dear diary >> all is calm, all is bright

We are slowly getting back to normal here and like the words of the carol – we are back to calm. Christmas was perhaps a little more hectic than I would have preferred, but with three very excited young children in the house you cannot expect that it would be restful!

We spent the week before Christmas chasing our tails. On the Saturday we had our family ‘Not so Secret Santa’ get together at my sister’s house in North Yorkshire to swap presents, play games and hold our musical interlude after a delicious buffet lunch; I am always the conductor and hold the baton.

Even though our music sheets have both coloured and numbered notes that match the colour and notes of the handbells and xylophones we still, after all these years, do not get any better at making a recognisable tune as no-one ever comes in on cue! But that is the fun of it.

After Sunday at home to put up the tree and a few decorations, my daughter came on Monday with Little L and Sweetie who hung all the baubles on the tree for us…and it looked magnificent, even though we had two, sometimes three, baubles on one branch…and yes I did manage not to rearrange it all when they had done unless a bauble was in severe distress.

We then went back up to North Yorkshire with the girls and stayed overnight to look after them at their house whilst mum went to work (who thought it was a good idea to have the children off school for the whole week before Christmas??).

We came home late on Tuesday night quite worn out and slept well…too well, and was rather late up on Wednesday morning. We decided we had better get the food shopping done in the supermarket in town and a good job too as it was crowded out and by Thursday many of the shelves had been stripped of certain items like eggs.

On Thursday while DH made a large pan of curry for Christmas Eve, I finished off the little desk calendars I had made for my friends who live locally.

I bought the original desk top calendars for about 50p each in a sale after Christmas at Sainsbury’s before the pandemic with the idea of making my own calendar sheets and re-using the metal stands. All year I have been taking photos around the village of some well known and and not so well known spots.

To make them look more special I slipped them into a cellophane bag and then wrapped them in festive tissue. Nothing goes to waste in this house as I re-used some of the brown paper bags I saved over the years from the sandwich shop when I was working – stamping them with a festive stamp – they made a handy carrier to hold the presents.

On Thursday evening we wrapped all the presents while watching some TV (our only nights’ viewing) and on Friday I cleaned and tidied with a mad dash around with the hoover.

Finally on Christmas Eve morning there was only the trifle and a jelly to make before my daughter arrived with little L and Sweetie. At 4pm after putting some potatoes in the oven to bake we went to church for the Crib Service which is the start of my Christmas. The point where everything is done and I can sit back and enjoy. My elder daughter and Freddie joined us for tea after the service and we all tucked in to a hot meal of baked potatoes and lentil curry.

Afterwards the children decorated the Christmas cake with snowmen, penguins and santa…and lots of little icing decorations – it was a very serious job taking a lot of concentration….

…and is probably a little crowded but I think they do so well and I love it.

I especially love the look on Santa’s face!

Once it was finished to their satisfaction the three of them opened their Christmas Eve boxes which contain new pyjamas, a Christmas craft to keep them busy and a story book to read at bedtime. With all three changed into their new Christmas pyjamas they settled down to make the craft item – a string of Christmas pictures to colour in and hang up.

When the doorbell went everyone went quiet waiting to see who it was….it was a wrapped present left on our front doorstep saying ‘To open on Christmas Eve’. (DH had sneaked out the back door, put the present on the doorstep, rung the bell and quickly run round the back again and into the living room without the children even realising he had gone). As you can imagine they were so excited as to who could have left the surprise present – we said it might have been the elf – it was a game of Peppa Pig Monopoly suitable for all ages to finish off the evening before bedtime.

Then some very tired children listened to a story, put out the mince pie and carrot for Santa and Rudolph and went to bed followed not long after by some very weary adults.

After today DH and I will be on our own and able to make new plans for the new year. I am always excited at this point – it is like a fresh start and I am looking forward to a good year.

How did your Christmas go?

17 Replies to “dear diary >> all is calm, all is bright”

  1. Ours was quite lovely. We always have cheese fondue for Christmas Eve. We had watched over the last 2 weeks lots of Christmas movies, Elf, Die hard, Christmas Vacation, so we didnt watch any that night. For Christmas morning, I made pancakes and eggs and then we opened our gifts to each other. Mostly gift cards for everyone but a few others too. i got my son an annual National Parks Pass as he is quite the adventurer. My daughter got a GC to the local nursery as she is the gardner. Then later we had a lovely cheese lasagna for dinner. All in all quite nice but I am happy it’s over and looking forward to the new year.


  2. What a wonderful Christmas! I love your calendars. We enjoyed Christmas Eve and Day with extended family and lots of good food and gifts. Unlike the rest of North America, no snow! This week I’m home reading, doing jigsaw puzzles and LEGO, and setting up my bullet journal for 2023.


    1. Hi Dar – pleased to hear you had a good Christmas. I have no Lego or jigsaw puzzles but will be setting up my journal too for next year and looking over this past year – and as always hoping to do better! Wishing you and your family all the best for 2023.


  3. It sounds hectic with three children in the house, but that’s what Christmas is all about. I bet they all had a magical time. I love the calendars, what a wonderful idea, such a special and thoughtful gift. We had a lovely Christmas, it’s the first year since we had children that we’ve woken up on Christmas morning with just the two of us in the house as Daniel and Jasmine usually stay with us with them having lived away, but now they’re back in Leeds everyone was in their own homes. They all came round mid-morning and we’ve enjoyed some lovely days together. I love this time between Christmas and New Year, it’s open house so everyone comes and goes as they please.


  4. Glad you were able to enjoy Christmas with family–even though very hectic. Young children guarantee it!

    Enjoyed a (very cold -13c, but snow-less) Christmas Eve with two of our four children and their young children at DD’s home. The other two families, including two adult grandchildren, live hours away. DD went all out to make an amazing meal for us all. Opened gifts after the meal. Adults only give presents to the littles (all 8 and under), though each grandchild made handmade gifts for us. What made the evening special was that even though these four children have so much, they truly appreciated each item they were given–even, and perhaps especially–their books. They hugged each item upon opening and expressed how much they loved it, and then hugged us. None of the gifts were large or extravagant, but it really pleased me to see how grateful they were for what they received. Their parents are doing a good job. 🙂


  5. Your desk calendars are lovely. It sounds like you gave your grandchildren a Christmas they will remember. I love the story of Grandad leaving something on the doorstep, such fun! I hope you are enjoying your quiet and peace. Wishing you happy new year and hoping that 2023 is a good one for you and your family.


  6. Sounds like you had a wonderful family Christmas. I love the idea of the musical interlude. Sounds such fun. The children did a very good job of decorating the cake and I love how DH put the present on the doorstep. Keeping the magic in Christmas for the little ones. Wishing you a Healthy, Happy and Prosperous New Year.


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