Family Christmas traditions must be kept alive – Cheryl Gibbs 

Surprisingly Cheryl and Matt didn't even squabble over which Christmas tree to buy
Surprisingly Cheryl and Matt didn't even squabble over which Christmas tree to buy

I don’t know what it is about this time of year but I always end up reverting back to my childhood and trying to keep the memory alive of the times in my past that are important to me. I love tradition – I’m not great with change, which surprises a lot of people I meet. 

Because of my personality and thirst for travel and adventure, people assume I love life to change all the time, but I don’t.

I hate routine and love that my days are never the same, but when it comes to traditions, family values or keeping something alive that reminds me of family I’m a nightmare and I never like it to change.

Take the Christmas tree buying process for example – when I was a child (well up until probably the age of about 16) I used to row with my dad every time we went to buy our Christmas tree because I always wanted the same tree as the year before – big and bushy.

When Matt and I started buying our own Christmas trees all those years ago we went through the same process. This year however, and somewhat alarmingly, we didn’t have a cross word.

We always buy our tree from the same place I did growing up – at the site in Catherington where the travelling fair is. We got out of the car, strolled up to the same tree and agreed that that was the one for us.

We didn’t look at a single other tree and the whole process, even down to decorating it, (which usually causes a row too) was smooth and, well, grown up. 

Our house resembles Santa’s grotto and that’s how I love it – the more decorations and lights the better.

We’re off, as usual, to my sister Jo’s house for Christmas Day and from that day onward, all the way until January, its pretty manic with family get-togethers. But that’s just how I like it.

There was a discussion the other day about whether or not someone else should host Boxing Day as we always go to my mum’s to which I whined ‘but it’s tradition!’ My family gave me that look I’ve become accustomed too now, like they want to tell me to grow up but don’t have the heart.

We have to be grown up all year, so what’s wrong with a bit of childishness at Christmas?

I hope late night deserted high street was just a blip

I used to always go late night shopping when I was younger. I’d get the bus into town, watch the Christmas lights being turn on and wander round the shops.It was great fun. 

Unfortunately, that wasn’t my experience last Thursday.

Everything was either closed or closing, Cascades which did remain open till 8.30pm/9pm.

Sadly there was none of the Christmas spirit that usually comes with late night shopping and I was left a bit deflated.

Pretty much all the shops in Commercial Road were already shut by 6.30pm. The Christmas market packed up at 7pm. I hope it was a one-off.

It won’t encourage local trade at a time shops can expect a boost. 

Typical – I head to the snow and I’m met with sunshine 

I’m on my way to Scandinavia for work purposes and although I’ll miss my family like crazy, I’m so excited because I’ve never visited this part of the world before. 

We’re staying in glass igloos in Finland and then staying in chalets at the Ice Hotel in Sweden. 

I’ve packed lots of thermals. Apparently it's the warmest winter they’ve had in more than a decade and there’s hardly any snow.

Even husky and reindeer treks have been cancelled because it’s not snowy enough. 

I’m pretty sure that’s because I’m coming. The one and only time I want full-on blizzard-like conditions and Scandinavia’s having a heat wave! At least I won’t be cold.