The Christmas season, can mean a stressful haze of parties, shopping and a consumption of food that any other time of the year would be deemed unhealthy (surely it is normal to obliterate 5 fruit mince tarts in one sitting)? But looking past the empty bottles, declarations of detox and last minute dashes to the shops for more gift boxes of Ferrero Rocher, the month of December also surrounds me with daily reminders of how blessed we are. After all isn't that the wonderful thing about Christmas? Everywhere we look there are those memories of Christmases shared and a coming together, making it more than just one day of the year.
These are just a few of my favourite things about Christmas and certainly why by Boxing Day I am in need of a Bex and a good lie down.
Arts and crafts are an obsession for me and my youngest. The local art supply store rolls out the red carpet every time we come in knowing that a simple purchase of glitter glue will result in a buy-up of random MDF shapes, bags of pom-poms and balls of wire. We have Christmas art projects every year that usually deliver two hours of intense concentration and breath holding, compromise on original design due to waning patience and substandard materials topped with clapping, cart wheeling and booty dancing upon finishing said project. There is of course no correlation between our level of enthusiasm and talent, but it's just what we do.
Combining our love of artsy fartsy projects with food has been our more recent tradition of building gingerbread houses. The girls and I somehow manage to bathe ourselves in royal icing but we end up with a sweet cottage to be shared on Christmas day with the family. The hardest part is knowing when to pull the pin on the decorations. Lizzie thinks there is no such thing as OTT at Christmas time (I happen to agree), Grace just rolls her eyes and waives responsibility.
Every year putting up the tree is like an annual 'This Is Your Life' with all the precious ornaments and decorations that mark special occasions, a gift from a loved one or a place visited. My family have given Christmas decorations as gifts for years and my girls will have family heirlooms that can be passed on to them and their children in years to come, each with their little story attached to it.
The excitement of Christmas is not only generated from your own family's stories but from those in history and around the world. Naturally books play a big part of our holiday season with old favourites dusted off to share and new brightly told tales to enjoy. I have vowed to learn 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' off by heart by the time my grandchildren are born - I can see it turning into a one woman panto actually!
Family is of course the only reason why this time of year is special. The stresses and manic months prior melt away as the fun and love of Christmas takes over. My girls indulge me in my unashamed love of all things Christmas while as parents we get to enjoy school carols, end of year concerts, presentation nights and the spoils from art projects. From my family to yours I wish you the best for the season, filled with love happiness and just another slice of everything!