Christmas Highlights 2014

So, did we all have a lovely Christmas then?

I know I certainly did, although if you told me I would a month ago, I’m not sure I would have believed you.  Isn’t it strange how sometimes a truly terrible situation can lead to wonderful opportunities that you never imagined.

It’s been a very quiet, drama-free Christmas (which is exactly what I needed after recent events).  To go through each and every one of them would take far too long, and would no doubt be thoroughly boring to read, so I thought I would just run through some of my favourite moments.

1) The Nativity Story:

My eldest daughter became slightly obsessed with the story of the 1st Christmas this year.  She took part in her school nativity play “Whoops-a-daisy Angel” and was completely adorable as one of the more pristine angels.  I ended up buying her a little Mary dress-up costume from a bargain shop, which came complete with a small, soft-toy Baby Jesus.  She carried it around for days, and even insisted on taking him to school to show her teachers.

We then took her to our local church for the Christmas Eve crib service (she obviously wore her Mary outfit), which was very cute with all the children acting out the nativity story and singing traditional carols (and a couple of non-traditional ones I’d never heard before).  It was a lovely little service and made me feel that maybe she wouldn’t just grow up obsessed with the material side of Christmas, but maybe she would embrace the spiritual side as well

2) Seeing Santa…

I think I may have lost count of the number of “Santas” we visited or were visited by this year.  Let’s see if I can list them:

  • My parents took the girls to see Santa at a local garden centre, to kick off the festive season
  • Santa visited Freya’s school at the Christmas party – Unfortunately Freya did remark that he sounded a lot like the school caretaker – there’s no fooling this kid!
  • Went for a lovely walk around a local nature reserve to discover that Santa had made a pit-stop there.  Couldn’t believe that the small gift Santa gave was the same little pencil set that I’d been coerced into buying from the gift shop only moments before – shows I should have more willpower!
  • Went on a lovely Santa steam train with my Dad and Freya.  As well as a jaunty trip on a real steam train, the grown-ups were given sherry and mince pies while the children had juice and biscuits.  Then Santa came down the train to say hello to all of the children and give them a small gift.  Freya was very impressed as she got a Disney Princess make-up set – exactly what she had asked for only moments before!  Santa really does know what you want for Christmas!

I think that was the lot, but honestly there might have been more – the big man does seem to get everywhere these days!

3) My alternative advent calendars.

For some unknown reason, I got the idea this year that I wouldn’t have a traditional chocolate advent calendar this year.  I researched novelty and non-traditional advent calendars and after some deliberation I came upon the Yankee Candle advent calendar.  Each window contained a scented tea-light candle, so throughout the advent period my house has been filled with the delicious aromas of berries, woodland, snow and cookies – I’m a bit gutted now they’ve all gone but I will definitely be looking for something a little different again next year.

On the subject of advent calendars, I did try and do Elf on the Shelf again for my Freya.  She really liked it last year, so I thought I would give it another whirl. I’m ashamed to say I only managed two days, and to be honest, Freya seemed a little overwhelmed by the whole thing.  Maybe we’ll try again next year when I have less on my mind and she is a little less distracted.

4) Food, glorious food!

Seriously, I have eaten so much this month that I have no doubt one of my New Year’s resolutions will be to lose weight (as it always is). But with all the mulled wine and rich food, how am I expected to resist?  Christmas dinner was particularly good this year.  My husband cooks it every year, and he really is getting the hang of it now – it was delicious.  I even helped by making our own homemade stuffing and Yorkshire pudding batter.  We also had a homemade Christmas pudding from last year, which was delicious, accompanied by some homemade brandy butter (with a recipe by Delia Smith).

5) Presents!

Okay, so I know I shouldn’t say it, but presents will always be one of my favourite parts of Christmas.  And not even necessarily the receiving part – I love seeing the looks on people’s faces when they open the gifts I chose and seeing if they are impressed with my choices.  But of course I did get some lovely gifts myself, for which I am very grateful.  In the Christmas 2014 hall of fame this year are:

  • Lots of lovely makeup stuff from my Mum.  (She works in Boots so I always get a nice selection of girly things)
  • Dragon Age Inquisition – a game I have been dying to play since I first heard it was being made.  Unfortunately my PC isn’t quite up to scratch to play the chuffing thing, but I’m working on that.  It will only heighten the anticipation.
  • A gorgeous new Emma Bridgewater family calendar from my sisters.  Emma Bridgewater stuff is always so pretty and the calendar looks lovely on my wall – can’t wait to start writing on it.

So Christmas is sort of over, although we still have a week before work starts again.  A week in which I need to get some serious decluttering done to make room for new toys and then start prepping for the new term.  And of course, we still have New Year to look forward to, which also happens to be the one year anniversary of this blog!  Look how far we’ve come!

Tell me about your Christmas highlights…any interesting or funny stories.  What moments will be stored as memories, to be cherished in the future?

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