A Faded Seaside kind of Christmas

Christmas for us is all about family. Less about the massive pile of presents (although, Bunny may not agree nowadays!) and more about getting together and having lots of time to enjoy each other’s company. And as our family has grown, these times become all the more precious, the girls love seeing their aunties and uncles, nanna and granpa.

This year, my parents arrived from their home in France at the start of December, and on Christmas Eve, my two sisters travelled down from London to stay with my parents.

goodbye Christmas elves

Meanwhile, in our house, the magic was building. The elves went home, leaving behind some gifts to ensure a perfect Christmas Eve. We drank Snowman Soup together, watched Elf, ate winter-warming beef stew, watched in wonder as Santa passed by in his sleigh, dressed in new pyjamas and slippers, and read Christmas books. Then we hung two sorry looking empty stockings at the end of their beds and tucked down to sleep.

After a couple of close calls, Santa made his all important deliveries and Christmas morning was finally on its way.

opening Christmas stockings

Despite Bunny’s incredible excitement the evening before, she managed to have something of a lie-in but was full of delight at discovering her filled stocking when she finally awoke. We brought them through to our bed to open together and the girls quickly got the hang of pulling each present out and unwrapping it with glee.

Presents under the tree

Eventually, we headed downstairs for a breakfast of boiled eggs, soldiers and fruit juice then all got dressed ready for the big unveil of the Christmas tree, now adorned with presents. In fact, I couldn’t believe that no-one had gone in before!

Unwrapping presents

Bunny unwrapped each present speedily, eager to reach for the next one, however, Bear was much happier taking her time to pull off the paper and marvel in the contents for a while.  Much to Bunny’s chagrin at having to wait.

While the boring grown ups got everything ready for a day and evening out, the girls had lots of fun playing with their new toys; the Baby Annabel brother and Ariel & Eric dolls being particular favourites. Although the glitter tattoo pens were also a hit, alongside the Disney Princess torches and projector watch.

Christmas Day storm

We got to my parents’ house and unloaded the car, then walked down to the pub with my sister and her husband to join my parents and other sister for a Christmas Day drink. This was Roozle, our new puppy’s, first adventure beyond our street and she was a big hit in the pub! A brisk walk home in the afternoon sunshine watching over our shoulders as a storm appeared to be chasing us and then it was finally time for dinner.

Family Christmas dinner

We pulled crackers and tucked into our starters.

Sisters photobook

As we waited for the main course, my mum gave my sisters and me each a gift to enjoy. To our absolute joy, she had created a photo book that celebrated our lives as sisters and it really is truly wonderful. So many memories and photos that had been forgotten. So many bad hair days and dodgy outfits too! We all laughed together as we turned each page to discover another photo of our youth. Such a special present that I will cherish forever.

opening Christmas presents

After dinner, we finally got around to distributing the rest of the presents, much to Bunny’s relief! The girls loved their new princess outfits and the wooden make up set and immediately dressed up and started applying blusher, lipstick and eyeshadow to each other. Where did these little princesses come from? I was more excited by the Brio trains and track they’d received and the lovely Worry Bear!

Christmas hamper

My favourite present was definitely the Wake Cup teasmade from my parents that has given me one less job in the mornings. The hampers I put together seemed to go down well and it was nice to give something that was part homemade and part locally sourced. I’d filled them with local cheese and biscuits, local beer, local mint tea bags, some homemade spiced nuts and Werther’s Original vodka, pickled shallots and Christmas chocolate bark. And a mini panettone that I’d spotted in Tesco’s!

Once the girls had gone to bed (thanks to the wonderful Magicbed that we’d taken to put Bear down in), our evening was spent playing silly games, eating the cheeseboard provided by my brother-in-law and just laughing. The best part of Christmas. Just before midnight, I packed up the car and we carefully carried two sleepy little girls to the car to head home.

Boxing Day beach walk

The next day, my dad, brother-in-law, my sisters and I took a brisk walk around the bays from Broadstairs to Ramsgate and then met Bunny and my mum for drinks on a pavement terrace overlooking the marina.

Drinks by marina

We had lunch in a local pub and then went back to my parents, where the wife, Bear and Roozle joined us for the evening. Tree presents were handed round and then we picked at ham, salad, sausage rolls, and cheeses.

eating candy floss

My brother-in-law fashioned balloon dinosaurs for the girls from his tree present and my dad delighted the girls further by creating candy floss with his fun present from my sister.

story time with grandpa

And all too soon, it was all over. We said our goodbyes and headed home. My sisters went back to London the following morning and my parents went back to France yesterday.

Hungry Hippos

We’re still tucking into leftovers though and haven’t quite taken the decorations down yet, but are now enjoying some lovely relaxed family time together, taking walks, watching family movies and playing lots of Hungry Hippos!

The perfect Christmas.

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