Big Macs, little pigs and a tot or two for breakfast - what are your unusual Christmas traditions?

Christmas traditions include a Scrabble Ashes tournament for MP Chloe Smith.

Christmas traditions include a Scrabble Ashes tournament for MP Chloe Smith. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Christmas is a time for enjoying traditions, but even as some of the more well-known festive customs are on the wane, families often discover their own wacky rituals to repeat each year.

Reporter Kim Briscoe found out about some of the unusual goings-on that will be enjoyed by people this Christmas.

• Polly Grice, EDP and Evening News reporter - Every year since I can remember, my parents and I have always gone to the Norwich Theatre Royal pantomime on Christmas Eve.

On the way back to Lowestoft, as a treat, we stopped at Beccles McDonalds for dinner.

It's been some 20 years since this started, and we still go to the panto and crucially, still stop at Beccles McDonalds on the way home.


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I'm not sure how it became incorporated into our festive traditions, but a Christmas Eve without a Big Mac just wouldn't feel right any more.

• Keith Skipper, writer, broadcaster and King of Squit - The Skipper family Christmas tradition concerns a plastic pig with a head for money.

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He stands in our kitchen above the boiler and we drop small change through the slot to build up proceeds towards our Christmas Day dinner .. a proper Cromer way to bring home the bacon.

The idea began when our lads were young – they are now 28 and 25 – so as to encourage a good old-fashioned brand of family togetherness for the festive season. 'They still contribute to the essential food fund when they come home. Both will be with us this year .. so they can tuck in with a clear conscience!

• Steve Downes, EDP and Evening News content editor - I sit the children round the tree in one of their bedrooms on Christmas Eve and read The Night Before Christmas. This will be the 18th year in a row – and they still sit spellbound, even though they're aged 13 to 22.

• Canon Simon Stokes, 52, vicar of Sprowston, has a tradition of having Christmas dinner in church, surrounded by friends, family and parishioners.

His wife Christine does the cooking for everyone, using the facilities at the hall next to St Cuthbert's, and even dashing forwards and backwards to use the oven at their home next door too.

The father-of-three said: 'We have Christmas lunch in the church and anyone and everybody is welcome to join us.

'Each time we move the children have asked us to carry on doing it and they have grown up enjoying it.

'Over the years we have sat down and eaten with lots of different people.

'We try to encourage people to let us know if they are coming and my wife does all the cooking. At the moment we have got 35 people booked in for this year.'

• Doug Faulkner-Gawlinski, EDP and Evening News reporter - Due to my part Polish family we do a bit of a mish-mash of British and Polish Christmas.

So Christmas Eve involves a 12-course meal with vodka between each course and the singing of Sto lat (a traditional Polish song).

We cheat a bit and it isn't quite 12 courses but it always starts off with Borsch, aka beetroot soup and pierogi (like a dumpling stuffed with mushrooms) then moves on to a couple of other courses including a fish course. My poor mother also has to do a vegetarian version because myself and a few others are awkward.

Usually there are around 15 plus people for this meal, so by the time Christmas dinner comes around the next day it is a bit overshadowed.

It is even more chaotic now we have a younger generation joining in (not with the vodka).

• Kim Briscoe, EDP and Evening News reporter - My dad works for a food company in the Midlands and about 10 years ago someone told him about the Birmingham Breakfast.

So every year since then we have had pork pie, bread and butter and a tot of whisky for Christmas Day breakfast.

It's nicer than it sounds, and it's the only time I ever drink whisky.

However, I've never met anyone else who has ever heard of the Birmingham Breakfast, so I'm beginning to think that my dad has been telling a few porkies just so he's got an excuse to start the day with a tipple.

• Pete Kelley, EDP and Evening News letters editor - My old dad had a dragon tattoo, which fascinated me when I was little. I thought he must have been a pirate.

The truth was just as good, to a four-year-old boy. He'd been in the Navy during the war.

Of course, sailors develop sealegs and tend to be at their most wobbly on dry land.

Possibly, our dad never quite got over the war. Certainly, he got wobblier and wobblier. By the time he was in his mid-80s, he was terrifying everyone as he lurched around with a shaky walking frame with a toy parrot fixed to one side.

In keeping with naval traditions, he eventually got to a point where he would fall asleep and fall off his chair at Christmas, if no one caught him in time.

It's now a family tradition that somebody has to fall off their chair in his memory at a random moment over the festive period. Oddly enough, nobody bothers to catch me.

• Chloe Smith, Norwich North MP - This year my husband and I are spending our first Christmas on our own so this is year to start some traditions.

Looking back at previous years, my dad and I have usually played quite a lot of Scrabble over the Christmas break. Dad is a massive cricket fan so we call it our Ashes series. One of us plays as England and the other as Australia and we have a round of six games.

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