Childhood traditions are so important, they can be as simple as a song you always sang before bed or an after-school snack you’d never miss. Traditions are there for a reason, continuity across generations, a foundation for family values and an overwhelming feeling that you belong. Plus, they give a heart-warming ending to that age-old saying, ‘when I was a kid…’.
HELLO! writer Stephanie grew up in a family with four children, she has an older sister, brother and little brother and as much as they argued over the remote control, whose turn it was to sit in the front seat and which radio station to play on long car journeys, the many traditions they shared are one of her favourite childhood memories. Here are a few that she’ll be passing down…
Whenever my parents went out for the night (which wasn’t often as they had four kids!) my dad would give my brothers a dab of his aftershave and my mum would give me and my sister a kiss on the lips so that we’d get a bit of her lipstick. I remember feeling so grown up.
2. Giant Yorkshires
Every Sunday we’d tuck into a roast, except instead of two normal-sized Yorkshire puddings my mum would make each of us our own HUGE one and would pile up the meat and veg inside it – nothing beats it, to this day!
3. The skin on the custard
As an adult, admitting this makes me a little queasy now but, when we were little we’d all want the skin off the top of the custard so my mum and dad would agree a number between 1-10, and we’d each have to guess, the closest got the skin.
4. Thomas & Friends
To this day I can recognise the theme tune from just one bar, I adored this little engine. One of my earliest memories was the rustle of my baby brother’s nappy as he ran down the hall to sit with me and watch Thomas, Gordon and the Fat Controller’s adventures. Catching an episode now makes me all warm inside, nostalgic for those yesteryears filled with Ringo Starr’s dulcet tones.
5. Conker collecting
This was a family affair. Every single year we’d mark the start of autumn and wrap up warm, go to the same park – it had the biggest horse chestnut tree - then take a time challenge to see who could find the best conker. It had to be the shiniest, biggest, smoothest and my mum would be adjudicator.
6. ALL the collecting
We loved collecting… Marbles, football cards, pinecones (yes, really) but our favourite collection, the one we were most proud of, was our Thomas & Friends push along trains. It was something – other than argue – that my younger brother and I did together. And, now they’ve got the whole new Steam Team with a formation of three girls three boys, it’s so modern and gender balanced that I can’t wait for my son to love his collection just as much as we did.
7. Christmas layers
Where most people have cute ones like leaving milk and mince pies out for Father Christmas, or stockings at the end of the bed we had this one… We’re not even sure where it came from, or when it started, but 20 years on it’s still going strong. Basically, any clothes you unwrap you must put on immediately and wear them all day. One year my brother had on five pairs of pants, gloves, two t-shirts and a pair of flip-flops until bedtime.
To be in with a chance of winning a Thomas & Friends toy bundle worth over £250 – including all of the steam team trains, the Super Station – and a family ticket to Day Out With Thomas event go to the HELLO! prize draw. Good luck!