Oliver turned 2 in December and is understanding much more, we explained his birthday in the couple of weeks running up to it and then once his birthday was over we started explaining Christmas. I’m not sure how much he really got, but it was great starting the ‘magic’ of Christmas with him and doing the whole Santa thing. We spent the whole of the festive period with my in-laws as we do every year (due to my family being rather dysfunctional – to put it politely) and had a really lovely time. It feels like we are making traditions and I really like that, it feels like we are gaining stability.
Christmas Prep – chopping veg, catching up and Prosecco!
The run up to Christmas was really stressful for me; baking, pulling ideas together, getting everything ready and wrapped – I do all of the ordering of Christmas presents with OH getting mine and a few other bits and bobs – I’m sure it’s a similar affair in many households. Then there was the normal stuff on top of all that but with extra washing up from baking and decorating cakes etc. Once Christmas Eve came around I felt like I could just take a deep breath in and just relax a bit and enjoy the magical time with Oliver. When I say relax I don’t mean put my feet up and chill out, but to just take it easier and not get stressed out about tiny things (like not having any tracking info for the presents I’d ordered about three weeks before!). So on Christmas Eve in the morning we got everything loaded in to the car, packed up all of the presents, (almost) all of the cakes and everything else we might possibly need what with having a toddler who makes a mess and wears nappies and whatnot and then drove over to the in-laws. When we got there we had some lunch, which was a soup that we had made in the morning to take the pan over to heat through to have with some bread so we got a chance to sit down and catch up over lunch before we cracked on with the Christmas prep.
My teenage (ok, she’s 18 so technically she’s an adult…) sister-in-law played with Oliver while my OH and I peeled and chopped vegetables ready for Christmas morning while my mother-in-law pre cooked the turkey and talked through what would be happening when with various people arriving at various times. Later on one of my brother-in-laws arrived with his partner so we had a quick catch up with them and talked through their itinerary for the festive period as the children were spending time with their Dad. In the evening we had a quick dinner before heading over to a friend’s house where they were having a little get together as they’re expecting a baby VERY soon and we were home by around 9pm. I did manage to sink 3 glasses of Prosecco though!
Christmas Day – Family time, monologues and presents
We got Oliver to hang his stocking under our tiny Christmas tree before he went to bed, it was then filled by Santa while he was asleep and he had great fun opening his little stocking presents in his pyjamas – although we learnt the lesson that we need to get him to eat breakfast and brush his teeth before we do that next year! We headed over to the in-laws again and were there by around 11am where there was much excitement with seeing his cousins who had arrived from their Dad’s house. They’re two girls aged 8 and 10 and they are absolutely lovely with Oliver, not too overbearing for him but understanding and patient. We cracked on with everything that needed doing and opened up my tin of home made flapjacks for everyone to have with a cup of tea or coffee to keep them going until lunch was served. This year was a quiet Christmas with only 15 people around the table (yes, 15, quiet…I know what you’re thinking!), unfortunately for me I was stuck in a corner next to Oliver who is learning to ‘chop chop’ his food and my Grandmother-in-law who decided to tell me she didn’t understand how crunchy vegetables were better than soggy ones because they must ‘go straight through you’. She was a chemist back in the day so I tried to explain the science behind it, but she was having none of it (as usual). I couldn’t even escape because the gap behind her was so narrow… She’s harmless really, it’s just difficult to have a conversation with her because it’s more of a monologue from her end.
Eventually lunch was finished (which was delicious), we’d had our desserts and it was time to open PRESENTS! I love when everyone gets to open their presents, I love giving gifts and we spend quite a while thinking about what we will get each person/couple. I had panicked because we hadn’t managed to get the make up I wanted to for my sister-in-law but I saw this really cool idea on Pinterest of how to give a gift voucher without it just being a boring envelope. We got an email gift voucher in the end from feel unique which let you pick a date for it to be sent to the recipients email address and I put a note inside a jar filled with sweets that just said ‘check your email’.
- For my OH’s aunt we made a little hamper with Lush goodies, hot chocolate and a shower cap (an ‘in’ joke from a few years ago) inside a little crate that can be used as a planter.
- My in laws got a gargoyle to add to their collection – he was even called ‘cute’!
- For my brother-in-law and his partner we got a bee hotel as they enjoy nature.
- My Grandmother-in-law got the same thing we get here every year – a Costco tower of treats! We originally got it because she likes keeping pretty little boxes but also because it has things she can keep for a long time inside, like fudge etc, she lives alone and is very frugal so things have to last a long time!
- For Oliver’s two cousins we got things they are interested in from their mum’s gift list – one some baking beans and mini tart cases and the other a magnet science set.
- For the grown ups we got some sweet little pegs that say ‘[child’s name]’s Masterpiece’ for them to hang in their house. They aren’t having any more children so I thought that a personalised gift was something very sweet for them to keep without worrying about them having another child that won’t have one. I ordered them from Angelic Hen, a seller I discovered through notonthehighstreet.com when I ordered a similar one for my mum.
- The little boy we got a tool set from Melissa & Doug as it was on a deal on amazon, plus a book of stickers. Incidentally they bought the exact same one for Oliver!
- For the little girl we bought a headband making set, I’m not sure how excited she was about it because she also got Frozen stuff!