Precious Holiday Moments

Apologies for the long post, I’m attempting to cram four weeks worth of memories into one post.  Here’s what we got up to over Christmas:

Youth Group Christmas Fun

We host the youth group once a week at our house.  As they had mock exams close to Christmas (they are 15-16 yrs) we decided to keep things light and fun over this period.  We split the group into two and had a friendly competition.  We arranged some Christmas puns, a quiz and a final task of writing and performing the Christmas story through rap.  Oh my, this was so funny.  Here is the first group performing and their song:



and the second group performing followed by their song:




Too funny 🙂

Lots of Revision

This was a fairly common sight this Christmas as T tried to push himself to finish homework and revision for his up and coming Physics IGCSE this month.  It was hard for him though, as everyone else was having fun and doing very little work wise:


T13, the Music Man

A few months ago T decided to learn how to play the guitar.  He took to it really well and with the encouragement of his youth leader he has led his youth group in worship.

He also sings for the youth choir and occasionally in the youth worship band.  A few weeks ago he decided to teach himself the ukulele, so he could play some of the Rend Collective songs.  He is thoroughly enjoying learning and this is a very common sight these days:


Village Christmas Shopping Night

We live in this incredible village, which hosts events throughout the year to encourage the local people to shop in the local shops so we do not lose the character of the village.  The Christmas night is so much fun, with quizzes, candy floss, freshly cooked doughnuts, a hog roast roasting on the pavement (!), fairground rides, Father Christmas’ Grotto, and face painting.  In addition all the shops have late night opening, complete with drinks and mince pies.  we never have to prepare dinner on the village Christmas night!  The little girls had their face painted by a lovely lady from our church (all free, you just donate whatever you want).  I had to take some photos because she did such a beautiful job:




My beautiful girls.

The Snow Ball

My son is old enough for the first time to go to the church youth group’s snow ball.  He was on the events team and was kept busy right up to the day, decorating the church and getting it ready for the ball.  It was a Black and White event so he searched the charity shops and found black trousers, a dress jacket, a black shirt and a white bow tie.  He buys all his own clothes so it had to be within his budget.  He asked Granny to iron everything (I never iron so haven’t taught him to do it himself and I was stuck in bed ill).  He adores his granny and the feeling is absolutely mutual so I had to get a photo of them together when he went next door to show her how he looked:


It was so sweet, because although his sisters were completely envious of him being able to go and them not (they are a smidgen too young), they were so supportive, helping him get ready and generally being as helpful they could:


He had invited S14, his lovely friend who he does physics with, to go to the ball with him.  Don’t they both look gorgeous?


Christmas Day

We had all been extremely busy making the majority of our Christmas presents.  I thought I would share a few of them.

  • I made a slate hanging with the child’s name and its meaning written on them:


  • Blogs

I spent hours creating blogs for each of the older children.  Hours because I am not very tech savvy and because I wanted them just right for each child’s personality.  Once created I took a photo of their blogs’ front page and pasted it on a card, which I then popped into their stocking:


I can’t begin to tell you how pleased they were!  The blogs will remain private for a year and if they behave responsibly the blogs will become public next Christmas.

  • C made a t-shirt for Gary using a transfer which she created saying ‘Rules for dating my daughter: Don’t!’  He was tickled with it:


  • Gary had carved the most beautiful signs for the girls out of wood.  C’s said hats and was made to store her many hats and L’s said jewellery and was made to store all her jewellery creations:




  • He and I both made some signs to go on the little one’s walls saying their name and ‘you are fearfully and wonderfully made’ written on them to remind them just how precious they are:


  • Gary cut, planed and sanded a huge long board (long skate board) for T.  He bought him the grip tape and promised they would spend some father and son time together putting on the wheels and grip tape:


  • T made door signs out of wood he had cut to size and sanded and then stuck scrabble letters to:


He made one for each sister, one which said ‘The Boss’ for Gary to take to work and one for me, which I was over the moon with:

present 1

  • I bought, and did not make, a hat and a pocket watch for Gary to go with his tweed jacket he had bought himself a while back.  He was delighted:


  • L made everyone the most beautiful jewellery, including some very cool cuff links for Gary:

present 4

  • C wrote the fruit of the spirit on some stones and gave them to me:

present 7

  • The littles, with my help, downloaded cookery ebooks for C, jewellery making ebooks for L and printed out guitar chord to T’s favourite music bound into two books.  They decorated the covers for each book:

present 6

As you can see, T has been putting these to good use already!

I’m sure there was more but I think I have included most of it!  We had great fun both making and receiving our home made presents and will definitely be doing the same next year.

Mum joined us for Christmas day and came bearing gifts as Mrs Santa:


You’ve got to love a woman who will dress like that for Christmas, haven’t you?

Boxing day we go round to mum’s house, but I didn’t get any photos of that at all 🙁

Our New Book Giving Tradition


I will probably write about this later on in the year but having seen a wonderful post from Leah on almost unschoolers about the giving of books just before Christmas, I thought what a great thing it would be to do after Christmas when things have dies down a bit.  Ooooh, we all LOVED this new tradition and I can definitely see me doing it long into my dotage!  Here are the books I chose for every one:


and here they are unwrapping them:


Yes, they were just a little bit pleased!

New year was quiet as Gary was working both New Year’s eve and New year’s day.  We had a really lovely relax and with Grandparents coming today, we won’t start school for at least another week.

Weekly Wrap-UpCollage Friday at Homegrown Learners


  1. Wow our Christmas was extremely full wasn’t it! I love all the pictures! Thank you Mummy and Daddy for a wonderful Christmas!😁 love L13

  2. Wow….it is amazing how much happens over the Christmas season. T13 you look just like Daddy, the resemblance is uncanny. Mummy thank you for hosting, organizing, preparing and all the other things you do to make it an enjoyable time. Thank you to all my family for an amazing Christmas.

  3. Looks like you’ve had such a fun, well-planned Christmas! What neat ideas for gifts, and I love the blog idea for each of the children (with good ground rules). Your littles are adorable in those painted faces, and your T is all grown up in his tux (and bought by himself! Imagine!) A nice event for the twins to look forward to attending next year. Their Hat and Jewelry signs are great! You and Gary are so creative! Love it all!
    And look at those responses up above…how lovely is that to receive gratitude right on the blog from your lovelies! So sweet!

  4. I love all the presents you guys made. A few years ago my Mom (at my instigation) gave Jeff a tshirt saying “Dads Against Daughters Dating; shoot the first and word will spread,” which he also loved.
    T looks so grown up dressed up for his ball.

  5. You have such a beautiful family and I loved the handmade thoughts put into your gifting.

    …and in response to your comment: I, too, wish we lived near and could sit with a cup of tea and homemade goodies and chat 🙂 You are such a dear and often come to heart when I look for mentorship in areas I struggle. I don’t always feel like the “fun” mom and I feel like you spark that in your writings!

    May we continue to grow together!

  6. What a wonderful wrap up! I really love the book giving idea. I may have to add that one in next year. Your kids are growing up so fast. I know, mine are too! It is shocking sometimes. The wooden signs are marvelous.
    Blessings, Dawn

  7. Oh my goodness your Christmas looks wonderful. What a great group of kids you have. And how they are growing up!!! I absolutely love your homemade gifts. I want to show them to Keilee so we can try a couple of them. I hope 2016 is amazing for you all!!!

  8. I love the handmade gifts! What a great idea and a special treasure to have.

    I featured your post on Jesse Bear on my BFIAR and FIAR link up this week. Please feel free to link up this week, as well!

  9. I love the gifts, they’re all so personal and beautifully made! I’d be interested to hear a bit more about the approach you’re considering taking regarding dating; I’ve heard of some strategies that make me worry about the young people’s ability to make good decisions when they’re older (not enough freedom to learn how to discern) and also see the benefit of protecting teenagers from making bad mistakes (not enough maturity to discern at all). I suspect you will have some really useful thoughts on this 🙂

    1. Right now the general consensus is no dating until 16 but to be honest we would be flexible depending on the circumstances. Group dating is obviously more preferable to alone dating. We’ll just keep the lines of communication open and figure out something which suits everyone. Compromise, compromise, compromise!

  10. Claire, your homemade Christmas turned out lovely. Everyone’s presents are very special. Homemade gifts are just the best. T and S do look gorgeous and way too grown up! The girls’ face painting is the prettiest I have ever seen. Your youth group activity looks like lots of fun. Granny looks absolutely adorable as Mrs. Santa. Looks like your holidays were filled with fun and laughter; so fitting for your sweet family.

    1. We had a lovely Christmas bar all the illnesses going around. The home made presents were a hit and we will definitely be doing something similar next year.

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