Recap – Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Christmas II (aka Boxing Day)

You made it. The last chapter of my long overdue novella, the Christmas of Yesteryear. Let’s do this!



Christmas Eve was chilled. We hit up the soft play to run some energy out of the littles and instead managed to cave to buying a slush and paid for it by having them totally ruin a lovely game of penguin ludo.


We cut our losses and put on the jammies and the Christmas films til bedtime.


The kids got the tray out and filled it with treat for Santa and the reindeer.


The placed it carefully under the tree…


… next to their pillow cases for Santa to fill.


We went to bed and the next morning around 5am Sandy woke up, I went in to cuddle him and he fell back asleep in my arms. About half six he roused again and I saw his little face all pouty by the door in our bedroom telling me, “Mummy, you went away! You left me all. on. my. own!” I asked him “Sandy, what day is it?” and he replied “Christmas Eve”. “Not any more Sandy, it’s…” “…CHRISTMAS DAY!!!” he realised, “has Santa been?!” I told him to check the stockings we’d hung on the door frame and right enough the big man had delivered. Sandy ran into Roslyn’s room as we listened to hear him say “Roslyn! Roslyn! Santa’s been! He has filled our stockings! Wake up!” and she dutifully did, running through, rubbing her eyes with one hand, cradling her stocking in the other. As is tradition we opened our stockings in our bed before heading downstairs to see what had been left under the tree…


…they were both very pleased to see that Santa and the reindeer had partaken in refreshments.


Roslyn was delighted with her main gift – a new baby, as requested.


Sandy finally got the shuttle part of his Playmobile space set he’d been after since his birthday.


And of course the packaging was well loved too.


This year Christmas was split over two days for us so everything took a far more leisurely pace. It was lovely to be able to relax in the house not having to rush out.


They each found a bell from Santa’s reindeer’s harnesses, a la Polar Express, after being captivated by the film this year.


Sandy was delighted and it seemed to make up for not having been invited on the actual train in the night!


We got dressed for the day and snapped a family picture before heading out to Stuart’s parents house.


The kids were thoroughly spoiled and delighted by their gifts there…

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It was lovely to be able to take our time at Stuart’s parents house too.


We got our annual Findlay/MacNicol Group shot again – a cracker (pun intended).

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After Roslyn’s nap we headed home to meet up with my parents and brothers for a mini Christmas dinner before the main meal the next day.


We got a little group shot here too but I think the candid one is better!


Christmas dinner was a hit thanks to the team effort of Jamie (starter) Mum (trimmings) and me (bird and dessert). And the drinks were faithfully covered by Pa.

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Check out anna and elsa’s subtle photobomb in the above picture ^^


I was especially proud of my pudding. I love the look, smell and general tradition of Christmas pudding but just can’t abide the taste. I want to like it, but I don’t. Peel isn’t the bit you eat, IMO. So I recreated a steamed pudding – honey and cinnamon – and put in charms too, like my Gran used to. It was perfect and Sandy kept going on about how much he loved it which meant a lot.

The next day (Boxing Day) we headed to Gourock and my Aunts’ new flat where we partied it up again…

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Class Acts.


We got another fabulous family picture too!


Dinner was perfect and we all had such a nice time. It was great to spread the fun over two days and get to spend more time with everyone.

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We plan to do the same next year and I’m sure it will be just as good.

Well, there’s the end of the saga, festive feeling in February can recede now, and I’m happy not to force Tartan on the kids again til St. Andrews. Maybe.

Christmas 2014

Christmas started early this year. 5am to be precise. Thanks Roslyn. But it gave us time which was actually a good thing because we visit Stuart’s parents in the morning and have my lot over in the afternoon AND we have to fit a nap in somehow so it’s a busy day. Stuart and I got showered while Roslyn played and Sandy slept. When he woke up eventually (perhaps because I was too excited and started shouting HO HO HO next to his bedroom to rouse him…) he was still a little warm from the temperature he had been getting on and off, but it didn’t stop him. He immediately came to the bedroom door and looked up to the frame for the empty stocking which had been hanging there last night. He was excited to see it now on the floor, full of presents instead! We were going to open the stockings in our bed but Sandy demanded we go downstairs so we did. He went into the livingroom and was delighted to see that Santa had eaten his pastry, the reindeer had nibbled the carrots and that the “santa juice” was all gone.


We got stuck in to the pillowcases from Santa, Sandy’s mostly filled with tractors!


There was the obligatory struggle to open various types of packaging by me…


…and then Stuart when I gave up.


Sandy was just as excited to see what his sister had been given.




They loved their gifts and, as is typical, the little things were the biggest hits of the morning present parade…


Two manically fast wind ups I gave Stuart which Sandy delighted in being chased by.



Roslyn adored her fisher price telephone, though you wouldn’t be able to tell it from this picture.



We gave Roslyn her main gift. It’s an idea I stole from a friend, a charm bracelet with an “R” on, and we can add new charms each year.


There was time for a quick Christmas jig before we rushed off to get dressed for heading out.


Here we are, all in clothes, some of us matching (yep, odd one out in her snowman jumper) and no-one with stains on (yet).


All I wanted for Christmas (though I wouldn’t be in a hurry to give back my What Would Carl Sagan Do T-shirt)


Check out Rozzie having eyes only for her big brother.


We got to Gran and Granda’s and Sandy was happy to rip into more presents. He loved his Tow Mater pillow pet.


Roslyn tried her first chocolate and decided it was not for her.


Sandy got a brilliant big slide to attach to his climbing frame from his grandparents.


He was pretty happy with his lot.


They were both utterly spoiled.


Check out Sandy’s angel face in this one…


…and Rozzie’s here. Ahhhh!


You can probably tell from Roslyn’s face here that the 5am wake up (oh, and the ten minute micro nap) was starting to take its toll. So we set up the family photo and got snapping before she exploded in a ball of rage.


And it was a success… NO CRYING CHILDREN HOORAY!

And from one family…


…to another! My parents and brother arrived after we had a brief hour long napover and downtime for Stuart and I. I say downtime but I distinctly remember the hoover being out and something to do with making gravy in this era.


Stu-MIL love in.


Much like last year Jamie helped make up a wooden flat pack toy for Sandy. His “nee-naw man house”.


Roslyn let her hair down, and her dress up. Hussy!


And I ROCKED the christmas pudding shirt.


She looks like a little doll here!


Once Fran and Lib arrived it was present central again and both the kids did well to keep going strong through the barrage of thoughtful and amazing gifts they got.



I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: SPOILED.




I don’t have a finished picture but here was the goose pre-roast. Personally I LOVED it. So much more moist than turkey and much meatier. On the whole the room was split over it, half loving and preferring it, the other half favouring traditional turkey. Stuart was the decider but he stayed on the fence. Mind you, the way Roslyn tucked in, I’d say the goose won it. This year anyway 😉


Christmas dinner, for the 0.5 seconds Sandy stayed at the table. He ate pretty much half a slice of toast and fifteen chocolate bars all day and was high as a kite by this point so we put on the snowman and snowdog to bring him back down to earth slightly.


Roslyn half inched one of Sandy’s presents and impressed us by alternating putting it on the wall…


…and on Pa’s face. Clever girl!


The home made crackers went down a treat, and all in all we made £11 on the scracthcards in them. They cost £9 so we were up £2! Roslyn loved her hat, Sandy… not so much.


Hat Parade!


Not long after this picture Sandy and Roslyn ran out of steam so Stuart and I took them to bed. Afterwards we did our annual christmas hamper secret santa. They were all brilliant! We also did another little secret santa game where everyone brings a random £10 gift. You start with a gift and each roll a dice. If you get a 1 everyone moves presents to the left. If you get a 6 you swap your present for another of your choice. It’s so much fun. We put a timer on for ten minutes and watched as people tried to hold onto the ones they wanted. Fran was mad for my “hunks of 2015” calendar (made up of pictures of sandy), Lib wanted a Reindeer wall hanging, I was all about the foot massager and Jamie wanted Stuart’s gadgets. With one minute to go we had mostly what we wanted and then someone got a 1 and it was all change then the timer ran out. Slowly we all started re-swapping til we all had what we wanted, except Mum, but she had bought something she liked for herself anyway 😉 It’s great fun to try if you are looking to keep gifts to a minimum and hilarity to a maximum!

After that our guests headed home and Stuart and I tackled a little cleaning and Goose stripping before retiring to the couch for all of ten minutes before giving up and going to bed.

It was a brilliant Christmas and as my Mum mentioned probably the most hectic we will ever have based on the kids’ ages, so if this was the one with the most stress potential and it was a winner I can’t wait for the years to come!

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Make Your Own Christmas Crackers

Usually my Mum buys our christmas crackers in the sales. Last year she forgot and *shock horror* we were faced with buying full price ones. I had my usual “could I make it instead” thought, which usually comes any time something is required but expensive, and decided that yes, yes I could. And you know what? It was really easy and I’m glad I did because it was fun making them personalised. So here’s how:


What you will need:

Toilet Roll tubes (as many as the number of crackers you want, plus an extra two)
Joke Cards
Cracker Snaps
Wrapping Paper

For the hats we made them from tissue paper, but you could make them easily from any paper, perhaps unused wrapping paper.

Cracker snaps are cheap to buy on ebay so order them in.

For the presents I decided to put in a chocolate (Kinder bars because they are the right shape!) and a scratch card. I love the silly gifts you get in shop bought ones to be honest, and I’m always secretly hoping for the mini screwdriver set (hello, only gift that ever survives the big bin bag on boxing day) but I decided on scratchcards. One year for our secret santa swap game (more on that in a future post) someone bought £10 worth of scratch cards which was so fun. Luckily the lottery folks keep it festive and made cracker shape ones so I bought a bunch of them to add. Ironically the totting up of the costs associated with my own crackers makes them almost as expensive as buying them but honestly I think they are better, and you can easily just add home made gifts to keep it inexpensive.


For the joke cards I went with a joke and a trivia question, all christmas related. Except for Sandy’s cracker which has his halloween bear bum joke in so he can take part at the table, it being the only joke he knows! Mum also made Sandy and Roslyn’s hats from The Snowman wrapping paper. If they win on the scracthcard they can spend it on ice lollies from Scotmid (Sandy) or a crap load of heinz biscottis (Roslyn).


Anyway, all you need to do is get all the inserts and stuff them in the tube, making sure the cracker snap is in the middle.


Then place it in the wrapping paper and put two more tubes on either side with a 1cm gap between them.


Tape up the wrap tightly on the middle tube and little looser on the outer ones.


Trim the wrap so it is just covering the outer tubes on each size.


Tie the ribbon inbetween the tubes in two places. tie tightly so the presents don’t escape.


Remove the outer tubes.


Cut triangles into the ends of the paper on each side. You also might want to look in the ends and see the snap is equidistant and maybe tape it into the paper on each end so it doesn’t make a break for it prior to cracking time.


Curl the ribbon and ta da! Cracker City!!


I was really pleased with how they turned out and can’t wait to open them on the 25th with dinner.


Merry Merry

Merry Christmas all! I’m really hoping that you had as good a Christmas as we did. It was in stark contrast to the more trying times of late and pleasantly stress-free!


This year we were hosting our first ever Christmas dinner. To be fair I had a lot of help, my Brother brought the starter (homemade pate and prawn cocktail) and my Mum did all the veg and accompaniments so I was left with the Turkey, gravy and dessert.


Oh and decorating a rather festive table! It was all a success, the turkey was from the butcher and came with oatmeal stuffing, all cooked fine and the desserts being chilled meant all they required was a quick assemble. I’ll do a post with the recipe later, they went down a treat.


There I am, in my PJs, looking slightly whale-esque (despite being only five or so months pregnant…) getting Christmas butter between the turkey’s breasts and skin. A Highly glamorous job befitting of my attire.

And what did Sandy make of it? Well, let’s take a little trip back a year and check him out with his Sandy’s first Christmas decoration one year on…

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2013

He’s getting so big!!


Sandy’s favourite part of of Christmas was undoubtedly his chocolate advent calender, which he is pictured here with, clasping it tightly. Said calendar made all meals times a big pain as he saw it as soon as he got in his highchair then had a meltdown when offered a spoon of anything that wasn’t brown and chocolatey. Even when we started hiding the calender he still tantrumed and found it anyway, coming over with it to one of us saying “ehhh! Bahhh!” (Translation: ME CHOCO MONSTER, FEED NOW!)


Here is a classic Sandy TV face.


On the morning itself he was a perfect angel and delighted in all the fun. One of the sweetest things was the incomparable joy he had in discovering a simple satsuma in his stocking, alongside all sorts of toys.



The most plentiful present he got? Cars. Cars, cars and more cars. Cars in his stocking, cars in santa sacks, cars wrapped up and cars in his new garage.


The boy loves his cars.


But who wouldn’t want to lavish him in cars, with a face like that?



Last year Sandy was still sleeping really poorly so I’m sure we were up later, but because he is usually up at 6am like clockwork (and was) we had plenty of time to chill and open presents. I remember last year having a whole bunch unopened when we finally got home in the evening, and not having an ounce of strength left to open them. I guess that’s what two-hourly wakings do to you!

These guys… ❤



I can’t express just how lucky I feel to have this little lad in my life.


Getting his first chocolate coin.


After presents we got showered and dressed and had tasty pastries before heading over to Gran and Granda’s where Sandy was lavished in even more gifts…


…and managed to score even more chocolate!



There was a bit of a pre-nap meltdown, averted by cuddles and crackers. He watched his cousins open their presents then had a good sleep while we chilled out, which was really nice. The year before I remember rocking him upstairs for aaaaages to get a measly 20 minute doze out of him. This year he plopped in the cot for a good two hours while we ate toasties 🙂

After we headed back to base for having my lot over for presents and dinner. Instead of individual presents this year we did a hamper swap. We all bought a £50 hamper with any theme we liked. Then, when assembled we played a game where you sit in a circle and roll a dice in turns. If you get a 6, you can choose to swap your hamper with another. If you get a 1 everyone moves their hamper to the person to their left. There was a ten minute timer and a mad rush to try and roll a 6 and nab the one you wanted. I was pretty darn lucky to score not only my preferred hamper (a stationery hamper where a box file was the hamper itself, made by my brother) but Stuart also ended up with one that had a really useful big storage box I was eyeing to store Sandy’s now expansive duplo collection. Marriage, it’s the bomb.


After a brief chill in front of the tv with grumpa, it was time for Christmas dinner where Sandy reveled in the jolliness of the day. Seriously, he was hilarious, and on top form. At one point Granny went into the kitchen to check her vegetables and he just turned his head and kept going “Eh! Eh!” soon followed by “Oi! Eh! Bah!” shouting on her to get herself back to the table. So funny. Then Jamie told a joke, we all laughed and he puts his hands up to his cheeks and cracks this amazingly creepy and very loud maniacal laugh for ages. Of course we all burst into fits of laughter which spurred on his own efforts too.


The food all went down well. Sandy didn’t really eat much christmas dinner but wolfed his jelly and custard. It really was a perfect day and I couldn’t have asked for anything better.


Boxing day was spent in the house just the three of us. We played, we ate, we watched tv. The perfect tonic to weeks (months really) of tough times.


Sandy loved his new Garage from Granny and Grumpy.


And Uncle Jamie got him a Catepillar dumper truck which, among its features has a button which plays macho man music. Sandy could not stop pressing it and dancing!


His little face all giddy anticipation at pressing it again.

Kisses for Mummy


I used the box file from my hamper to store his plethora of toy cars. Sandy had other ideas of what should be kept in it though!


Most of the day was spent like this.


It really has been the best festive time. I’m gutted Stuart is back at work today and Sandy is visiting his Gran but I’ve been busy sorting out his toys, cleaning the house and taking my car to the garage (brakes, sigh.) Oh and feeling normality start to seep back in in a rather comforting way.

Merry merry!