I’ve loved December, I really have. And, sat here, on the 2nd of January, the last day of the Christmas holidays, I’m really sad that that’s it for another year. I’m just not quite ready to go back to routines and reality tomorrow. The last ten days off work and in very much a Christmas and festive bubble have been really relaxing and special; I got to spend some much needed quality time with my little family, and it was so nice to just be – the four of us, not many commitments, not many people to see or visit, and being able to just hibernate in our PJs, watching movies, playing games, going out and about, or just chilling.
But December wasn’t just special because of Christmas, all in all it was a lovely month for the rest of the time, too. So here are my highlights:
1. Early on in the month we went to see Father Christmas on the Santa Train. It’s an old vintage railway, and it was the first time that Alex was on a train (or saw Santa, for that matter), and he was as baffled as fascinated and excited, as he loves trains. We followed that up with a visit to Bath Christmas Market, which is one of the nicest in the country apparently, and it didn’t disappoint indeed. It was a great way to kick off December and the festive season.
2. We traditionally decorate the Christmas tree on the first weekend of December, and we did just that. It was the second year that we had swapped our usual real tree for a fake one, and I have to say, I am still quite taken with how it looks and how easy it is to assemble and disassemble. I will always have a soft spot for real trees and I’m sure we will have a real one again at some point, but for now I am so glad I didn’t have to deal with millions of needles everywhere for weeks on end; a fake one is just so much easier! And the kids loved helping to decorate the tree and put the finishing touches to it. Every year I try to pick up some new decorations that will be memorable and personal to the kids, and my little collection is growing. I want to get some personalised baubles for 2017, as this was on my agenda this year and then I left it too late. So if anyone’s got any recommendations, do shoot them my way, please.
3. Becky had her first karate grading and is now a red belt. She’s really enjoying karate, and she does it with her Daddy, who is also very much into it, so I hope that they will continue this daddy-and-daughter activity for a long time to come.
4. It’s Becky’s birthday in December, and this year we held a pyjama party at our house for eight girls altogether. You can read all about it here, but it was a lot of fun and the girls – and most importantly Becky – enjoyed themselves (and I only needed one big glass of wine afterwards!).
5. A couple of days later it was Becky’s actual birthday, which was a lot more low-key than in previous years, because she’s now at school and it was a normal school day. Because we don’t have any family nearby, it was just the four of us on the day, but we still made her feel special and made a big fuss of her – and ended the day with a treat trip to McDonalds (which is what she wanted, as she’s obsessed with Maccy D’s. Go figure!).
6. Another couple of days later it was our office Christmas party; it’s always in very glamorous locations in London, but not much will be able to top off this year’s venue, the Natural History Museum. The setting was nothing short of spectacular – and even though I don’t actually care about fossils, there’s something about being photobombed by a massive dinosaur, even I have to admit!
7. On the last weekend before Christmas we went on another Santa visit. This time we saw him in a very atmospheric yurt, and while Alex was more fascinated by the setting and the lights than Santa himself, Becky chatted away to him as if they were old buddies, and ended the session by confidently belting out “Jingle bells” to him. Santa must have been very impressed, because he rewarded Becky with lots of pressies on Christmas day!
8. The main day itself, Christmas day was mostly spent opening a huge amount of pressies - so much so, that I had accidentally forgotten about three of the biggest pressies that I had hidden away a bit too well, only for two hours or so later to bring them down, muttering: “Oh, look, Santa even left some pressies upstairs!” Duh! Luckily the kids were so engrossed, they didn’t think about it further, they just grabbed them. The rest of the day was spent eating (I made a mean Christmas dinner, if I say so myself), drinking, and being utterly lazy and just chilling with the kids, playing games and watching movies. Total bliss.
9. On Boxing Day we went to Wales to see John’s parents and for Christmas Part Two. And after days of indulgence and to dust off the cobwebs, we ventured out to Mountain View Ranch in Caerphilly, which is only about half an hour’s drive from their house, and spent a wonderful day exploring the grounds and the brilliant facilities for kids there, on a very crisp and cold day indeed.
We had a quiet but cosy New Year’s Eve, with a bit more hibernating over the last couple of days. I so wish I could carry on. Why can’t December just last a little bit longer?