It’s the most Wonderful time of the year!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And stressful! And knackering! And a teensy bit overwhelming!! But mainly wonderful!! I’ve always loved Christmas but having kids around does build up to a whole new level of magic!

This year I’m determined to be more organised and as a general rule, I am! Cards were posted early, (ours generally turn up the week after Christmas!!), I have been buying for the last few months and everything is now wrapped and has been sent off to the big man at the North Pole! The decorations went up early and the house had a good ‘fettle’ at the same time so things feel pretty tidy and organised for a change! And the big ‘out out’ events are out of the way now so we can settle back, watch the logs crackle on the fire and eat mince pies!!

This year I have the added bonus of not working so I can balance things a bit better but, Christmas with a house full of kids does mean there is a lot to balance. I think the overwhelming element comes with just how much there is to remember!! Christmas fairs and concerts and carol concerts and parties! And that’s just at school! We’ve also had a number of nights out with various circles of friends, all of which have been lovely but all of which have served to remind me that I’m getting too old for this socialising business!! Going out for a meal and a few drinks seems like a good idea at the time but when your 4.30am toddler alarm clock goes off when you only crawled into bed at 1, it seems less sensible!! Buying and wrapping and seeing everyone just means that December is go go go from the offset!

We’re also jetting off just after Christmas for some winter sun so there’s another layer of organising to do! (I appreciate there is a whole orchestra of mini violins playing just for me as I whinge about having to pack!!) However, note to self- it is impossible to buy children sandals or shorts in December!!

But even with all the ‘stuff’ to do, it’s still a time of year that I love! We have established a few Thornhill traditions over the last few years… The Elves descend upon us at the beginning of December which the kids absolutely love and I hate with a passion and each year wish we’d never started! I have spent pretty much every night in the last 19 traipsing downstairs at 11pm having forgotten to ‘do the elves’! Our elves are stuffed toys which seem to emit a strong odour which is highly appealing to our dog so we’ve had to save ‘Chippy’ from the jaws of a large German Pointer on more than one occasion! The first version of the Elf didn’t make it after one of these incidents and had to have emergency surgery with Elastoplast until the postman delivered a new one and, with a discreet slip of the hand, a Christmas healing miracle occurred!

We have a lovely advent calendar tradition which I love- I wrap up 24 books and we open one a day and snuggle under a special Christmas blanket to share it together. The idea is to find a balance between new books that I pick up over the course of the year and to find old ones at the back of a shelf that we haven’t read for some time. In reality I have a serious weakness for kids books and end up buying far more new ones than I should but its tradition that we all love and that appeals to them all and I love the idea of it being a gift of time together rather than just the actual books.

We always go to ‘supper with Santa’ at the garden centre up the road with friends of ours and usually fit in a trip to a grotto of some kind! The kids have an annual date with nana and grandad to see the pantomime and the last couple of years have involved a trip to a local ‘Christmas tree farm’ to select our household tree!

Christmas Eve boxes are delivered by the elves on the evening that they make their departure (thank god!). These always have some new Christmas pjs, a Christmassy book each, some sweets and a new Christmas mug and hot chocolate shenanigans! Christmas Eve is my favourite day! If we are doing Christmas at home, we go to a local carol concert at a church up the road and get christingle oranges usually followed by a meal in the pub!! It’s all about balance! We sprinkle our reindeer food and leave Santa some beer and one of Nana Bubbles home made mince pies!! We also take a photo every year in front of the tree wearing our Christmas Pajama’s! I love comparing them year on year!

And then it pretty much follows the same path as everyone else; eating so much you think you’ll explode, drinking too much and kids reaching dangerously high excitement levels due to excessive toy opening and sugar!! Oh and a wholesome dog walk or two to ward off some of the excesses and burn a bit of energy! We’ll discuss how ridiculous the number of presents the kids have to open is, complain about how disgustingly full we feel, whinge about our expanding waistlines…. and do exactly the same again this time next year!! It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

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