Christmas Edition of Precious Memories

For us Christmas began on the 20th with some carols on the green.  We met up at my friend Nik’s house.  She had organised nibbles and mulled wine for the adults and hot chocolates and Toblerone for the children:



We then left for the Green just up the road from her home.  Gary led all the residents in a myriad of carols on his guitar.  After we had finished we bundled into the car to traverse to Lorna’s house.  Each year Nik and I get together for a special meal, a dvd and an exchange of socks.  Yes, you read that correctly.  They are new socks, not the ones we were wearing!  This year we invited Lorna and co. and she kindly offered to hold it at their house.  We all had such a lovely time, although a tearful B3 was suffering from being up past her bedtime.

On the Monday before Christmas I held an impromptu Mr Men Christmas Party.  We had been due to have this the week before but due to various bugs going round we cancelled it.  Lorna, K11 and B13 joined us for it as well.  I am posting about it next week, but suffice to say it was one of the most stressful mornings I have had for a long time, almost entirely due to the fact the roof wouldn’t stay on the gingerbread houses the girls were going to decorate and turn into a Mr Men edible village:


The little ones had a blast and weren’t at all perturbed to see Mr Bump falling of the top of said roof (that would be the one I had spent 90 minutes attempting to get it to stay up) and pulling the whole structure down with him!  Sigh.  And that was that.

On the Tuesday, we had our home school friends round for a bit of Christmas biscuit decorating.  We all usually meet up every Tuesday for fun and fellowship and it has been truly lovely to see some strong friendships being built:

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Then, on Christmas eve we attended the Christingle service at church, making our Christingle and having lots of fun dressing up and singing Christmas carols:


We arrived home to our annual roast pork dinner after which we opened our Christmas pajamas and settled down to watch the Muppet Christmas Carol:



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Gary showing his grumpy face to go with his grumpy pajamas:

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The International Space Station was due to pass close to earth that evening at 5.22pm so we grabbed our coats and trotted outside to see who could spot it first.  I managed to get a photo:

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Afterwards we enjoyed some warm mince pies to heat us up again and there was a feeling throughout that we had just witnessed something special together.

That night, whilst everyone else was asleep Gary and I filled their stockings with all the little presents everyone had bought and painstakingly wrapped.  This is the sight they were greeted with the next day:


And would you believe they allowed me to lie in until 9am before opening even one present?  The girls made both Gary and I breakfast in bed and then it was onto the presents.  My lovely mum, who lives next door joined us for the grand opening of the stockings:

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In our family we never all open presents at the same time.  We go round youngest to oldest opening one present at a time, until our next turn comes around.  This means each present is fawned over, guesses are made as to its contents and then thanks given to ooohs and ahhhs afterwards with many thank you cuddles along the way!  It is long-winded but I always enjoy the care with which it is done.

Once the stockings were done, paper was tidied and we all began to prepare for the rest of the day.  It was at this point I was allowed to open my present from C12.  C12 visits one of the wonderful ladies from our church for quilting lessons.  She has been learning to quilt for a whole year and I have received many beautiful gifts from her, this one however, blew my mind.  She had made, with a lot of help from Pat (a true Titus 2 lady), the most exquisite table runner I think I have ever seen:


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Once everything was prepared we all dispersed to various corners of the house to get dressed up.  A6 wore her favourite party dress (one which belonged to her older sisters when they were her age).  C12 wore a knitted dress we bought her for passing her singing exams in September, and L12 wore her party dress from the summer:

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And altogether (not sure where B3 was at this point):


T spent most of the day glued to his new book.  He had received a book from his God-parents by Anthony Horowitz about a teenager spy.  By Dinner time he had finished it.  This is a new to us author, but it was interesting that he has written a few TV series which we enjoy (Midsummer murders, Foyle’s War).

Lunch was a bird inside a bird inside a bird with all the trimmings.  We felt very blessed to not only have the opportunity to eat so well but also be with each other whilst we did so:


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We laughed when, having pulled all the crackers, B3 insisted she could put on her hat All. By. Herself.  It took a (loooong) while but she got there in the end!

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Then it was ‘under the tree’ present opening time.  Again, presents are placed into small piles and we take it in turns to open one present at a time:

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Gary and I were so looking forward to A6 and B3 opening their present from us.  They adore the film Frozen.  Elsa happens to be the older sister with white blond hair, whereas Anna is the younger sister with red hair, much like A and B.  They picked up on this very quickly, taking on the part of each sister.  B knows all the words to Anna character and sings them beautifully and likewise A6 for the character of Elsa.  For Christmas we had bought them the dress up for each character:

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After unwrapping the presents we all went round to mum’s to watch the Christmas edition of Strictly Come Dancing.  We had nibbles and drinks whilst we all passed our (rather clueless) opinions on all the dancers.  It was a lovely end to a lovely relaxing day.

Boxing Day we traditionally spend at my mum’s house.  She does cold meats, baked potatoes and lots of salads.  Again we all dressed up, with the girls wearing their new twinny outfits they had bought themselves:


The first thing we did was to get a picture of the three generations of women.  I just love this photo, and even though it has me in it, I might just have to get it blown up and hang it on my wall:


We ate, unwrapped a gift ‘from the tree’ and played lots of games.  T12 showed Gary how to play chess, after which Gary thrashed him 2 games to 1:

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The girls sung a duet and a couple of solos, much to mum’s delight.  It was fun, relaxing and a lovely way to spend Boxing day:

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And just one last photo before I go…..

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It really has been a chilled out and relaxing Christmas.  Just how we all like it.

Next week Gary’s parents are visiting from Northern Ireland.  They come every year and are the perfect remedy for any winter blues we might be experiencing.  This year is particularly exciting as Tom, Gary’s dad, will be working alongside Gary and T12 to create a bedroom for the two little girls out of our hallway.  This will mean their bedroom will be right next to ours.  The older girls are thrilled to have the whole bedroom to themselves and are currently planning 101 ideas to implement once the little ones have moved out.  They will also, I am sure, enjoy the longer lie-ins they will get once early riser A6 vacates the room (She is up at 5 each morning and is very ready to start her day).

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends.

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  1. Thanks for this lovely glimpse into your holidays! You are beautiful just like your children. Your older girls look so much like you! I am not familiar with Boxing day, so I’ll have to look it up. Enjoy your New Year’s Eve!

    1. Thank you Sylvia.
      Boxing day is traditionally a day when trades people and servants and the like received a present from their employer. The gift was known as a Christmas box hence the name. These days it is simply a bank holiday for everyone which always falls the day after Christmas.
      I hope you and your family had a lovely Christmas and new year.

  2. Lovely photos and good to see you in some!
    We have had very similar issues with collapsing gingerbread houses. I don’t know what the solution is. The year we made our own gingerbread was the worst although the taste was the best!

    1. We succeeded in the end, by using every sort of utensil I could get my hands on to support all the structure until the icing hardened somewhat. It took over an hour though…
      Have a lovely new year Sarah.

  3. Gorgeous memories, Claire, thank you for sharing them with us! That photo of the 3 generations of girls is especially beautiful BECAUSE it has you in it!

    We had James’ and my family here for Christmas – 19 people in total. It was chaotic and wonderful. Today it’s just us and we’re celebrating New Year around the world. So much fun. Happy 2015!

  4. That was so lovely to hear of everything over the Christmas period. I wish you all a really Happy New Year to a really special church family. lots of love to you all. xxxxx

  5. Thank you sweetheart for the wonderful meal you produced on Christmas day and for all the great memories we make together as a family. Just for the record, I wasn’t drinking out of the wine bottle, it was staged! Lol. Happy new year everyone.

    1. Thank you Kris.
      I could not wait for the girls to open their present. I think I was more excited than them. It was well worth the wait!
      I hope your 2015 is all you wish it to be and more.

  6. It was a beautiful Christmas! I hope it was every bit as cozy and wonderful as it sounds – even if the gingerbread wouldn’t cooperate. And, I’m glad to know the sock exchange was “new socks” and not an exchanging of the socks you were wearing 🙂

    1. I read your gingerbread house post with glee! I needed a bit of your laid back approach last week. Why didn’t I think of turning it into a game! You are brilliant!!
      Hope you have a lovely 2015 full of lots of lovely learning along side your children.

  7. Claire, these are the most beautiful photos of you all. Your family is just lovely. The photo of you and your children and your mum is just the best. I think you MUST put it on the wall. It really is wonderful. The twins have grown into beautiful young ladies this year. T is just as handsome as can be and the littles, well they are precious. The photo of you and Gary – well, you should have more of these on your blog.:)
    Your table runner is so beautiful. It made my cry. What a special gift.
    Thank you for sharing this post. It is one of my favorites.

    1. I am not a fan of being photographed but I am trying more and more just to make sure some of the children’s memories of me include me!
      I am going to blow up the photo and frame it for mum’s birthday.

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