An early family Christmas

In my household we have always had multiple Christmas meals due to my father being in the Army. That’s just the life you live when a member of your family is part of the armed forces.

Christmas to me isn’t the 25th.

It’s when my family can be together. This year I get two Christmas’s and even though I cooked a turkey yesterday, I can’t wait to eat Sue’s Christmas meal and Boxing Day feast.

I just love Christmas.

So I have spent the entire week gutting my house, so even though my downstairs is tidy my upstairs needs a bit of TLC. But let’s get back to Christmas. The bit I was most looking forward to was dressing up my dining room and setting the table. As much as I love a beautiful table scape in my family we eat family style, with everything on the table so you can eat as little or as much as you would like. So I knew I couldn’t add too much to the table.

Instead I dressed my mantle.

I did that manic impulsive panic online shopping for candlesticks, I couldn’t find any. I almost bought some boring glass ones from Amazon. In the end I decided to just use glass bottles. I used two gin bottles from Marks and Spenser ( I keep pretty bottles ( okay I did finish one of them off because I needed the bottle)). Then I used some beautiful London essence tonic water bottles as candlesticks, and to be honest I love them. They refract the light and are really lovely.

I feel good that I didn’t spend any money ( I don’t have) on candle sticks that I don’t love. I tried this year to be more purposeful in my purchasing, I still probably wasted money but I don’t want to add to landfill, anyway back to Christmas.

At 9pm the night before I sat down and planned my Sunday, wrote my card, made some personal baubles with our initials on them to act as place cards. I wrote a list of jobs that I needed to complete, so I then could plan the order of the day. I popped the any extra baubles in the glasses for my nephew and their cat. Gav had made a ham, I made some honey mustard sausages and after I set the table I was going to settle for the night.

My dining room has a red fireplace, but I bought green charger plates so I can use them all year round. I wanted my colour scream to be green and soft.

I set my table the night before ( at 10pm) so I don’t have to rush it the next day. I placed my Marks and Spenser dishes, then our pudding bowls, our anniversary napkins then a Christmas bauble I made for each of us, including our pets. I popped the wine glasses on. I bought some beautiful crackers from Marks and Spenser that matched my charger plates and were full able. So I popped some gin minis in ours and for my Sister in law a l’occitane hand cream.

One of my first jobs to do in the morning when I got up ( after showering and getting ready) was to mop the downstairs. So I thought it was best to dress the mantle first incase I created more mess, I had already put all the candles up the night before. So I popped out into the garden and picked a few sprigs of holly. My holly tree has long branches filled with leaves, it is variegated with few prickles. I will keep it up over Christmas because it looks beautiful. My Japanese Kokeshi dolls stayed in pride of place, their soft red colours working beautifully with the Holly and the red wall. I didn’t buy any new candles, they are all left over from our wedding. I only burned two leaves but because the foliage was fresh it didn’t catch fire which was lucky. I also strung up our glass festoon lights ( also from our wedding) to create a bit more atmosphere.

Then I mopped, I popped the kettle on made myself a cup of tea and placed it and a mince pie in the sitting room, then mopped myself in. I have a lovely twenty minute break whilst the downstairs dried.

The food was delicious, the wine was flowing ( for me) and I got to hold my baby nephew and spend time chatting with family. I was in and out of the kitchen and I made so much veg it delayed our meal by an hour, the turkey was well rested and succulent. I did burn the sausage pie but just a bit and it still tasted good.

Most importantly I got to see my brother, sister in law and new nephew. Friends and family truly is the most important thing. I got to hug them and hold them. To look at there faces, greet them, chat with them, laugh, discuss and love them. They would not have cared if I had made no effort and just ordered takeout. But I wanted to look after them, to share Christmas with them.

Christmas is about love. that’s it.

I hope you truly have a wonderful Christmas.

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