Honouring tradition is something that comes easily for those invested in cherishing and celebrating memories. The ethos of our brand is, unsurprisingly, reflected in our approach as individuals to Christmas and the festive season as a whole.
As it is the time of year in which timeless customs are practised all over the world, we thought it appropriate to give you an insight into what we here at The Linen Works treasure the most during this special time of year. From the most simple of routine activities, to the chaos of gathering all of the family, we each have our own practises that it wouldn’t be Christmas without. Here are excerpts of a few of our teams' fondest traditions.
Every year, I take it upon myself to be in charge of laying the table on Christmas Day for my generously sized family gathering. Four hours later, 15 origami Christmas tree linen napkins down...et voila! That gives approximately 30 minutes for all to admire before six excitable nephews turn a beautifully orchestrated festive setting into what can only be best described as a gravy infused abstract painting. Until next year...
An afternoon visit to the local village church on Christmas eve is always a tradition I'll embrace every year that passes. When I was little, my grandmother would always take us to sing carols as a festive treat. Now, my mother takes my siblings children to continue the tradition and it always turns into a family affair with cousins, aunties and even the next door neighbour! This church is close to our hearts, my parents were married here as well as my sister, and it is where we were all christened too...
No matter our age, a stocking to open in the morning will always remain a family tradition and more than often proves to be a favourite part of Christmas day. Siblings and now grandchildren will tend to stay the eve before Christmas at my parents and still - to this day - we, all 15 of us, will all congregate around my parent's bed for a 'show and tell' of stockings.
The magic of Christmas is that whilst routine in everyday life can become tiresome, the activities enjoyed at Christmas never shall. For most families, the dinner is the event around which the entire day revolves, making food an integral part of any Christmas. For me and my cousins, our creativity is put to the test when we embark on the challenge of creating a Christmas cottage (made from sponge with chocolate fingers for the roof). It usually provides a fun filled activity and is admired by all, especially my two dogs who, one year, took it upon themselves to polish it off on Christmas Eve…
A second tradition that I don’t think it would be Christmas without is the closing scene of our Christmas dinner, featuring a dramatic argument over whether or not to set fire to the Christmas pudding. The war is waged between my Aunt and Uncle, with my Uncle determined to end the Christmas dinner with flare (literally) and my Aunt resolutely refusing. As the regularity of this dispute is almost like clockwork, it is amusing year on year and the outcome is always the same. Can you even count it as Christmas pudding if it hasn’t had its time ablaze?
My family rarely stays in London for Christmas. My dad has never favoured Christmas in the cold, so we prefer to escape to sunnier climes for a truly festive celebration - on the beach. This tradition has come to an end this year, as we are staying at home to embrace every aspect of a proper British Christmas. I am most looking forward to relaxing, indulging in Christmas food, drinking steaming cups of mulled wine and enjoying some really lovely quality time with my family. Having never spent a festive period in London, I have already been embracing all the Christmas events and markets that London endlessly offers at this time of year. The city really does seem to magically come to life at Christmas!
My childhood memories of Christmas consist of a blur of chaotic, festive-filled days with more people than beds and a constant air of excitement. The day itself starts with a visit to the Christmas Service at the church in our village, where the musical talents of my family are exhibited in the Christmas Orchestra. It is a celebratory affair, with each instrument adorned with one silly festive ornament or another and starts the day off with a wonderfully festive ring (literally).
Coming from quite an outdoorsy family, with equal dogs to children, we always have to have a long walk on Christmas day. The enjoyment of this is such so that many squabbles often ensue as to who has to remain behind on ‘turkey duty’. The excursions take place in the earlier part of the day to work up an appetite before Christmas dinner parks us on the sofa until bedtime. The dinner itself is my fathers pride and joy every year, which he bravely embarks upon alone, and it (apparently) grants him full license to move from the dining table to the sofa for a recovery snooze - conveniently whilst the clearing up takes place.
One tradition that is strictly adhered to, no matter your age, is that no presents are opened before the Queen’s speech. As a young child I found it almost torturous, but I have since realised it is one of those quirky rules that builds the suspense and excitement of the day.
As we have grown up, my family has moved further afield, so new traditions are embraced each year, and we now revel in visiting the South of France for a slightly different style of Christmas – sorry England, but the food is incomparable. One of these is that the main family celebration takes place on Christmas Eve, with dinner coming in the form of an array of exotic seafood. Whilst on Christmas Day, a feast of different poultry is enjoyed during visits from an abundance of friends in the locality.