Our Christmas begins on Christmas Eve. It was a little different this year on account of the addition of Charlotte’s lovely boyfriend, Ads, who now lives with us, and the fact that Thomas now works for the Church and as such Christmas is the busiest time of year for him. Thomas worked Christmas morning, so stockings were opened Christmas Eve along side our Christmas pyjamas, which were personalised this year with our names.
But first came our yearly tradition of making a nativity scene using ginger bread men and farm animal biscuits with a tonne of coloured icing pens:
Oh. My. Goodness. It was too funny (not to mention rather irreverent). Thomas decided to focus on the three wise men, Ads (who is British through and through) dressed Joseph and Jesus in tweed (!) and because they were in lockdown tier four, he left out the wise men and the shepherds, replacing them with a computer on a zoom call. Charlotte did a very good solid interpretation of the actual nativity. Abigail, perhaps by accident, perhaps not, created a ginger haired angel and had Mary crying big blue (and luminous) tears of happiness at the birth of Jesus.
Lillie also did a great nativity and used the white plastic wrapping of the biscuits to create wings for the angel. Becca fashioned an excellent, very detailed nativity including everything bar the kitchen sink.
Gary made a simple scene putting Joseph in a high visibility vest (to this day I don’t really understand why?!) and I created a 3D masterpiece where Joseph and Mary were standing and Jesus lay in a real standing crib.
Seriously, mine was excellent and should have won. Unfortunately, my family are envious of the sheer talent and artistic flair I show year upon year, and did not vote for me… Becca though, who everyone did vote for, was a worthy winner.
Next was Christmas pyjamas, which were tartan and personalised with our name. I then gathered the groups for the annual Christmas photo:
So after we had created dessert with our very own hands, chosen our afternoon outfit (pyjamas), we moved onto the stockings. Thomas was not around at normal stocking opening Christmas morning so we moved it to Christmas Eve:
Any present opening is a long drawn out affair in our family. We go round in a circle, opening one present at a time:
Last but not least we all sat down to a roast pork dinner and our yearly viewing of The Muppets Christmas Carol. This year we chose which character was like each member of our family. I was the ghost of Christmas present – jolly, on the large size and very absent minded! And I’m okay with that…
Christmas day was a little odd this year. Usually we go out to eat at the very lovely Toby Cottage with my mum, but this year due to the Corona lockdown we weren’t able to go. Although officially mum is in our bubble and so we are able to mix freely with her by law, she still likes to social distance as far as is possible. This means that coming round for Christmas lunch was going to be tricky for her. Mum opted to spend Christmas alone. But that was never going to happen! There was no way I was letting mum be alone during the Christmas period! She also forbid us from buying her any presents. Uh. No. I don’t think so. Mum can be a little stubborn, so I began planning a Christmas which would respect her wishes, but also meant she could celebrate with all of us. Just not all of us together.
The first thing I planned was to create a hamper full of goodies she could eat over the holidays and a few books to read. I went round in the morning to have a coffee and a chat, which is something we do a few times a weeks, and this time to open pressies:
With all her presents (she specifically asked for this photo to be taken – She said she was overwhelmed with all her gifts…yay!)
Back home, I began cooking some waffles for a special Christmas brunch. Thomas was leading worship at church and as it was being screened on YouTube we had the service going on whilst I cooked. We all sat down together to watch which was such a lovely simple way to start Christmas Day:
Thomas was back by 1230 just in time to sit down with us for brunch. Brunch was waffles, fresh fruit salad, yogurt, maple syrup and crepe fraiche. It was delicious and light… perfect for the heavier dinner later on.
Then it was present time! We go a bit nuts at Christmas, with the littles making many, many handmade pressies. And of course there are eight of us. Also we open them one at a time, taking it in turns. Literally it takes us about an hour and a half to open all our presents!
Each present was wrapped in simple brown paper and all presents were enthusiastically received with all the appropriate ooohs and aaahhhs:
Once we had finished, the littles did a stellar job tidying up the kitchen from brunch, whilst the bigs tidied up the living room of all the wrapping paper. I then spent a very happy few hours in the kitchen listening to King and Country preparing dinner. For our Christmas presents Mum had paid for a bird inside a bird inside a bird, but we actually received a bird (chicken) inside a bird (pheasant) inside a bird (Goose) inside a bird (turkey). With it, I prepared pigs in blankets, roast potatoes, Parmesan parsnips, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted red beetroots and yellow beetroots, buttered and roasted carrots, sprouts, courgettes, broccoli, cauliflower, red cabbage and apple, homemade cranberry sauce and homemade gravy made from the stock of the bones of the four birds which I had boiled up the day before. Abigail and Rebecca were joining Granny next door for dinner and more presents, many of which they had made for mum. They all dressed up and mum made it as special as possible with a beautifully laid table:
They had such a lovely time and stayed for ages, telling Granny all their news and sharing all their exciting presents. Honestly, they all had a ball!
Back home, I laid the table, including the home made crackers I had hurriedly made the night before:
Gary was my sous chef and was a seriously brilliant help to me! The six of us sat down to dinner, without the littles:
We finished the evening off playing Cards Against Humanity, before the littles returned. The older teens then cleaned up the whole of the kitchen and living room, without any complaints. How blessed am I? This meant I got to snuggle up with Gary and watched Dumplin’. A perfect end to a lovely day.
Boxing Day was a quiet day, opening the last of the presents, popping over to Granny’s for nibbles for lunch and lastly a dinner of cold meat, baked potatoes and salad. It was relaxing and joyful.
The rest of the year was spent returning our home to some sort of order and finding room for all the books which were inevitably gifted over Christmas. Oh, and we had a hugely fun Murder Mystery party that Charlotte arranged with the rest of her siblings, and with a dinner made by her and Ads, garlic bread made by her and Becs and a chocolate cake made by Abigail. We all dressed up and put on lots of accents with a varying amount of success 🥸 It was super great! Ads was the murderer, which both Becs and I guessed! Yay us!!
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, even if under rather difficult circumstances. And I pray this coming year will be filled with love, friends, family and health