Merry Christmas {or, happy boxing day}

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merry christmas to one and all from Pip and me. i know blogging has been a bit scarce around here recently, but i am hoping 2013 will be better. i’m certainly feeling a lot better since i spent four nights away from being a mum last weekend. it meant that christmas was a little disorganised and there certainly wasn’t time for any blogging. anyway, merry merry christmas (if that’s your sort of celebration) otherwise happy happy holidays!

we spent our christmas as a family of three at home in our flat in London. we invited one of Pip’s godparents to join us, but other than him, no family. no grandparents. no aunts and uncles. just the four of us (and Delilah). it was wonderful. we ate a beautiful meal of venison on christmas eve with the baby. she watched the snowman and the snowdog as she drank her milk and she helped hang up the stocking that i made her. earlier on christmas eve we took her to a crib service at the local church and bought and decorated our christmas tree. Pip went to sleep dressed in her christmas pyjamas (with slippers following in the morning) in what i hope is to become an annual tradition.

on christmas day although we woke at 6, like usual, with the baby, we went back to sleep f or a while before i was aware that the boys were getting up. they let me sleep in until 10.30, fueled no doubt by the realisation that if they woke me up i might try and get them to go to church. in this age of austerity we had clubbed together to get some presents and one of those was a proper burr coffee grinder for m. and so we had a lazy brunch of coffee (served in our new le creuset espresso cups) accompanied by smoked salmon with creme fraiche and chives and glasses of mimosa. once we had all opened our stockings we headed out for a bracing walk ending in glasses of sherry at the pub at the end of our road.

this was the first year that we could truly set our own traditions and part of the reason we decided to stay at home, visiting family at the weekends at either side. we watched tv, something i truly couldn’t imagine doing at my parents house at all, and only to watch a film at m’s family home. not watched tv in the sense of watching it blindly all day, but we watched an old film (On the Town) whilst we had brunch and i even lay under a blanket and had a nap in the afternoon whilst the boys cooked, waking to watch the Strictly christmas special, which seemed a real luxury. our flat only has one room for both the sitting room and kitchen and so it was rather companionable, in a way it would never be in a larger house with separate rooms. we ate a delicious combination of our favourite christmas foods (pheasant, ham, stuffing, bread sauce, cranberries and so on) all wonderfully cooked by m. we also opted for neither mince pies (although i did make pastry and acquire mince meat but in the end never made them) nor christmas cake nor pudding opting instead for chocolate panettone from carluccios which is delicious and far far nicer than it’s british cousins.

we opened our presents late on into the evening, after the baby had her supper, just before she went to bed. she really got the hang of ripping off the paper and was thrilled by her generous haul of goodies including wonderful books for her library, one or two soft toys and a box full of interesting textured scraps of fabric from her Granny. we gave Pip some little presents (that’s not my reindeer; hairclips; stacking pots) in her stocking, and, in the start of another tradition, a beautifully illustrated copy of the fir tree, by hans christian anderson, illustrated by a finnish illustrator who also designs for marimekko. we are proposing to get her a new christmas book every year.

and then, after the baby had gone to bed, we sat down for our meal and then sat up late into the night, drinking port and playing scrabble.

i can’t imagine what christmas will be like next year. in the past two weeks Pip has cut her first tooth, crawled properly and is now standing up holding onto her wooden trolley. she is almost unrecognisable from the baby she was even a month ago. even her feet have grown enormously; she can no longer fit into her 6-12 month socks and the slippers i got her for christmas only just fit onto her feet.

{photo in front of my parents tree at the weekend as we hadn’t got one by then. don’t ask how i got the black box at the bottom}

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