The title of this post is a quotation from a podcast I was listening to this week. It triggered some reflection on the comforts associated with the rituals of a family Christmas. Our children rightly call us out as old-fashioned, but they are the also the first to insist that we follow all the rituals of Christmas in this house:
- The tiny red stockings they had as toddlers go on each side of the fireplace and they must be the right way round.
- We put out some food and drink for Santa¹ and the reindeer.
- Presents from “Santa” must go in the fireplace, not under the tree.
- Even wish lists to Santa are still placed in the fireplace although now it’s done with a great deal of irony.
- We must go for our stroll while the turkey is cooking. Secretly they love that my wife bids everyone “Merry Christmas!” in a Dickensian manner.
For me, a ritual is very different from a habit or a chore. There is something meaningful and perhaps ceremonial about a ritual, it doesn’t have to be religious but rituals tell a story and are performed with more awareness or mindfulness. My girls can’t explain why they like these things, but for them it marks Christmas day as special and heightens the experience.
Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to go and buy this year’s new ornament for the Christmas tree…
 This particular “Santa” likes single-malt Scotch Whisky — ideally Springbank!↑