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Parents Panel: Readers share their favourite Christmas morning traditions

Selection boxes for breakfast and stockings by the bed – here’s how these families spend December 25.

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AS PART OF TheJournal.ie’s weekly Family Magazine, we wanted to create a space for parents to share their views. A place where mums and dads could share their experiences, lessons learned, and even mistakes along the way. 

Does Santa leave a stocking by the bed, or gifts in the sitting room? What’s for breakfast on December 25? And what’s the first thing you watch on TV?

This week, we’re asking our panel…

What’s the Christmas morning routine in your house?

Here’s what they had to say…

Parents Panel All 7 - Copy - Copy - Copy Top L-R: Olly Keegan, Alan Dooley, Denise, Ken Hyland. Middle L-R: Ríona Flood, Ross Boxshall, Marta Lisiecka, Denise Cumiskey. Bottom L-R: Kait Quinn, Susannah O’Brien, Derek McInerney, Suzie Kelly Source: TheJournal.ie

Selection boxes for breakfast: We have a few traditions Christmas morning traditions that remain even now that two of the kids are older (22, 17 and 3). The older ones are the worst, They are early risers on Christmas morning, and I struggle to keep them in bed past 6.30am. Whoever is awake first will wake everyone else up, and then we all go downstairs to the sitting room together as a family to see what Santa has left.

With the sitting room in a mess of wrapping paper and presents, breakfast tradition over the years usually involves sitting in the middle of the mess eating a selection box (only allowed because it’s Christmas). Then we put the Christmmas music channel on TV, and I start the big cleanup while everyone is busy with their new presents.

- Denise Cumiskey 

A mix of Polish and Irish traditions: In Poland, the tradition is that Santa brings the gifts on the 24th, but we didn’t want to confuse Tymek so we get the presents on the morning of 25th. They’re under the Christmas tree.

We have a traditional Polish dinner on Christmas Eve, and on the December 25, breakfast is heavy enough: eggs, Polish sausages and bigos (cabbage cooked with bacon, meats and mushrooms). We don’t go anywhere and just spend those days together watching Christmas movies, eating and relaxing. 

- Marta Lisiecka

Matching jammies: I’m not big on the waiting game; I think that gifts should be fair game once everyone is awake and ready to go! Growing up, my Christmas stocking would always be at the bottom of my bed when I woke up and I really loved opening it first thing. I plan to do that with Charlie next year when he’s three (couldn’t trust him not to eat/swallow/break things this year!). We’ve got our Christmas jammies sorted, so we’ll all be matching when we get stuck into Christmas morning.

- Kait Quinn 

unnamed (2) Charlie decorating the tree. Source: Kait Quinn

A full Irish, cooked by mum and dad: When the boys were growing up, Santa delivered to the sitting room, and the door would be locked until everyone was up and ready to go – hopefully after 6am!

Now that they’re older, Santa’s not such a focus, but we have kept some traditions: like doing a full Irish for breakfast on Christmas day. We do the visits to parents’ houses later in the day, so it’s usually a fairly stress free morning. Provided we’ve remembered to buy enough batteries…

- Ken Hyland

Bacon sandwiches and stockings full of presents: Since the kids came along, we’ve tried to make our own family traditions. The kids now all love them and get very excited about the routine. It’s all small, almost insignificant stuff, but it means a lot to us.  

On Christmas morning, the kids rush to get their socks of gifts from their bedroom or the hallway (the night before brings the usual arguments about where to leave them – we recommend the hallway), and bring them into our bedroom to go through them all. Santa is usually quite the messer.   

Once the socks are done, I go downstairs to make sure he’s gone and call them all in. It’s the most wonderful sight to see the kids beaming at the magic that has just happened.  We cook some crispy bacon sandwiches and clean up the paper mess (Santa wraps in our house).

- Alan Dooley 

The routine is a work in progress: We are still working on our Christmas morning routine as our son is still quite young. Currently, the plan is that he will come in to our room first and we’ll all go to the sitting room together. We’ll try to keep him in bed until 6.30am, fingers crossed!  

Santa will leave his present, and stockings for the three of us, in the sitting room.  We will all have breakfast, but I can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to get our son to sit at the table with us!  Breakfast will definitely be substantial considering we won’t be eating again properly until dinner (about 4pm). Probably rashers, pancakes etc.  Then we will exchange gifts with each other. From about 11.30 onwards we have friends who call round, which is always just lovely.

Once everyone has gone, we just take our time making dinner, the fire will be lit, and Christmas movies on. No doubt there may be some Lego to build or games to play.  All in all we aim to have a relaxing day and just enjoy each other’s company and the company of friends.

- Olly Keegan

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