Oh this year was a bit extra-special.. our first Christmas with our Winter baby, Sylvie. Our first Christmas as a family of four! Vivienne was so excited, Sylvie didn't know what was going on, it made everything that little bit busier than last year.. and it was all completely magical.
I loved hearing Vivienne telling Sylvie about Christmas and what happens ("this is our Christmas tree and we hang things on it.. no you can't pull them off!") whilst simultaneously remembering being very, very pregnant at the same time last year.. we were lucky enough to have a few days of snow which Sylvie was excited by, we went for lots of walks down into the town centre whilst being wrapped up warm, we had a 'friendmas' and pulled crackers a few weeks early, made a Christmas cake with Vivienne well in advance of Christmas day, made our own advent calendar..
In November we had to gently intervene with Vivienne's early Christmas list draft as it contained three pairs of trainers, an iPod and a Macbook Pro.. (she's eight. I *know*) She replied by saying "I know they're a lot of money which is why I've waited to ask Santa, then you don't have to pay for them." Well played, Vivienne. We had some thinking-outside-the-box-on-the-spot to do before gently persuading her that it was, in short, a ridiculous Christmas list. Fortunately she went on to revise it to something a little bit less ambitious..
As always, Vivienne's social calendar was busier than ours as she went on Brownie trips on the Santa Express, had Christmas discos and parties to attend, and we went to her school carol concert at a local church. Their school term didn't finish until 22nd which felt really late - half the excitement is feeling it build before Christmas, isn't it? But we made the most of the weekend before prepping veg and tidying round ready to host Christmas day (even if I was slightly worse for wear on Christmas Eve.. I didn't have any Christmas nights out last year due to bump so I guess it's OK..)
Vivienne was so excited this year, so much so that she excitedly carried her stocking into our room at 4.30am asking if the day could start immediately and she could start opening presents (the answer was no.. and 'go back to sleep'..) Ringing a bell to announce that 'he's been!' is a Christmas tradition in our house and my heart felt full watching the girls come into the living room on Christmas morning (even if it was still only 6.30am..) Vivienne bounded in and brought Sylvie to her pile of things before creating chaos in her corner opening things in a frenzy.
We have a few Christmas traditions but decided to add a few more this year. Last year, heavily pregnant, I was desperately trying to 'get things going' by walking as much as possible; including walking a long stretch along the beach and to the local farm shop and back - we've decided to do this every year. Vivienne and I made an advent calendar that contained a good deed, affirmation or something like 'think of three reasons you feel lucky today' for her to open each day; she had a chocolate advent calendar too.. I'm not that mean.. We also decided to start a little tradition between the girls where we'll give them a little money each year so they can buy each other a little gift to put under the tree; Vivienne picked both gifts this year but still wrote Sylvie a 'Thank You' card for hers.
We hosted Christmas dinner with my parents, sister and grandparents.. It went well, nothing got burnt or forgotten, there were no arguments.. all in all we had a busy, perfectly normal but wonderfully special Christmas fuelled by cheese, pate, alcohol, party food and leftovers (still feeling the effects at this end, well into January..)
I had two weddings between Christmas and New Year, and then the next stop was Sylvie's birthday on January 2nd - I think the actual chaos died down on about January 4th after Christmas, but I wouldn't want it any other way.
I hope you all had a really wonderful and special Christmas and a very happy 2018.