This is the first year that Iâ€™ll be staying at home for Christmas. In Christmases past, Iâ€™ve spent the day with my family and with Peteâ€™s family, and we even spent one wonderful year with friends in Sydney when George was just seven weeks old. But this is the first year that Iâ€™ll wake up in my own bed in my own home on Christmas morning.
While Iâ€™m excited about not having to travel anywhere at all, I suddenly feel very grown-up. Like most people, whenever I visit my parentsâ€™ house (and especially at Christmas), I immediately revert to a slightly less sullen teenage version of myself. I donâ€™t do any cleaning or tidying, my old bedroom becomes instantly covered in clothes, and I slob on the sofa safe in the knowledge that an endless supply of food and drink will come my way. Now that Iâ€™m the host, the tables have turned, and Iâ€™m worried I might not have time for the important things (and by this I mean watching Elfâ€¦)
Because although weâ€™re staying at home, Pete, George and I are not planning a quiet day together, just the three of us. Although I love my quiet time, I really think at Christmas you need to have lots of family around if possible. So weâ€™ve invited Peteâ€™s family (his mum, two sisters, a husband and three kids) – and Iâ€™m cooking for us all.
Consequently, Iâ€™ve slipped into that crazy Christmas entertaining mindset and have bought in enough food to last us a month. Iâ€™ve been hoarding cheeses and boxes of chocolates for weeks, and Iâ€™m planning to make a ham. While the temptation to craft my own place-cards and make my own mince pies is strong (even though I donâ€™t really like the latter myself), Iâ€™m trying to rein in the urge to go nuts as I know I will just stress myself out. Thank God I donâ€™t have to buy many presents.
George doesnâ€™t really get Christmas yet – he knows about Santa Claus, and he can do a pretty good rendition of Jingle Bells, but he doesnâ€™t yet expect all those presents. The best thing for him will be spending the day with his cousins (who are three, five, and seven) and who, in his book, are the Best Thing Ever. Christmas with them will make his year.
I suppose what Iâ€™m most excited about is starting to create some of our own family Christmas traditions. When my parents host Christmas, we always have macaroni cheese with our turkey – itâ€™s a West-Indian tradition that my mum introduced (along with garlic pork on Christmas morning). Iâ€™ve introduced the idea to all of my friends and quite a few of them now insist on having it as part of their Christmas dinner. Macaroni cheese on Christmas Day (or with any roast dinner) just works, and so will obviously make the transition from Manchester to London this year. As for new traditions, this year when everyone arrives on Christmas Eve, theyâ€™ll find new PJs waiting for them so that they can wake up in them on Christmas Day. I love getting new PJs at Christmas, especially as I plan to spend the whole of Boxing Day in them.
George the (7 week old) Christmas elf
Merry Christmas – I hope you enjoy the day, however youâ€™re spending it!
Have you started any of your own Christmas traditions? And where will you be spending the day? Iâ€™d love to hear from you.