AS BRITS head home for the Christmas break it’s time to snuggle up in front of the telly, relax, and take part in those bizarre family traditions.
Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge celebrates the night before, on Christmas Eve, which started as a way of celebrating the holiday while getting around the fact her family are Jewish.
She told HOAR Online: “We have a big Christmas Eve.
“We were so secular (Jewish), I cant quite work out what my parents thought of Christmas… but the children demanded something!”
Her family gathering has now grown so big, they have had to rent out a small town hall to fit everyone in.
She also makes her own home-made mince pies – a whopping 200 of them to feed everyone.
“Someone will dress up as Santa and then a couple of them as reindeer to support Santa – it all looks rather weird,” she added.
They will sing traditional Christmas carols, but throw in some songs by The Beatles in for good measure.
The Labour MP said normally politics isn’t an issue at Christmas, but after such a historic general election, it will be the “gloomiest” Christmas for Labour and there could be some heated debate around the dinner table.
“There’s maybe one (of my siblings) that might have voted Tory,” she said.
“I’m the middle child and as you go down the line they become more and more Corbynista,” Dame Margaret joked.
“If there is going to be an argument, it will be about Corbyn and Corbynism.”
But her strangest holiday tradition doesn’t come until New Years Eve, when her family all go to their place in Norfolk.
After the clock strikes midnight, all of the children are sent out by themselves to wander around in the local graveyard.
She said: “This started when my kids were little… I don’t quite know why they loved it.
“It’s the three of them going out in the dark while I’m doing the washing up!”
Meanwhile, Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom bundles the 90-residents in her village into her house for a drinks party.
She told HOAR Online: “On Christmas Eve we always have a drinks party with all my neighbours in the village.
“They bring whoever is with them – it’s wonderful, you get to meet all these people.
Unfortunately for the hundreds of sheep who are also residents of the village, they don’t get treated to any prosecco.
Ms Leadsom’s Christmas Day is fairly traditional, packed with a late lunch, the Queen’s Speech (which she assures Jeremy Corbyn is in the afternoon), board games, and watching Downton Abbey reruns.
The most controversial discussion is over who has the best Christmas decorations.
She joked: “I am all about the bling.
“I still have a tree with sparkles my eldest (now 24) made when he was aged two in pre-school.
“My husband likes it more relaxed, but I win.”
The Business Secretary also has some words of wisdom for those hoping for a fresh start in the New Year, saying: “(My) father says that eating 12 mince pies during the month of December gives you good luck for every month of the next year”.
That’s some advice we’ll be more than happy to take.
Conservative MP Andrea Jenkyns has a pretty standard Christmas Day, but New Year’s Eve is also the time when traditions start to get weird and wonderful.
She said: “On New Years we have a tradition, it’s a northern and Yorkshire tradition, where somebody lets the new year in,” Ms Jenkyns said.
“What we do in East Yorkshire is… somebody waits outside, and you wait for the lock to strike 12, and you have firewood so you’ve got heating in the year ahead, and we’d have a candle to light then way, and then you’d have your Christmas cake and cheese so you’re always fed in the year ahead!” Ms Jenkyns said.
Ms Jenkyns’ promised cheese and Christmas cake was “better than it sounds”.
“They’re going to think I’m nuts aren’t they?” she said.
Who needs Christmas stockings when you have Mongolian boots-liners?
Conservative MP for Gloucester Richard Graham and his wife give his adult children a special surprise, filling three of them instead of the traditional sock.
“We then inevitably give the wrong boot liner to the wrong child,” Mr Graham laughed.
“Christmas used to include at least one chocolate orange being found and consumed by Twiglet – an elderly Jack Russell with weak eyes but a strong nose – and regurgitated close to the door for the first person to return from church.
“On a very good Christmas with snow the boys and I take a sledge to Painswick Beacon and go down some perilous slopes once part of an Iron Age fort.
“This is called either exercise or avoiding the washing up!”
And Justin Tomlinson, the Minister for Disabilities, is looking forward to celebrating like a kid with his newborn this year.