60 days. 2 exact months. 1440 hours (depending on what time you’re reading this!) Yep, sorry, but I’m talking about Christmas before we’ve even had Halloween or Guy Fawkes night. But it’s ok, I’m not going to bore you (yet) with my personal letter to Santa, the top buys for 3-year-olds in 2017, or the ultimate guide to Christmas decorating like a pro on a budget. I’m not fully in Christmas mode yet! That being said, we started to seriously discuss our Christmas plans some time around July this year.
Staying Home For Christmas
This will be our second year celebrating with both kids, and the first in our new home. Last year with a 5-month-old and nearly 3-year-old we agreed with family and friends that we wouldn’t be leaving our house over the Christmas period. Everyone got it; dragging the kids around here there and everywhere was just going to be a ball-ache, and no-one needed to deal with my grumpy kids (and me) who just wanted to be at home playing with their new toys.
I was totally up for having an ‘open house’ over Christmas, and told everyone that there’d be food available whenever (if) they wanted to pop round, and it was great because everyone did. We were a bit like a drop in centre for a couple of days, but I loved it. The kids were relaxed and happy, no-one had to get dressed, and the food and drink was flowing.
If It Ain’t Broke…
After the success of Christmas 2016, and with Wills being older and more alert to what’s happening, it wasn’t even in question if we’d do the same this year. As it gets ever closer, though, I’m beginning to wonder how much of a success this year is going to be. I think we took for granted, perhaps naively, that all of our family from the city would make their way to us. Not necessarily at the same time, but at one point or another over the Christmas period. I was prepared for a week of straight cooking and buffet laying (and quite looking forward to it, too!) The idea of a bustling house over Christmas, squeezing relatives onto garden chairs to get everyone around the table, and kids running riot is exactly how the festive perio plays out in my head.
Of course, everyone has their Christmas wishes, and for most people the idea of driving over 100 miles to sleep on someone’s fold out bed in their office really isn’t up there on the list of #ChristmasGoals. I get that. Everyone wants to relax at Christmas just as much as we do. And work schedules just aren’t as flexible as they once were; my mum bless her has just 4 days off work over the Christmas period, and 2 of those are weekend days that she would have had off any other week.
So we will be here, and we will have an open house policy just as we did last year. And hopefully we will see lots of friends and family, but maybe we won’t. And I guess that will be ok too, enjoying some proper family time. Except we all know how that’s going to turn out, don’t we?!
Make Your Own Traditions
I think trying to organise our Christmas plans for this year has just reminded me how far we are from some of the people we love the most. We made the decision to move in the summer for all the right reasons, and I wouldn’t change our decision for the world. But I didn’t expect to miss everyone quite this much. For someone who’s happiest in her own company, it really has been the thing about the move that has shocked me the most.
I suppose, though, as much as I love my own company, I also relish the role of host. I like cooking for everyone, preparing buffets, laying the table, and most of all sitting around the table together (or the floor like the year we had no table). I’m a traditional woman at heart, when it comes to family at least, and Christmas is the biggest of our traditions.
Just Not KFC for Dinner..!
For the first time, I understand my mum when she says she doesn’t enjoy Christmas half as much now as she did 10 years ago. Stuck at home with 3 boys; 18, 17 and 50 going on 15. They’re not interested in table settings, would all gladly have KFC for Christmas dinner, and barely look up for their respective PC’s and gaming consoles all day. She might as well be on her own.
It’s not quite the same here; I will have the kids all excited and screeching about Santa and chocolate all day (that includes Mr C). My house won’t be empty but it will feel like there’s something missing, that’s for sure.