In a very strange and unpredictable year, we did still manage to pull off our usual Christmas, with of course, too much food and plenty of presents. Christmas 2019 was busy and hot, with plenty of travel, bushfires, hazardous smoke and a January trip to New Zealand planned. We were talking about how the following Christmas (2020) we’d be siting in the snow somewhere in Germany, Austria or Switzerland, eating a hot meal, having our long-awaited next white Christmas trip with the kids (the first was Christmas 2015). We talked about how we weren’t going to need to put the tree and decorations up and we could leave well before Christmas and avoid the end of year busy-ness.
Well as we know 2020 had other plans. We did thankfully get that trip to New Zealand in January but that was our last family overseas travel…… and who knows when we’ll be international travellers again. We were just grateful we’d made it up to Queensland for a little get away in October/November and escaped the latest round of border chaos.
In a year where both so much and so little happened, the end of the year was almost as busy as normal. Thankfully less school concerts (a virtual one was so much easier) but just as many dance performances, swim meets and sports end of year functions. We did find time to make gingerbread houses with friends. Nine kids constructing their own houses was an event to behold. Next time the adults are baking and constructing with gin, and the kids can just coat them in sugar!
They did have a lot of fun though and the sugar fest lasted for days!
Finally school was done, we had a week to get the last minute shopping done, wrap the presents and prep the house for Christmas day. It was probably the last day of the school holidays that the house will be vaguely clean!
It was Christmas Eve and the kids were allowed to open the the presents they’d received from friends and family by post. Vouchers and books are always a winner…….
The kids were all finally in bed. Anto and I had knocked off the first 100km of our Festive 500 riding challenge, making a nice calorie deficit for Christmas lunch. The presents were out and the table decorated and ready to go, thanks to Granny’s super organising and decorating skills. The kids loved their wooden names for their place setting, and we only had to glue Zinnia’s back together once or twice before we made it to Christmas lunch!
We’d managed to get the tree up by early December this year. It was only all the Christmas lights that were a challenge. Anto spent hours on the roof putting all our ever-expanding collection of lights up. They were eventually all done by about a week before Christmas and I didn’t even get a good photos of the finished product. The kids were impressed though and planning a further expansion for next year…….
We were definitely all ready for the excitement of the next day!
The big day arrived, and the kids didn’t sleep in, but we did make it til 7am. The excitement was high. It’s pretty good to be a kid at Christmas 🙂 Zinnia was most definitely right into it this year. Our biggest issue was stopping her from ripping into everyone else’s presents!
Mum and Dad managed a coffee between the first few rounds of presents, and after a small break for the kids to inhale some nutella infused breakfast, we were back to it.
As usual everything had to be pulled to bits and modelled immediately. Adding to the adult stress levels as things went missing. The kids weren’t fussed though, they had plenty of new favourites every time something got opened.
Zinnia is an excellent age for Christmas fun, and scored big with toys, puzzles, books and clothes. She didn’t know what to play with first, but eventually had enough things opened that she stopped trying to open everyone elses!
Before we’d made it to the end our present pile, it was time to start on Grandma and Grandpa’s. Then uncle Mikl arrived and we had extra people to hand gifts to and get gifts from.
It was time to tuck into the snacks while we attacked the presents. Cheese, dip and punch are always a good way to start the Christmas eating. We did resist trying some of our new gins and scotches. That would be needed to help with the cleaning up!
Before long Granny, Aunt Triona and Liam arrived. More presents and more food. We still had plenty under the tree from us that we hadn’t even gotten to, but the kids were slowly working there way through, getting Uncle Mikl to carry presents down to the snack area so they could play and eat simultaneously!
Aside from all children receiving both way too many things, and way too many things with small parts that end up everywhere (even weeks later), there were no end of hits for the adults and children alike.
The morning was whiled away with kids playing and sorting out all their new loot. Soren was particularly stoked when he woke up in the morning to find his new desk that we (with Uncle Mikl assistance) had constructed and gotten down 3 flights of stairs and lifted over his bed and installed while he was still sleeping, late on Christmas Eve. A fun Christmas Eve activity between riding, cooking and cleaning!
Zinnia just had so many new things, that even a couple of weeks later she is still discovering her favourites. Astrid did well with craft projects and outfits that she had to of course model……..
Christmas isn’t Christmas without of course plenty of food! We could have dined all day just on the antipasti, cheese platters and dips but there was plenty more to come………
Luckily the weather had blessed us with a day in only the mid-20’s. One of the only Christmas days in recent memory with no aircon and the windows open. Lovely weather for a mostly hot lunch.
The menu was: Ham with honey glaze; turkey with cranberry and apple stuffing; brussel sprouts with burnt butter, black garlic and tahini; potato bake; roast veggies; confit garlic green beans; parnsip, mushroom and barley wreath; home-made cranberry sauce; turkey gravy and a veggie gravy; and, a mixed salad with eggs. It was all delicious!
Absolutely no one was hungry after that! The usual discussion was about how much we could eat and still fit in dessert later…….
Before dessert, Zinnia self-voted for a nap. She must have been tired! It’s tough work being barely 2 and having a full day of presents and food 🙂
A good Christmas dessert will wake you up. This year, our home made Christmas pudding, Anto’s delicious custard and I also made a choc-salted caramel sparkling strawberry trifle. Yum!
Full of delicious food, the afternoon stretched ahead with much playing for the kids and an epic amount of kitchen cleaning for the adults. As usual we had a pretty great day 🙂
With so many new toys, books and activities there has been non-stop playing and crafting. Even if Anto’s 3D printer has been taken over by Soren to feed his Titanic obsession.
A couple of days after Christmas, there was another special treat. The big kids received a trail ride as a present from Grandma and Grandpa. Zinnia was definitely too young but did come along to watch them get set up. All decked out in riding gear Astrid and Soren were good to go.
Astrid was on ‘Romeo’ and Soren was on ‘Speedy’. Both ponies were much smaller than some of the horses the adults on the ride were on, but plenty big enough for Miss A and Master S.
With a little instruction, they were good to go……… off and racing, or at least walking slowly!
Both kids had a wonderful time in their hour long ride. We are still refusing to buy them a pony though!
With Christmas done and dusted the time time the school holidays is slipping away. 2020 was definitely not the year we planned and I can’t say I’m all that sorry to see the back of it. Who knows if 2021 will be an improvement but we can only hope!
A very Merry Christmas 2020 style from all of us, where in typical 2020 style we couldn’t even take our Christmas card photos without a cow invasion. A cow of a year it was…….. plenty of unexpected twists and turns but plenty of good bits too.