Ok so I’m actually over a year late posting this….a little thing called a pandemic kind of got in the way of all my write ups and publishing, and then it felt silly to publish a Christmas post halfway through the year, so I thought I may as well leave it until I post our Xmas 2020 blog post. So here it is, better late than never!
Well that’s it, now we are into February Christmas is truly done and dusted, nothing but a distant memory of festive frolics and fairy lights all covered with a sprinkling of glitter. Our 2019 yuletide shenanigans were delightful as ever, filled with family fun and cheese & crackers galore, and as always we never wanted it to end!
Just before the festivities, however I must tell you about my crazy experience! So I was browsing through Facebook, as you do, and I came across a post from Thorntons chocolate, advertising a competition they were holding to find the next Thorntons Elf, which included the chance to win a trip to Disneyland Paris! Well that was it, I was in! They had me at
‘Disney’…oh well ok, they had me at ‘Thorntons’ really, but either way it sounded like fun, so I entered…..and would you believe out of hundreds of entrees I was picked to be one of 10 finalists to compete in the ‘Elf Factor Finals’! It was a very surreal experience, I spent the day being dressed as an Elf, and was filmed with the other finalists doing silly things like mince pie stacking, an Elf dance off and Christmas singing infront of celebrity judge Harry Judd!
Unfortunately I didn’t win but I came away with loads of Thorntons goodies and had the best fun, and I’ve now had a good insight into the behind the scenes of filming!
Come the end of November we were way too excited to leave decorating the tree any longer, so into the loft we went to gather the many boxes we needed to transform our cosy little mid-terrace into our very own grotto. I’d also ordered 2 new sets of 200 lights on Amazon in preparation as wanted to go even more twinkly than before, so then to assemble the tree, and due to the sheer size of it this was definitely not for the faint hearted! After a lot of swearing and huffing/puffing it was finally up, so on went the new lights, which initially turned out was so lucky I’d bought early, as the ones from the loft had mysteriously stopped working since last Christmas! Seriously what is it with fairy lights, that they work completely fine before you carefully store them away, and the following year they came out unexplainably tangled and dead as a doorknob?! It must only be the work of naughty loft goblins, sent to destroy things that we desperately need, and forcing us to spend even more dosh during this already money consuming joyful time of year!!!
So anyway, lights on and then the very careful placement of our precious tree ornaments first. Christmas movie on in the background, tinsel everywhere…Yes! It was really beginning to look & feel like Christmas….well, that was until I turned my back to find the next precious bauble, heard a creak, and the whole damn 7 foot tree came tumbling down with an almighty crash! I couldn’t bloody believe it! Stressed is an understatement, and the worst thing was I had to leave it until the following day now as we were due to be making cakes at my friends ready for our stall at the annual Christmas bazaar the following day, and at this point we were already late!
The bazaar went well, and finally after arriving that afternoon I could finally get on with the tree…surely nothing else could go wrong?!
Up went the tree, yet again! We actually had the genius idea of tying it to the curtain pole this time, so there was no chance of it toppling over again…unless it wanted to bring the curtain pole with it! We’d also lost one precious ornament in the process, but nothing too sentimental luckily! Then to test the new lights again, you know just to make sure…and can you believe that one of the sets had gone on us?! Honestly we’d had these lights out of the box less than 2 minutes and already they’d blown on us! We tried everything…the fuse, twisting each and every one if those 200 blasted bulbs, and just for good measure a good old shake (possibly a tad too vigorously, on account of the stress again!) but nothing worked…so family trip to Tescos it was then!
700 twinkling coloured lights later (the most I’ve ever had on the tree) our tree was finally finished, and it was definitely worth the stress! She was ribboned, tinselled, and lit to within an inch of her Christmas existence, and she also took up half the living room! But we didn’t care, our Christmas tree looked absolutely beautiful stood there in all it’s glory, and especially with the coloured lights that always make me feel nostalgic, thinking of Christmases long ago. Perfect.
Christmas for us is all about time with family and friends and Christmas days out to help get us into the festive spirit, and amongst all of this of course Sprout our Elf On The Shelf makes his annual appearance, making us laugh daily with his antics, and leaving the odd gift and day out…you may remember he’s an ever so generous elf!
Anyway where better for a day/evening out than the pantomime? This Christmas we had no less than 3 shows to attend (all presented by Sprout!) and we were all very excited! We love all that “Oh no it isn’t, oh yes it is!” And “He’s behind you!!” malarkey, and of course the singing and dancing. Our first panto of the year was opening night for Beauty and the Beast at Ferneham Hall, and it certainly kickstarted the panto season off for us. It was fabulous and had the perfect amount of audience participation and humour, and the fact it’s one of the smaller known theatres gave for a very intimate performance….I mean our seats were so close that when the lights went down we practically felt like we were on the stage too!
A few nights later we were fortunate enough to be invited to the press evening for Peter Pan at The Mayflower, and even though it was on a school night, meaning a very late night for Finley, we thought what the heck! After all the last week at school before the xmas break up usually means games and fun activities, and basically not having to engage the brain too much anyway, so we knew he’d be fine…and boy was he excited! Peter Pan is one of his fav characters, and not to mention he’s from Disney, and my goodness were we in for a treat! You can read our Peter Pan review here!
Our last show was called The Heart of Winter, at The Point and it was a small production with a cast of only 2, and although it was very different to any other show we’d been to, it had us completely mesmerized from the start….although the fact I had to sit and catch my breath for at least 20mins after the maddest dash from the carpark with not a minute to spare before the show started may have had a little to do with this! Seriously though, this production was simply captivating, with beautiful songs and wonderful props, as well as audience participation, keeping the entire audience entertained throughout. Finley was also lucky enough to go up on stage with a handful of other kids which absolutely made his day, and as this was Christmas Eve too it made it all the more special for us all.
Christmas Eve for us wouldn’t be complete without the annual Christingle service at our local St Christopher’s Church, and although we are by no means church goers, this service just sums up Christmas perfectly. We attend with other family members and their children, and It’s always packed with friendly people of the community and includes the singing of carols, the lighting of the Christingles themselves while singing in the candlelight, and then the children eating the marshmallows and raisins that have been poked onto the sticks to represent ‘Fruits of the Earth’ & ‘4 seasons’ as the whole of the church is filled with the gorgeous smell of blown out candles and we sing ‘come and join the celebration’ to really get us in the mood. This is definitely one of my favourite traditions.
And yet again, before we know it the big day is here. This year we’d let Finley sleep in our room on the camp bed as a treat…infact he’d been there the last few nights as unbeknownst to him we were surprising him with a new room and a computer…yes he’s a very lucky boy! As far as he was concerned his room was being used as a preparation room by Sprout and some other elves, as there simply wasn’t enough room at the North Pole. That suited him just fine, and worked out perfectly for us! 😉
We all woke up super early as usual…honestly we are worse than Finley! And off we went downstairs to see what Santa had left. It was an amazing morning, we were all spoilt rotten!
Then to get ourselves looking all glam ready for our day. This year we decided to go all Rockabilly as Chars family are all really into that, and we always aim to please. Our morning consisted of a visit to see my family first (Mum, Dad and Sister) for even more prezzies, and a stocking each which my Mum lovingly fills each year,
and then off to Chars Mum & Dads house for the long awaited Christmas Dinner, which I was providing, and had spent over a month prepping for, using Make aheads from Nigella & Jamie. And what a Christmas dinner it was! We started with Christmas canapès and cocktails, then onto the main event which of course included all the trimmings and more, and then a couple of hours later, when we could eventually fit it in, we had our dessert.
We rounded the night off with my family, playing games, getting merry and eating (can you believe it?!) Honestly I could have been rolled home the amount I’d consumed!
As ever the day had been perfect, spent with all of our special people.
The days in between Christmas & New Year, as always merged together, and were spent playing with our new toys & games, watching The Gavin & Stacey Xmas special plus anything else we’d recorded on our Virgin box, and lovely lazy PJ days stuffing our faces with cheese & crackers, cold meat & mash and crisps and nuts galore!
New Years Eve came, and unfortunately brought with it illnesses. Finley was full of cold and really not himself, and despite us getting all dressed up to go to the local British Legion (as he assured us he was fine and didn’t want to miss out on the party) we were actually back home by 9pm, where Finley zonked out and we got into our comfys and snuggled up in front if the TV! It wasn’t all bad though…we got to watch the fireworks from London, bringing back wonderful memories of our New Year celebrations in our capital city, where Char romantically proposed to me in front of the London Eye! You can read that post Here!
Back to school was looming, and before we knew it the Christmas shenanigans would be nothing but a distant past. We luckily had one more festive day out to enjoy at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, where we got to complete The snowman & snowdon trail on a gorgeous crisp day, surrounded by beautiful gardens, complete with a stop off for a cosy hot chocolate.
Christmas is my favourite time of the year, and 2019s was no exception. We have made lots more happy festive memories to treasure, and I always look forward to the next.
“Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal, And A Happy New Year!” ~ Home Alone
2 Birds 1 Love