I am sat here writing from the no-man’s-land betwixt Christmas and New Year, where its hard to keep straight what day it is and what I’m supposed to be doing. Its really lovely having Conrad off work and the boys home from nursery/school, and with me only doing bits of work here and there. But I must say I’m yearning for a return to routine already and it’s only the 28th. I’m also feeling lethargic from my over indulgence a bit; as much as I’m enjoying my chocolate and wine right now, I’m also looking forward to taking a break from it come January. Or at least toning it down a bit. Anyway, before Christmas descends into a distant memory and January arrives with it’s inevitable dreariness, I thought I’d write a little about our Christmas, from the magic and enchantment of watching a child’s face on Christmas morning to silently screaming at them to go the fuck to sleep already.
The boy’s were so excited that by Christmas Eve they’d basically whipped themselves into monstrous little yuletide terrors who were seemingly just so buzzing they couldn’t contain themselves. We had more toilet accidents. We had more tantrums. We had boys wandering into our room in the night. We had behaviour that made me want to throw their Christmas stockings into the fire (I didn’t, but I fantasised about it). This wasn’t isolated to Christmas Eve but began the day Frank finished school. Christmas Eve was the worst though. Like a crescendo of bad behaviour they reached a peak, and after a lovely time at my mum’s (in which the boys were incredibly naughty but there were enough adults around to contain them) we hastened home in Christmas pyjamas and put a mince pie, milk and carrot out for Father Christmas and his venison entourage. We tucked the boys in and gave them a stern reminder that Santa wouldn’t come unless they were asleep. The three year old complied but the five year old did not; he got up every hour from 3am throughout the night until eventually it was morning. Shockingly, despite his wake ups, Santa had indeed been. I have no doubt he will remember that next year. On Christmas Day they were absolute angels in comparison to the behaviour we’d endured in the build up. They abandoned their toys to travel to their Auntie Lottie’s without much grumbling, they sat nicely for Christmas lunch, and they played with their little cousin Teddy beautifully. It was the best present I could have wished for. And ultimately shows how much the excitement played a factor in their awful behaviour.
I was really pleased I managed to source about half of my gifts from charity shops this year and was feeling pretty smug about how I had bought and wrapped them all before Christmas Eve (which is good, for me). But alas the price of being organised when you’re just pretending and you have no real skill in this area is this; something will go wrong. I had hidden a lot of wrapped presents in different nooks around the house; under beds, cupboards and high shelves. So when it came to Christmas morning it took all the presents being unwrapped to realise I’d left an entire bin bag of gifts in the spare room wardrobe, crying out to be put under the tree and probably wondering what the hell I was playing at. Sorry about that, presents. It was alright in the end though, the boys quite enjoyed a last minute extra gift, and we all had a laugh at “silly mama”.
Christmas food is the best and definitely a highlight but we did make an error this year in neglecting to properly read the list of ingredients. Conrad is intolerant to rice; no worries, we thought, Christmas Dinner doesn’t involve rice (traditionally anyway). But alas – the stuffing and gravy we merrily consumed did contain rice flour unbeknownst to us, which resulted in a very poorly husband all Christmas day evening and boxing day. Lesson learnt.
In the build up to Christmas we did two festive excursions that I loved, and I think the boys did too (although honestly I think I enjoyed it more than them). But as with anything to do with children no day trip is perfect and its a general rule that my day trips include the line “it was lovely but…” We went to Swanage and enjoyed a Christmas steam train ride with family which was breathtakingly magical, but they closed the toilets on board due to covid and one of the boys had a rather messy toilet incident. We went to Longleat and saw animals and amazing Christmas lights but our three year old did punch a seagull. Merry Christmas indeed.
Our Christmas morning traditions include salmon, scrambled eggs and bucks fizz for breakfast, present opening, and Christmas songs in our kitchen disco. I must say the lateral flow tests are an unusual addition but one that I didn’t mind at all. Although it was quite nerve-wracking watching the tests for a faint second line thinking; if we are housebound and can’t go to Christmas at Lottie’s as planned, what will we have for Christmas dinner? Chicken dippers from the freezer and beef Bisto was my back-up. So I was very relieved that they were negative. I felt incredibly lucky to spend Christmas with my family, especially knowing that so many people spent it alone, or were spending their first Christmas having lost loved ones. The ongoing pandemic is a constant looming presence; I felt it when I wondered whether I should hug my mother-in-law or not, I felt it when my I messaged my friends that were isolating away from family because of positive tests. But on Christmas Day there were moments I didn’t think about it at all; reading terrible jokes from Christmas crackers, watching the boy’s play, picking which pudding to have (both, obviously). Viruses don’t care about religious holidays but for brief moments during Christmas – I didn’t care about the virus for a while.
I ate way too much pud, I got to see friends and family I haven’t seen in ages (Covid safely, of course), and most importantly – the boys had an amazing Christmas. I’m not religious anymore but I bloody love Christmas. We may have had some tantrums, missing presents, poo mishaps, and some rice-induced sickness (sorry, Conrad) but all things considered – we had a blinder. And I feel overwhelmingly, exceptionally lucky. Merry Christmas everyone, and as tiny Tim famously said in A Christmas Carol; “where’s the quality street lads?”