Perfect Christmas – does that exist? is it the perfect set of photos of the family singing happy carols in reindeer shirts, eating an amazing 8-course dinner and then happily opening the presents that were just what they asked for? Or passing our from being too tired after all the shopping and queuing, cooking and cleaning at home? I think everyone’s got their own idea of the perfect Christmas and we are hoping to find that Shangri-La also.
I think we started very well – put up the trees in November, managed to hang the lights outside two weeks ago, added some garland and bows – even the Advent calendar of numbered buckets made it up in the last minute and I didn’t forget to place some sweeties or other little surprises for every day.
The children had even written their Santa letters at school, and two hours online pretty much covered it all and then some more, wrapping lasted til’ 3am few days ago and all sort of seems to be wrapped up. Since we’ve been moving around quite a bit the past few years, we haven’t really developed too many Christmas traditions – and at the same time we sort of like to follow all Finnish traditions (as I’m a Finn), Spanish traditions (my husband’s a Spaniard), English traditions (all kids were born in London and we consider England our home country) and added all the fun celebratory bits from the other countries we’ve lived in: France, US and China. Quite a lot of celebration to do there!
Couple of years ago it was Christmas at Lake Tahoe, then in Bali, followed by one with Spanish grandparents with pre-Xmas trip to Iceland and very little time to prepare for the big day. This year we are at home in sunny England (surprise as the morning was grey and rainy) and have just returned from a short trip to Morocco, followed by 4 days in tennis tournaments in opposite ends of England: Lincolnshire and Bath (which is amazing at Christmas time). That left me about 12 hours to prepare for Christmas and sleep – and I chose to sleep and have a glass of wine!
My lovely husband braved the busiest food shopping day with the twins yesterday ad got us some food and planned the menu, and cooked everything with the assistance of the kids. The store was already a bit empty from some key ingredients, but we’ve learned to improvise so it’s ok (bar for forgetting the wine and champagne, so last minute dash might be needed…)…
We all got up unusually late and had a Finnish Christmas breakfast of rice porridge (which we learned to make with the rice cooker, hip hooray for that amazing machine with timers and all) and panettoni (we’ve always loved italian and German Xmas treats and they are probably our no 1 traditional Xmas food to have), followed by the kids getting the last treats of their advent calendar and watching the Snowman and the sweet sequel the Snowman and the Snow Dog (hard to believe but the Snowman is always shown on Xmas morning on the Finnish TV!).
This year’s Xmas novelty is Christmas swim – I sent the hubby and kids off while doing a bit of spot cleaning and last present wrapping (thanks to Amazon’s next day delivery) and now I’m enjoying a bit of wine and choccies and some Xmas carols. All’s good so far.
it really looks like we’ve managed to strike that balance this year and completely de-stress from the Xmas must-do list. My check list reads few things that should make everyone happy: calls to grandparents (one of which is delivering the Santa’s greeting of course at 6pm, as in Finland the Santa brings personally the presents after 6pm on Christmas eve), the kids are happy when they get a few Xmas movies, their presents and some sweeties.
The husband is happy when he gets to go on a run with our eldest and a row for an hour a so and me, I am happy that my kindle started working again (although Santa might have a Paperwhite upgrade up in his sleeve) and I can curl in the corner of the sofa with my glass of wine and some treats and my latest Xmas novel – and that I didn’t have to spend hours cooking for the big meal…
I sat at home alone, listening to the Christmas Radio and wondering if Christmas can really be stress-free, easy and fun for all, and looks like it just might, so fingers crossed for that. Luckily I also have other back-up Christmases to fall to if everything doesn’t work out: on Christmas morning the kids get their little Christmas stockings, on Boxing day we’ll head to London to see Disney on Ice and in early January the three kings will deliver few more presents the Spanish way…
So, from my sofa I’ll wish you all a very Merry and Stress-free Christmas, raise a glass of champagne after a lovely dinner!