Our Christmas break started with the wedding of two friends I've known since university. The wedding was perfect, in a beautiful private house with lots of space for small people to run around. Unfortunately I missed most of the ceremony as my son decided that it was boring and needed to go out, but the rest of the day was lovely. The meal was more like a Christmas party than a wedding reception, with every table have a box of crackers containing a different party game - hand bells, wind-up creatures to race, balloon modelling... - party bags for the children and lots of wine and merriment. The evening reception featured a disco that alternated Christmas tunes with more conventional wedding disco songs. My daughter decided to be the party animal, staying up until gone midnight, while my son was asleep by 8.30.
We then headed to my parents house, via my heavily pregnant sister's for a bit of a run around and some fresh air (and some delicious mini mince pies - the perfect car snack, they fitted perfectly into one's mouth in one go, making for far less crumbs than most car snacks), and a chance to pass on their Christmas presents.
Christmas in Somerset was surprisingly warm; so warm in fact that we saw daffodils on Christmas Eve! Yes, daffodils in full bloom in December. I still made my daughter wear her Christmas pudding hat, even though it wasn't always totally necessary, which got many compliments and smiles. As we had arrived in Somerset a few days before Christmas, we helped out with a few of the festive tasks, such as collecting the turkey for Christmas dinner, and buying the odd last minute present. We also bought a frankly enormous pork pie (10-12 inches in diameter - we somehow managed to eat it before I got round to measuring it) - you have to make the most of feeding a crowd, I'm fairly certain my husband and I could not get through that size of pork pie on our own!
My daughter's best Christmas present arrived a few days before Christmas: two teeth. She then proceeded to spend the rest of the holiday testing them on her toys, and us if her toys weren't available.
I finally finished my daughter's Christmas stocking on Christmas Eve evening (I had almost finished it before we went away, it just needed a last-minute hanging cord), just after my son had gone to bed, so had to quietly sneak up to the bedroom to hang it without disturbing him. He, of course, had already hung his and left a mince pie out for Father Christmas.
Christmas morning started pretty late - around 8, apparently my son had forgotten it was Christmas and had to be asked to go and look in his stocking - and was actually pretty relaxed. A few of us went to church (where my son decided to use my daughter's hat to clean the pews, and spent much of the time throwing his teddy around so he could get up and fetch it. I don't think anyone minded, the Christmas day service is pretty relaxed), then headed home for the lunch that the rest of my family had cooked. By the end of lunch we were stuffed and the afternoon was a haze of Christmas presents, Christmas TV and more food. I love Christmas Day!
Boxing Day (apparently a peculiarly British Bank Holiday - the day servants and trademen receive a 'Christmas box' from their employers - only observed in former British colonies and Britain itself), the day after Christmas, used to be one of the few days of the year when everything was shut, but has become the first day of the sales these days. We went for the more traditional Boxing Day walk at a rainy National Trust property. At least the cafe was open, so I could be dry while feeding my daughter when she decided it was time for food, and my son had a lovely time stomping in muddy puddles with his grandad.
Saturday was special, catching up with school friends over a late lunch and meeting my friend's adorable three month old, who spent much of the afternoon demonstrating her tongue sticking out skills.
And then we headed back North. The middle of the country had been hit by snow, so the driving was slow in places, and we saw many more accidents that usual. Having reached my in-laws for dinner we decided to cut our losses and stay there on Sunday night to avoid any more hours sat in traffic. My son was pleased as it meant he got more time to play with the toys that he'd received from his grandparents. And driving home on Monday morning was much nicer, with far less traffic on the road.
We're now safely back in the North; greeted by heavy frost, much more festive! Now onto suitcase unpacking and catching up on the washing. At least the Christmas trees are still up. Merry Christmas everyone!