Christmas 🎄 Day Sparkles ✨

This week rather than do a week of Little Sparkles I’m focusing on the big day itself, Christmas Day. I’m hoping these are the memories which will warm my heart when I’m a little, old lady in my cosy retirement home. Christmas Day is busy and intense although you never really feel it until the late evening when you finally sit down to relax. We spent Christmas Eve night listening out for little sounds thus making a poor night’s sleep and then it’s finally a 6am wake up call.

Presents

Mr S and I work hard together to get the presents right. It really is a shared job and he has done numerous shopping trips to big town to buy the bigger items. I’ve had the fun job of the stockings, sometimes it’s the little things which bring great joy. A multi purpose pen, consisting of a ruler, spirit level. screw driver and pen was a surprise hit and my old iPhone with a SIM card and a data allowance was the tops! Little Miss is very style conscious now so she has clothes, footwear and make up whilst Little Man loves his new army game mat and scooter. After lunch we scooted down to the skate park to try new tricks and flicks. It was a beautiful, bright day and a walk was a much needed break for us all.

For the first time this year we received presents from Little Miss bought with her pocket money savings. They were lovely and she was so thoughtful in her choices. She bought her brother crayons in the shape of Lego bricks. Mr S a little jar of sand and I received some wooden tree decorations. All gifts were very appreciated.

Christmas Dinner

I know it may be an unfashionable comment but I love preparing the Christmas dinner. I read Good Food Vegetarian magazine and plan my menu carefully in advance. On the the day I enjoy being in a kitchen full of Christmas flavours and warmth with the Christmas morning show playing on Classic FM. This years menu is as follows

As well as the food, I like to make an effort with our table decorations, the table should be as inviting as the meal. This year our table looked like this …

The little Christmas pud has a chocolate hidden inside and is a hand knitted decoration bought at the Christmas market. As well as the Santa cutlery holders I also had a similar design of reindeers. Setting off the table was a flower arrangement made by our neighbour and Little Miss on Christmas Eve.

A Christmas Outfit

I like to plan a special outfit for Christmas Day and this year wore a pleated ombré skirt and simple navy top. The snowflake slippers were a sale bargain which I unexpectedly found when I did the Christmas food shop on Monday. When we went out for our walk I swapped the slippers for a pale pair of Converse pumps which matched well. For much of the morning I was also wearing my Snowman apron.

Christmas Day activities

Christmas Day is so much more than presents and after an early start we enjoyed a relaxed morning. Mr S went to collect Grandad from a local hotel. Initially I felt a bit sad that he was staying at a hotel but we really saw his frailty this holiday. I do understand that we are noisy and lively and he needed quiet and a space to relax. When he arrived mid morning, our neighbours also popped over with presents and another friend passed by too. I love this little buzz of friendship and sharing the love at Christmas. We FaceTimed my parents so they could join in our celebration too.

With some tech presents there was some time needed to be spent on setting up a Fitbit account and a Google Mini but this wasn’t too long, technology is simple these days. With Little Man having a new scooter and skateboard, it was inevitable that we would spend some time at the Skate park. With Grandad too frail to go out, I took the children out for a walk and scoot whilst Mr S finished tidying the kitchen and his Dad could relax.

We didn’t switch on the television until the children had gone to bed and Mr S and I could settle down to Gavin and Stacey. We used to love this series and bought the box set years ago, probably the only one we ever had. I was genuinely excited by the 10 year reunion and it didn’t disappoint. I love that the show’s humour is built on its ordinariness, creating funny moments from the things families and friends do. As with the best of comedies there were poignant moments too and very identifiable situations. The cliffhanger was so unexpected, we need more Gavin and Stacey please.

There were only two programmes I wanted to watch over the holiday, The Tiger Who Came to Tea and Gavin and Stacey and they were both wonderful Christmas viewing

I loved our Christmas Day it had special moments but was just a day when I felt surrounded by love.

Christmas rules in the Sparkles household

Having written this blog for 5 years and written many Christmas posts I thought I would share some rules and quirkinesses of our Christmas. Every family has their own way to create their holiday and here are our special customs.

1. Tree wars. Me S and the children want the tree to go up on the first of December, I argue for a later date. This year it went up on December 7th, the first full weekend of the month which was a good compromise for us all.

2. My tableaux. Whilst the children and Mr S like to decorate the tree, I love creating different themed displays throughout the house. In the kitchen we have the gingerbread window with the driftwood tree. We also have a polar window, the nativity mantle piece and our bay window tree display. Lights and bunting feature prominently in all displays.

My gingerbread window, recent Christmas photos are normally on display too.

3. Decorations. I’m a lot keener on decorations than Mr S and am always looking for something special. Sometimes I may pop them straight into the decorations box so at Christmas time, I can sweetly reply oh this old thing! I also do try to purchase a decoration on holiday every year as a memory of family times. I also think you can never have too many twinkling lights.

4. I love my Christmas themed homeware. I feel that in December you should only be eating a mince pie from a Christmas plate! Likewise you should only dry your hands on a Christmas towel. Unusually I haven’t Christmas bedding (yet)

5. Sparkling house. This is one from my childhood, on Christmas Eve the house must be clean and tidy, fresh linen on every bed and empty washing and ironing baskets.

6. Tommy the elf. Tommy is the best Christmas tradition and the nightly notes are a wonderful diary of our month.

7. Christmas food is for Christmas, at the earliest Christmas Eve, don’t ask for it before!

8. Whilst my family think they’re humouring me, I know that secretly they love their Christmas jumpers!

9. For at least the past 25 years, I’ve always had lychees at Christmas. It’s a bit random. but I’m as happy tucking into my lychees as a posh box of chocolates!

10. I love cooking and I start planning my menu as soon as the Good Food Vegetarian is published. On Christmas Day cooking in the kitchen listening to the carols on Classic FM is my time. The Christmas Eve menu is always simple pie, mash and pies so I can create a special dessert. This year it was Baked Alaska which definitely has the wow factor.

11 My simple pleasure is to sit down and watch a 30 minute animated story with the children. This year it’s The Tiger who Came to Tea. The cuddles, laughter and warmth make it one of those special moments.

I love reading about others’ traditions, the simplest actions can make the fondest memories.

A Christmas Day out ..

Last year we went to the illuminated Christmas tree festival with my parents and enjoyed it so much we returned this year and decided to make it a festive day out. We started by meeting for a Mexican lunch complete with Santa hats , then pottering around the Christmas markets before dusk fell and finally exploring the Winter Wonderland. The trees are beautiful and really give you the festive feels.

This year we added something different to our trip and after exploring the trees we went on the Ferris wheel to see the display from up high. I love a Ferris wheel as does my dad and it added a little something special to our day, the lights twinkling below us.

Christmas windows

Early on Sunday morning I did my Christmas shop window run (it’s a thing for me!) I run through town and appreciate every Christmas window. It’s a slow but a special run. Our high street is full of independent traders and their windows help create the festive atmosphere in town. There is a little bit of magic as you look into every window.

Sometimes it’s the little things which make the memories. I remember when the children were little, waiting for the dark, wrapping up warm and walking into town with a push chair and a toddler, peering into windows and delighting in the lights and decorations.

General Election 2019 hi

This was the my view as I left to vote today, is the rainbow a symbol of the election?

Since I have started this blog, I have written a post on election evening with a little prediction. It’s been a strange old election, there’s not so much weariness with politics but anger and I feel as a society we’re divided. There is an edge and nastiness to campaigning. We live in a very safe conservative seat in a small rural town but even here we experienced some political hate. One afternoon on the school run, a parent thought it was acceptable to shout Labour scum to canvassers politely handing out leaflets by the school and in front of children. Politics should be respectful and we should all accept that whilst we may have different opinions we are all united in many ways.

For the first election in years, I was unable to attend our local hustings which is always an interesting and entertaining evening. It never has any bearing on the way I vote but I like the discussion. I voted after school today as I think it’s important to take the children and for them to understand the importance of voting. Little Man posted my ballot paper and was delighted to get a sweet from the teller too. Sadly there were no #dogsatpollingstations for us.

I’m finding it hard to predict the result, this morning in conversation with a friend I predicted it could go either way, a big conservative majority or a hung parliament. I think we’re approaching a period of change in our political systems, it appears the young have voted in significant numbers today and there is desire for change.

I normally stay up all night but have a pretty full on 10 days and think the all nighter could wipe me out when I need to be on top form. I’ll watch the exit polls at 10, try to sleep until around 2am and then listen on headphones in bed drifting in and out of sleep depending how exciting it is. There are rumours of big names being ousted in this election, even the PM’s seat is not safe!

I’ll edit this post tomorrow to see how accurate my predictions were.