The Problem With Living Away At Christmas

The Problem With Living Away At Christmas

Living 150 miles from my home time and family has long been presenting it’s problems, particularly post children but this year really presented some logistical difficulties.

We decided staying anywhere other than home on Christmas Eve with two toddlers, a teen and 50,000 presents would be a pretty stupid idea. Allowing the kids to run wild in our own four walls and not sit at the table for Christmas dinner would be considerably less stressful and it was, mostly.

I mean Christmas day as a parent of a three year old and a particular busy two year old is pretty hard going from December 1st really. At one point I hid in the kitchen to cook the dinner for a ‘rest’. I am pretty sure Mr Tammy did the same when preping the veg. It really is just another day in the house but with more pressure and more of a sugar rush. My boy ate a Christmas tree crumpet, a packet of crisps and chocolate log all day whereas my girl’s Christmas dinner was a Yorkshire pudding and a piece of gammon. But whatever it’s Christmas I am pretty sure I ate considerably more chocolate than I should.

Basically it was exhausting and despite my best endeavours the children definitely had way too many presents and I didn’t have nearly enough wine. The theme for many years to come I suspect.

The next day really is where the fun began though. Mr Tammy cried off ill and did not accompany me on my trip to the motherland. It was probably for the best, there wasn’t enough room in the car as it transpired and he wouldn’t have had the stamina for the next few days. Really.

First stop Grandma Barbie and Grandad Teds, some proper leg – ends if ever there was some. They put us up for the night at 83 and 88 years young without complaint. My children adore them. I can’t say I blame them.  I always think children can spot the good eggs from the bad and their intuition is spot on here. They played all sorts of games with them, did anything they asked and genuinely loved having little ones in their house again, even if it was exhausting. They of course showered them in yet more presents, which always wins favour. As did our litre bottle gin, thanks Babs.

From here we popped across the road to my Auntie and Uncle’s house to open the bubbles and My Christmas had been remarkably dry so I intended to make up for it. Again the kids ate nothing but were so good. They were basically scared into submission by the household dogs. We’re not dog people so to be faced with two, one of which is more pony than dog was a bit on the frightening side. My girl just about managed to touch one but ever since has clarified that there will be no dogs at whatever our next destination is, so it went well…

Anyway after a late night here and relatively successful night chez Grandma Barbie and Grandad Ted we departed for our next family destination. Nanny Pat people, she’s back. I think she was a bit miffed at being relegated to the unofficial day-after-boxing-day day for our third Christmas.

We decended upon another Auntie’s house to wreck and arrived full of shouty excited cheer. Much to my kiddies happiness cousin Ben was ready and waiting. There were of course more presents and my family who now live in Australia were visiting so there was a full house. Again I hid in the kitchen to help nanny Pat cook up enough food to feed most of Australia, of which my kids still ate none. I dished out the food in a commando style  assault course across the living room of toys and Nerf gun bullets being launched in any which direction. Unlike my children, if I saw it I ate it and by now was starting to resemble a block of cheese.

We spent hours here, the kids loved playing with their extended family and all their new toys. Really though they just loved playing Nerf guns, much to my horror. Whatever they were quiet, no they weren’t quiet but they were happy and I wasn’t required to play the shopping list game I brought my little girl for the 700th time in two days so I’ll take it.

The boy had a danger nap from Auntie Helen’s to our holiday abode, which we paid for later and bedtime was again pushed back. At least we had a lie in right?


The next day was our 4th Christmas. We were visiting my mother, my friends for lunch and the Australians again. Lunch was a success, mostly owing to my friends brilliant way with my children and allowing me to eat mine, because ya know I hadn’t eaten enough the last 3 Christmas days. I say success, my girl sat and ate my boy ran about jumping and shouting. Standard.

We met the Aussies at a large shopping mall, where the rest of Bristol was frequenting. Kid you not there was a queue and a one in one out policy for Pandora. I don’t know what on this planet I would want enough to queue to get into a shop. Tiffany ring perhaps. Pandora charm, not so much.

Somehow we made it out the mall unscathed and with both children, despite their best efforts to run away.

The next day saw us load all the things ever into the car, sit in traffic on the m42 and pull over on the hard shoulder so my daughter could have a wee. The Christmas tree was down and away, toys unpacked and clothes washed. By bed time we were all exhausted and asleep for 8pm.

The problem with living away from family at Christmas, well it’s bloody exhausting visiting everyone but thoroughly enjoyable and you don’t really want it to end. Well maybe you do, just a little bit.

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