My daughter had complained on her blog that it didn't feel like Christmas and she told me this when I picked them up on Christmas Eve. We were going to Norbury for the Midnight Mass and I had burnt a compilation CD of Christmas songs to play in the car. Soon they were all singing along to Merry Christmas Everyone and Mr Hanky the Christmas poo (not sure if that last one was a good idea).
By the time we got back and put all of the prezzies out it was almost 4am by the time we got to bed. Ben had been funny in the church shouting Dadadada at inappropiate moments! We were up again at 8 to get the turkey in the oven while all the kids were opening their stockings. All I can say is that if the eldest hadn't felt like it was Christmas she wasn't showing any signs of that now.
Sarah's mum and brother had come back with us so there were 9 people to open prezzies so it took a while. Ben got bored waiting his turn and decided to rip open one of the largest boxes. MP3 players were the popular choice this year with 5 people getting one.
I got the following
A giant rubber duck (from Ben)
Jah Wobble CD
KT Tunstall CD
A book about beards (oops)
A book about cats
Inflatable boob bath pillow (what are you trying to say?)
and the bestest prezzies
A Chef's jacket and hat that Sarah has specially embroided!!
That was such a well thought out idea I have to take my hat off to her. I wore it while I cooked the Christmas Dinner. We were joined for dinner by Sarah's Sister and her boyfriend who were back from OZ for the first time since she moved out there 18 months ago. This made 10 people for dinner - the largest catering experience I've had yet!! It reminded me of Christmas dinners when I was a lad, first at my Gran's house and then at home with all the relatives coming for dinner. I coped well but the parsnips got a little over roasted.
It was a little sad that I had to take my two over to their Mum's house at 5pm but I think they'd had a good Christmas. One of the odd things about starting a new life is how you have to merge what you are used to at Christmas with what your partner is used too. For example I've always set fire to the Christmas pudding but this was new to Sarah. Last year we sat down and both made a list of what food we would expect and compared notes - she still doesn't understand my insistance on sausage rolls and turkish delight though!!
One of the ideas I've had to get used to is Sarah's family tradition of tree presents - small silly things left under the tree and opened on Boxing day. I have to say it hasn't been hard to get used to it but my kids made me promise that they wouldn't get opened until they got back on Boxing day evening.
The numbers for dinner on Boxing day were reduced by my girls not being there but increased by Sarah's other brother who came over for a while. Once again dinner came out ok - except those damn parsnips - frozen ones next year?!?
It snowed the day after boxing day and I was supposed to be taking the girls back to their mums. However when we set off we got about a third of the way down the 10% gradient hill near us and gave up on the idea. I parked the car on the side of the road and we walked back in the snow. Sarah and I did venture out to retrieve the car later but it was still too icy to go any further down the hill. The girls had to stay another night and even when I did take them back I struggled getting back up the hill by their mums house which isn't anywhere as steep and the one near us.
So I had a lovely but exhausting Christmas - don't think I saw the TV once and the PC was busy loading MP3's onto new players most of the time. I'd bought a copy of the Radio Times which went into the bin unread after the holidays. Oh I almost forgot to mention we got the piano tuned just before Christmas and Sarah's brother and Sister played it while they were here. Apparently it's 1920's so about 70-80 years old and in pretty good nick - so a bargain!