A Camelid Castle Christmas

Astrid still has no clue about Christmas, although she had been fascinated by the large pile of presents sitting around under the Christmas tree, and the shiny the baubles on the tree!  As she was totally oblivious to what day it was, once she was up we had a leisurely breakfast of coffee and crepes (expertly made the night before by Anto). The crepes were delicious and were filled with our choice of strawberries, cream, banana, nutella, lemon and sugar. We might not be in France any more but we can still eat crepes!

After breakfast, with both sets of grandparents and uncle Mikl now present , we started to open presents. Astrid was quite excited to be sitting on the floor on a cushion, surrounded by a huge pile of gifts to open. She ripped into the paper and was helpfully giving Uncle Mikl all the cards, Grandma the paper and keeping the presents in a pile.  There was an order to these things, apparently, even 18 month olds know that!  It was quite hilarious when she opened a present of some clothes and threw them over her shoulder in disgust. Apparently everything was better than clothes!  Various presents became favourites throughout the morning. First the green mug from Switzerland, then the stuffed possum and finally the bike.  We held off on the bike to the end as we knew that would be a huge hit, and it was.

Everybody else also got a turn to open presents (with Astrid helpfully assisting).  Anto was oh so surprised about his copper cookware from Paris……… luckily Astrid surprised him with a remote control helicopter which was a favourite.

After what seemed like hours of present opening it was time to set up for lunch and get to the eating and drinking.  This years theme was blue and white but we chucked some red in there for fun. The table was all set up ready to go. The punch was made and the snacks were out.  We feasted well while everyone arrived and the lunch was being prepped.  Lots of lovely dips (thanks Triona) and a fantastic cheese and fruit platter by Andrew and Alison.

Luckily as every new person arrived, more presents appeared for Astrid and she had a great time opening them, and playing with all her new loot.  She didn’t quite understand what was going on, but it seemed like a pretty awesome day to her.

Just before lunch we got the news that Nan was being released from hospital in time for Christmas lunch and some of the men folk set off to fetch her.  Meanwhile Astrid had a lovely nap while we slaved away in the kitchen for our Christmas feast.  This year was a low key meal so a variety of roast veg (prepared by Lorraine) along with some confit garlic beans, a sweet potato roulade with Christmas stuffing for the vegetarians and the turkey lovingly basted and stuffed with pork, apple and cranberry stuffing.  There was Anto’s delicious turkey gravy (well I hear it was delicious, according to the meat-eaters) and fresh cranberry sauce. We also baked some sourdough to go with the lovely French butter we were having for old time’s sake!  Astrid was up from her sleep and Nan arrived in time for lunch so we cracked open a bottle of Moet, to celebrate the occasion. Lunch was all around delicious and no one went hungry. Astrid particularly enjoyed her selection of food.

Despite all being headed towards a food coma, we managed to tuck into some dessert of the white chocolate and marscapone tart with raspberries. This was deliciously accompanied by our home-made salted butter, caramel icecream, and hot salted butter caramel sauce. If that wasn’t enough we had to have Nan’s Christmas pudding which went well with Anto’s lovely vanilla custard, that he happened to whip up with his new copper bowl and saucepan. Some people tried to eat all the desserts at once……. they shall remain nameless! Most of us took it in turns to eat our way through the dessert selection. Astrid still wasn’t sure what the day was about but all this delicious food was making her happy! I’m pretty sure she ate a bit of every dessert…….

The afternoon was finished off with Astrid trying out her new trike while walking the alpacas and a whole lot more eating, drinking and playing………… oh there was the mountain of washing up but aside from that it was a great afternoon.  A certain young lady slept well that night……. full of yummy food and too much excitement. Watch out Christmas next year, Astrid is ready for you!

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