The Nostalgia of Christmas |07 December 2021
We’ve been reading forecasts and talking to people about the Christmas trends that we can expect to see this year, and from these, we’ve chosen one trend that we feel is the most special – one which we feel will be most meaningful for those of you celebrating this Christmas.
The Nostalgia of Christmas. This year, it’s all about going back to family traditions as many of us want to feel the love, comfort, warmth and security that our family traditions bring for us.
A few ideas are to use nostalgic Christmas decorations; decorate the house and the tree just like your parents and grand-parents used to! Make use of old décor and crockery that have been passed down for generations. Spend time making holiday treats that have been enjoyed for years among your own family!
One of the people we spoke to recalls that one of her favourite memories from her childhood was the eve of Christmas.
“Our little family would all be together at home, the sparkling Christmas tree lights were the only ones on in the house, my mother making a warm comforting meal for us, my father making us laugh with his stories, games and jokes, my siblings and I would be holding and shaking all the presents under the tree, trying to imagine what we would find inside the next day!
“It was a funny moment every year when my father would say that he couldn’t wait to eat Christmas pudding on the 25th, so we always ended up ‘pre-maturely’ eating our Christmas pudding on Christmas eve! In those days I don’t think there was an option to microwave the pudding quickly so my father took over an hour just to heat the pudding using a ‘bain mare’ (water bath). This was pretty hilarious and happened every year. He’s quite shocked now when I use the microwave to heat up the pudding in just 3 minutes!
“Then after dinner, we would all sit down at the dining table, my father would bring the pudding, pour some brandy over it, set it alight, and there it was… that wonderful big flame! This is a memory and a family tradition that I want to keep going as long as I can.”
To another person we spoke to, the preparations at his family home leading up to Christmas make up some of his favourite traditions.
“It was all about rituals for my family, all about getting ready for Christmas with a cleaner home. My dad would re-paint the house, and because of that, I always associate the smell of paint with Christmas. My mother and sister would always change the curtains and cushion covers, even the bed linen, everything had to look different or new!
“Surprisingly, this had a positive effect on me; things were different and different can be good sometimes. This year, I lost my father and if I were to smell fresh paint now, it would take me back to when I was a teenager and would bring back happy memories of my father.
“Also decorating the Christmas tree and then taking out the heirloom baubles which had been in our family for years and years – everyone enjoyed taking these out and putting them on the tree.”
A lady in her early sixties told us that as a child growing up in Seychelles, she truly loved the holiday traditions and for her, these made up some of the best Christmases.
“A week before Christmas, all of us children would go to the tailor for fittings for new clothes and we would also get new shoes. Two or three days before, we would go shopping for food and drinks in preparation for our Christmas day party.
“The cooking for the party would start on Christmas Eve. The smells of cake, wine and other foods filled the entire house. One of the best things was indeed the fruit cake; this was made especially for Christmas and it was a must-have.
“By Christmas Eve, all the presents had been well hidden and my mother would be talking about Father Christmas coming to visit us. In those days, the Christmas tree was decorated on Christmas Eve.
“Midnight mass would always start at quarter to midnight. I can remember the moon and stars shining brightly on many of these occasions, creating a good ambience. Before attending mass, we all had a light supper, blew up the balloons, placed the presents under the tree, and set up lights in the trees outside. We then had a nap for an hour and around 11pm, we would start to hear the church bells ringing, the sound of people’s footsteps on the streets as they walked to church – they would all be nicely dressed up.
“My family and I would also dress up very proudly to attend the midnight mass which ended around 2am. My siblings and I would even start falling asleep during the mass. We would always go and see the Christmas crèche and pray.
“When we got back home, the fruit cake was cut, beverages were shared, and we would open all our cards and gifts. By the time we went to sleep, it was around 4am!
“On Christmas day, my mother would take out all her best glassware and crockery, and we would use these to lay the dining table outside the house, before going to mass again. At the church, you would see the children with all their new toys!
“Back home, all our family members arrived and we had a party, we sang to the carols being played on the radio, we enjoyed our Christmas day lunch, we played with our toys, and the party went on until around 7 or 8pm.
“The following day, December 26, was always a public holiday and although we were able to wake up fairly late in the morning, we still had the whole house that we had to now clean up!”
What are some of your nostalgic, family Christmas traditions?