This year has been a bitch. Husband spent 2 months in hospital, the 1 year old spent almost a week in hospital and I fell out of love with my job. I think it's safe to say that the past 6 months have been a huge emotional struggle.
So with this in mind, we decided not to make the annual Christmas pilgrimage home to Scotland. We didn't want the stress of travelling with 2 small children in unpredictable weather conditions, or the expense of flights for four when the same amount of money could get us a fortnight in Turkey. We couldn't face spending 10 nights in a very small 2 bedroomed house with 2 other adults when our own 2 bed flat can barely contain us.
So we stayed at home, just the four of us. Was I worried it would be a huge letdown for Bigger? yup. Was I worried we'd regret not spending Christmas with the grandparents? yup. Was I dreading Christmas dinner with a 1 year old with a penchant for flinging food as far as possible? yup.
Were all my worries unfounded? YES!
We ended up having a lovely, chilled out Christmas day. I honestly believe the secret was not planning anything. Not even dinner. A couple of weeks ago we decided that, with the 1 year old's table manners, it would be far less stressful to just not bother with a traditional Christmas dinner. Instead, we'd bake a ham, bake some bread and have hot roast pork sandwiches. We also planned a trip to Waitrose last thing Christmas eve to pick up all the bargains and if we all ended up surviving on vol au vents all day, then so be it.
In the end, we spotted a turkey in Waitrose for a bargain price we couldn't refuse. So at 4pm on Christmas eve we decided to wing it with Christmas dinner and go traditional after-all. We'd still play it by ear and if the boys weren't up for turkey at lunch time, husband and i would eat after they crashed out.
It the end, it was beautifully easy. We hadn't had weeks to worry about buying all the essentials, so we had a simply turkey dinner with homemade gravy, home made roast potatoes, carrots and some homemade stuffing balls I whipped up last minute. No cauliflower cheese, no pigs in blankets, no elaborate starter, no cranberry sauce, not even a sprout. But it was perfect. Stress-free and perfect.
We ate, we played, we laughed. Repeat times 10. We all opened presents in our pyjamas (something we never get to do in Scotland - pyjamas and in-laws just don't mix), breakfasted on pancakes, snacked all day on the gingerbread house we'd constructed christmas eve and feasted on turkey and trifle.
There was only one episode of tears the whole day, which in my book is a bit of a result.
Hope you all had lovely days, wherever you were and whoever you spent it with. Merry Christmas!