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Christmas Traditions

For our 21st Firefly Christmas Book Advent, our editor, Rebecca Lloyd, shares the Christmas traditions she has with her family. 

Until recently my Christmases were dominated by directing and stage-managing our Sunday School children’s Nativity play. Great creativity was often required to incorporate the needs and preferences of the various participants. We had one that was much more about donkeys than baby Jesus and his parents, a musical featuring 8 kings and no shepherds (the kings’ costumes are much nicer, aren’t they?), and – probably most eccentrically – a ‘traditional’ Nativity featuring a child-sized canary in a starring role. Goodness knows what the audience made of it!

These days my daughters have grown out of these things but some traditions endure: choosing and decorating the tree, hanging up stockings, setting out the mince pie and sherry for Father Christmas, and a family trip to a carol service before the big family get-together and present frenzy.

Alongside an increasing long list of films that must be watched (Love, Actually, obviously; The Holiday; Polar Express; What a Wonderful Life…) is a tradition particular to Christmas: reading aloud. The Night Before Christmas is essential on Christmas Eve. In the run up to the day itself we have extracts from A Child’s Christmas in Wales. Sometimes, these days, ‘The Journey of the Magi’ by TS Eliot. Children’s picture books, though, still resonant the most. Here’s a selection of modern classics that have stood the test of time in my house.