I sat down to write a post about our lovely family festive weekend. I recounted how we began Saturday with swimming lessons and then some Christmas shopping, followed by a trip to see the ‘real’ Santa at Castle Howard. With sold out tickets booked a the beginning of October this promised to be a magical, memorable day (which it was).
The thing is, as I wrote about all that we had been up to I realised something was missing…the truth, the whole truth.
You see, I noticed that I was doing something we can all probably relate to – glossing over the facts, projecting an Instagram perfect picture. There’s nothing wrong with that sometimes, after all, who wants to hear every nitty gritty part of our day!
We all know what parenting can be like sometimes!
I do think though that although Christmas is a lovely time of year, it doesn’t come without it’s fair share of family stress. So, I started my post from scratch and decided to tell the truth about our festive family weekend, including smiles and stresses!
Saturdays start with our eldest’s swimming lessons – she loves swimming but not actually having lessons so we were pleased when it all went off with minimal drama. An improvement on last week….
Feeling buoyed by our swimming success we decided to go to our local designer outlet for some hot chocolate, the play area and to get some Christmas presents. My brother in law came with us so we even had a great ratio of adults to children (i.e we outnumbered the children!). The trip started off well enough as everyone was happy having their Starbucks treats. Where it began to go slightly wrong was when we attempted to do some browsing with the two year old on her reins – I love her dearly, she is cheeky, funny and gorgeous. Did I mention she’s cheeky? As in she likes to escape and run around like a lunatic, whilst laughing at your attempts to contain her.
Naturally our eldest thinks this is brilliant and loves nothing more than joining in – it’s a situation that can deteriorate pretty rapidly. Some days it’s manageable, on one of the busiest shopping days of the year…not so much! We needed to be in the play area, not the shops, lesson learnt. The hard way!
We bundled them back in the car for the ride out to Castle Howard. We have all been so excited about this visit, I managed to get us tickets before they sold out in October (crazy, I know). Rather than a brief meeting with Santa this was a 40 minute experience with a small magic show and then audience with the man himself. Age appropriate presents given out by name and generally an all round lovely family day out.
Unfortunately for us we had two things going against us at this point. 1. my husband had been let down by an employee and now had to drive to Wakefield to pick something up meaning we would have to leave straight after Santa, which is a shame as Castle Howard is lovely. 2. We had two over excited children, the youngest of whom was missing her nap.
Castle Howard was fantastic, the girl’s were in awe of their surroundings and the ‘real’ Santa was very believable and charming. The room where it was all held was very atmospheric, complete with roaring fire and low lighting. All the children sat on little red chairs – I was so proud of how my girl’s sat together, our eldest with her arm around her sister when she looked a bit unsure.
All the children loved Santa, I don’t think there was a non believer in the room!
Like most children, ours aren’t that keen on disappointment and our eldest was very disappointed that we had to leave straight away. Cue two parents trying to remain upbeat and super positive on the way back to the car with our eldest acting like the world had just come crashing down – it didn’t help that Santa had given her a really really girly present (she’s a total tomboy). As I explained, Santa just likes to broaden children’s horizons!
It was a day of ups and downs. The ups were fantastic, the downs were stressful.
On the Sunday we decided that the best family thing we could do was put up the Christmas tree, and we were right. The girls had so much fun rummaging through all the boxes with decorations, stockings and old bits of saved wrapping paper. It was extremely messy – at one point it looked like Christmas had literally exploded in our living room!
Once we had everything out I put on some Christmas songs and we all decorated the tree. Everyone was really relaxed and I only had to turn the volume up once to drown out their squabbles!! Joking (ish).
We all had a great time and it really did remind me that we are at our happiest when we’re just together and not trying too hard.
So that was our not perfect/Instagrammed festive family weekend.
As I write, I’m looking at our Christmas tree and remembering their happy faces and the laughter as we were decorating it. Life isn’t perfect, it can be really stressful at times, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
How are your family Christmas preparations coming along? Stressed or sane??