dumplings. Mom’s Mac and Cheese. Peas. Cranberry sauce. Sweet potato casserole. Mom’s Mac and Cheese is the special item as she makes it from scratch with sauteed bread crumbs on top. Yum!

    3. Desserts – Lane Cake. Japanese Fruit Cake. Chocolate pie.

    4. Cut throat game of Monopoly.

    5. Christmas morning. Everyone opens at once as one of the kids hands them out.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Merry Christmas newly published author, Louisa! I hope next year brings us more books from you!

      Oh I Love mac and cheese! Your mum’s sounds delicious! And all those cakes and pies? Yum!

      Aww on the blue lights for your Great Dane. We have ornaments on our tree for our cat angels.

  • fedora says:

    How fun, Anna! As for us, mostly white, and mostly static on the tree–but we were too late getting to the store a few years ago, and we also have a strand or two of blue lights…

    We typically start the day off with waffles, and as for lunch, it depends on the year–it might be anything from spaghetti to sandwiches to Chinese food…

    For special desserts, pie–usually apple and pumpkin.

    TV sometimes, or games, especially if new ones were unwrapped 😉

    We open presents on Christmas day, usually in the morning, and usually one at a time, with time to savor 😉

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Fedora! How lovely to see you! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

      Waffles sound like the perfect way to start Christmas celebrations! Interesting that you have different foods depending on the year. How did that get started?

      Your kids must be so well-behaved to open pressies one at a time! 😉

  • Anita H. says:

    Hi Anna! Your Christmas in England sounds wonderful, love the traditions and the family together times.

    1. I’m with the twinkling colored lights on the tree and outside.

    2. We actually don’t do a Christmas lunch, we just save our appetite for the Christmas turkey dinner!

    3. Don’t get me started on Christmas sweets because I like them all…cookies, tarts, pies, cakes! 🙂

    4.Sometimes watch Holiday movies like Home Alone or The Sound of Music (for some reason it always comes on TV during Christmas time even though it’s not a traditional holiday movie!) or some games.

    5.We take turns opening gifts on Christmas Day. I’m the one who carefully unwrap the gifts and savor the anticipation of what’s inside.

    Hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas, Anna and I look forward to reading more of your books in 2015! {{hug}}

  • Teresa Hughes says:

    1. Lights are colored and twinkle.
    2. Mealtime varies depending on our holiday schedules. This year it will be Christmas lunch.
    3. We generally only do brownies or cookies.
    4. We watch Rudolph, Frosty and then Hallmark Christmas movies all day.
    5. We draw numbers to see who will open presents first. I don’t say paper, bags, or bows. We just pull a large trash bag and bag it all up.

    Merry Christmas Anna!

  • SecretNinja says:

    Hi Anna! Your Christmas sounds like so much fun!
    1)Gotta have colored twinkling lights inside and out
    2)No Christmas lunch but a yummy Turkey dinner
    3)I’m all about the sugar or shortbread cookies!
    Merry Christmas to you!
    4)We watch holiday movies, I particularly like Elf
    5)We take turns with presents, I like to save the ribbons and wrapping papers.