This year, for the very first time, we hosted Christmas in our own home. I always knew it would be strange. There have been less than a handful of Christmasses in my whole life that have not been spent at home with my parents. The first was when they were living in a rented property between house purchases and they didn’t want to have to cook Christmas dinner in the tiny kitchen so we went to a hotel in York for Christmas lunch, it was strange and we all agreed it just felt like a posh Sunday. The second was four years ago when we went to my Mother in Law’s for Christmas when again, for me anyway, it just felt like a Sunday. And then this year. Part of the issue is of course that Christmas, for my family at least, is all about tradition and routine. We all have our jobs to do and we all play our part. As a result Christmas felt strange from the off as I wasn’t doing all the things which would normally signify the start of Christmas, like packing up and driving to York, or doing a run to the butchers to pick up the pork pie and whatever else Mum has ordered, or nipping out to our favourite bakers for mince pies and bread rolls.
The build up to Christmas, aside from being very different from usual, was also quite stressful. As you know we’ve had a lot of building work done this year and we really weren’t sure what sort of a state our house would actually be in come Christmas Day – bearing in mind our dining room has served as a garage since the early Summer we were in no fit state to host a Christmas dinner for ten . . . Luckily Dad sorted it all out just in the nick of time and come Christmas Eve our house was looking impressively tidy (even my Mum said so!)
Dave did all the grocery shopping on Tuesday morning (Christmas Eve Eve!) – visiting Morrisons, Aldi & Tesco before 10am. He’s a keeper! He also made a start on the cooking – getting the gravy done and into the freezer as well as cooking some chicken which the kids were to have for the Christmas lunch.
Christmas Eve was a morning of last minute cleaning and sorting for me while Dave prepped the veg and made sure he had all his timings planned for the following day. He was pretty cool about cooking his first Christmas dinner, especially as it was dinner for ten, three of whom like to think they are food critics!
My parents arrived at lunch time and it was a really pleasure to be able to sit at the dining table together to eat our lunch whilst the children entertained themselves in the playroom! (I will do a proper extension update soon!)
|My cheeky little Christmas Eve crew!|
Once Mum, Dad and Nic had made their way into town to check into their hotel we set about giving the children their tea and getting them ready for bed.
We sprinkled a variety of reindeer food on the drive:
|Reindeer food – my drive was very sparkly!|
Left a mince pie, glass of milk and a bonus chocolate cake out for Father Christmas, along with two very last minute Christmas lists:
|Snacks at the ready|
And tucked them all up in bed with minimal fuss. Although they were excited they seemed to be able to contain themselves and knew that they had to go to sleep quickly so that Father Christmas could come! As a result the house was all quiet by 7.30pm! I was surprised and grateful, particularly when I was reading Facebook updates from other Mums of children still up at gone 11pm – I’m sure we have all that to come!
On Christmas morning itself we didn’t get up until 8.30am, we had said we would do our best to keep the children in bed till 7.30am however it really wasn’t an issue – they just didn’t wake up! As it was I actually woke Chloe by accident, she’s normally a right grump when she wakes up but you can imagine she came round quite quickly when she realised she could go downstairs and see if Father Christmas had actually been!
|What a lot of presents!|
Of course Ben and Chloe were hugely excited to realise that he had infact “been” and Ben was keen to dive straight in to the unwrapping however I wanted to try and save as much as possible for when my parents and little sister arrived. We let them open a couple of things and then had sausage butties for breakfast. They were so patient! The gift giving and present unwrapping began in earnest once we had Granny, Grandad and Aunty Nic in our presence! (I totally failed to take any pictures!)
Ben and Chloe were both thrilled with their main presents of Lego and Frozen dolls, Amy wasn’t too bothered with unwrapping stuff and just enjoyed soaking up the atmosphere!
|The much longed for Frozen dolls|
|Opening presents with Granny & Grandad|
|Chocolate for breakfast|
|Nana & Amy|
Dave cooked up an absolute storm for dinner and even Dad struggled to come up with criticism – which is saying something. Everyone was really impressed, and suitably stuffed!!
Despite the fact we did have a lovely day and a fabulous feast for Christmas dinner it just wasn’t right. We missed the open fire at my Mum and Dad’s house, Aunty Nic missed waking the kids up with her own excitement on Christmas morning, Mum even admitted she had missed doing the grocery shopping. So . . . whilst we did a good job and our first attempt at hosting Christmas in our own home was a success, we’ve all agreed we’re going back to York next year!
This picture Dad sent me when he got home on Boxing Day evening says it all really:
|The perfect open fire . . . in York|