Our changing Christmases

7 December 2010
Are you thinking of Christmas yet? I wonder what your plans are, what traditions you follow, how many will sit at your table this year. Christmas can be one of those times of year when you either commit to the family traditions you grew up with and carry them on, or you decide that now you have your own family, new traditions will define you. It is a choice. If Christmas is being held in your home, you will lead the way, you can change or follow.

Carl Larsson's Christmas from the gallery.

We're at a point of transition. This will be the last year we'll spend Christmas without babies or children so it is special in its own right. Since our sons have grown and left home, I've realised that the real excitement of Christmas comes from having children around. When it's all adults, it's a celebration of family, an enjoyable feast, but there is not that barely contained crazy excitement that children bring. I didn't realise I missed it but I'm ready to decorate Christmas trees with tiny lights and put out fruit cake and beer for Santa and the reindeer all over again.

This Christmas will be the first one in a long time when we haven't organised and lead the Christmas breakfast at our Neighbourhood Centre. Hundreds come to that free breakfast - it's a feast of sharing and community spirit. So with Christmas morning free, as well as Christmas lunch, we might have Kerry and Sunny here. Both our sons are chefs so they often work on Christmas day. Kerry and Sunny think they have the day off, Shane thinks he'll be working, so we might not see him and Sarndra. We'll mould ourselves around our family. If they're here, we'll celebrate with organic roast chickens and salad, tropical fruit pavlova and homemade elderflower champagne, if they're not here, Hanno and I will share a small celebration of roast chicken washed down with Scrumpy - apple cider. Either way, we'll enjoy the day for what it is, the end of an era.

What are you doing, what are you eating, what gifts are you making and where will you be?