Christmas 2018: The lead-up to the big day

I can’t quite believe it’s Christmas Eve. I feel as if I blinked in September and December appeared. How does that happen? Three months have just passed in a haze of work, school events and Christmas panic.

I haven’t even had a chance to catch up with what we’ve been up to, so while I’ve got a quiet minute – Stew is attempting to put the littlest down for a nap, while the biggest is watching Monsters University only lap – I thought I’d take the chance to sum up the past month.

It’s definitely been the most excited the boys have been about Christmas. At four and two, they’re totally aware of what’s happening, completely buy into the concept of Santa, and to be perfectly honest, they’ve been a combination of adorable and ridiculously wild. The wild side usually comes out when we’re with other people, so nobody in our families would believe that at times they’ve been little sweeties.

Since December 1 when our elf brought their advent calendars, they’ve been mostly bonkers. The littlest opened every day of his Peppa Pig calendar in six minutes, and on at least 20 of the following 24 mornings tried to open his brother’s Star Wars Lego calendar. He hasn’t quite worked out the concept of waiting for Christmas Day, and promptly ripped open the one present we put under the tree the moment he was left alone in the living room. Seize the day, and all that.

Both boys have woken up super early to see what was in their other calendar – it’s a canvas one with pockets that we can fill, which we bought a few years ago to avoid them eating chocolate each morning. I wasn’t going to get it out this year as it’s quite hard work thinking of something to put in every day, and they had their other calendars, but it fell out of the box while we were putting our tree up, and that was that. We had the elf to move every night, and the calendar to fill. We did a mixture of little toys, a bath bomb, and a couple of chocolates, but mostly put in notes from the elf with details of different Christmassy activities we could enjoy.

Every morning the boys (led by the biggest), have run downstairs at the crack of dawn to see what the elf has brought, so it feels like we haven’t had a great deal of sleep since November! We can’t blame them though – if we do things to build up Christmas excitement, we can’t exactly complain when they actually get excited, can we?! Looking back, I’m sure we’ll forget the bleary eyes, the attempts to coax them back to sleep, and will only remember the excitement and happiness a simple calendar can bring.

Last year I decided that we would only see Father Christmas once, as the year before the boys somehow ended up seeing him about six times. We were invited to visit him at the Principality Stadium, so that was our “main” Santa trip, but we also went to see him at our local library last weekend. Our biggest boy has said a few times that the Father Christmases you visit are people dressed up, but he then said the library Santa was real, which was lovely.

Even though our littlest boy is only two, he has well and truly got into the Christmas spirit, and has claimed to have heard his sleigh bells more than once. The biggest boy’s excitement has really rubbed off on him.

We sat down and wrote our lists to Father Christmas about a week in to December, with the biggest boy asking for mostly Lego. The littlest didn’t quite understand the concept, but happily took to the Argos catalogue with a pen to mark what he liked the look of!

Among the days (and nights) out, there have been all the school activities. From a film night, which feels like months ago now, to finding things for the school fair, giving in pounds here and there for Christmas jumper day, Uganda day (that well-known festive day), and of course creating the ultimate Christmas concert costume – an Aboriginal.

Our biggest boy’s concert was one of the highlights of my year. Since last Christmas, he’s been saying he wasn’t taking part in it, and we weren’t really sure what to do. We didn’t want to push him, but at the same time we couldn’t just let him think that if he doesn’t want to do something he can get out if it. Luckily, he came round to the idea after a lot of rehearsals in school, and we were so proud when he was given a line to say.

“We’re surfing the web” (in Welsh) was his line, which he learned along with every other part from his class’s section of the play. He knew all the songs perfectly, and it was amazing to see him singing along, and linking arms with his classmates to sing before the concert started. He was over the moon after both concerts, and I don’t think we’ll have any trouble getting him involved next year.

Another highlight this Christmas was going to an independent cinema to watch The Polar Express with pizza. We took a risk taking our littlest boy, who won’t sit still for anything, but I was so glad we did. Ok, so he lasted an hour before he wanted to leave, but it was an hour to remember. We were all snuggled onto a pallet piled with cushions in the dark, and it was so festive.

I kept looking over at our littlest boy, with his eyes wide open watching the big screen for his first cinema experience. The biggest boy was cuddled on my lap, whispering what was going to happen next, and laughing along.

Afterwards, we got the train home and some women started singing Christmas songs. I’ve never been in a real life train sing song before and it felt like something out of a film!

We’ve managed to sneak in a fair few Christmas films – isn’t it lovely how in the winter you’re allowed to not leave the house and just watch TV in your pyjamas with no judgement? I love going out in the summer and making the most of the evening sun, but I equally like turning the lights off and watching a film with the Christmas tree lights on. Throw the word festive in and you can be as lazy as you like!

I just asked the biggest boy what his favourite Christmas film has been, and he said Zootropolis … looks like he didn’t get the festive memo!

Our last Christmas event was meeting all the biggest boy’s friends that we’ve known since baby groups. Being in work means I don’t get to make the weekly catch-ups, so I was really looking forward to it. It was wild, with ten children plus two babies, and all the mothers! We’ve taken a photo of them all together every Christmas, and they’ve grown from babies barely sitting up in Santa costumes, to proper children with siblings in tow. He’s lucky to have such a good group of friends.

We’ve put out our Santa Stop Here sign, hung up the stockings, and all that’s left now before the big day is to put out a drink and mince pie for Santa, a carrot for the reindeer … and a night shift for Stew, who won’t get home until after 9am, by which time most (more likely all) the boys’ presents will be opened, and they’ll be running around the house like crazy children 🙁

It might have been a busy, and at times fraught and frantic lead-up to Christmas, but I wouldn’t change it for any of the Instagram perfect photos with matching pyjamas and perfectly wrapped presents under the tree.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *