For the first time in three years I returned home to my parents house for Christmas as both of my sisters and their families were going to be in attendance. It was also dad’s 70th birthday just after Christmas so it seemed like a good opportunity to go back for a rare get-together. Sadly, the only person not to make it was my wife who was working the Christmas period back in Tokyo.
2008 was the last time all of us (my parents, two sisters and me) were together and since then there have been a few additions to the family. It wasn’t long ago that I saw them all as I saw Lorna, Stuart and George in August and my oldest sister Ruth, Carl, Eifion, Anesta and Sioned when I visited Batam in Indonesia in October for a long weekend.
It was a really nice time though things never go too swimmingly of course and so we had tears, tantrums, squabbles and so on….and that was just the adults!! haha! Of course all those things were just brief lows among many great moments. Sadly, there were a fair few of us suffering with the common cold but we battled on and a lot of time was just spent sitting around the living room playing with the kids and watching a bit of TV including the Raymond Briggs classic ‘The Snowman‘ which I hadn’t seen in full for many, many years.
Christmas day was really all about the kids and they had a huge amount of presents to open. What should be the best day of the year for them rarely ever goes to plan and so emotions were up and down. The day started at the ungodly hour of 4.30 am with some of the kids coming down to see if Santa had been. Amazingly he had came down the chimney (Anesta was very worried that he wouldn’t fit but my parents reassured her it wouldn’t be a problem!) and covered the area around the tree with presents without Lorna and Stuart (who were sleeping in front of the fireplace) noticing! I was on the dining room floor in the next room so had to get up as people were starting to walk through the room and didn’t need my body lying in the way.
The majority of the presents were for the kids and there were loads of them so we opened them in two sessions either side of Christmas lunch which was thankfully a bit earlier than normal given the super-early start to the day!
Personally, one of the most pleasing parts of the day for me was seeing my eldest nephew Eifion playing with the Star Wars figures and toys later on in the day. Let’s hope the force remains strong with this one as that will ensure an easy life of presents from me!
Tiredness, jet-lag, old age (?) and so on meant that everyone went to bed just after 10pm but I didn’t want to spend another night on the floor so thought I’d go and use the un-used room down at the Travel Lodge which Ruth had booked. Christmas Day had been a long, long day and I needed to get some proper rest in a good bed. It was strange walking down town on Christmas night though as there wasn’t a soul in sight as I made my way in the dark, quiet streets.
As soon as I walked back into my parents house the next morning my nephew George shouted at me ”Where’s My Pants?” in reference to a game I’d downloaded onto my iPad a couple of days before and which he wanted to play. This was a very dull, simple matching game that came up as a reference point to ‘The Lego Movie‘ (2014).
A bit later on that Boxing Day morning we went down to the village green for the annual Fernie hunt meeting which is attended by a couple of thousand people though the main attraction for the kids seemed to be seeing the horses having a poo! We didn’t hang around there too long this year so no post-hunt drinks in the local as we were set to have a 70th birthday lunch in the town centre at Wild Wood restaurant and bar.
For the sake of the kids we pretended that it was my Dad’s birthday on that day (it was really on the 29th) as they were leaving the following day to see the other set of grandparents. We had a lovely meal in there and back at the house a bit later on, there was some kind of tea party with jelly, cake, crisps as the kids celebrated the birthday of their granddad.
You can read about previous festive trips back home by clicking on the links below: