Christmas this year was extra magical, because it was Emilia’s first Christmas. I have been looking forward to it since finding out last October that I was pregnant, because I knew that having our own little person would bring a whole new level of loveliness. And I was right!
Emilia is only five months, so a little too young to appreciate what was going on, but she absolutely loved all the lights appearing everywhere and our twinkly, sparkly tree, and looking at her reflection in the baubles. She didn’t understand what presents were, but she had a great time ripping at the paper and then chewing on the labels! She was too small to have her own plate of Christmas lunch (though she had a few bits of turkey which got very well smooshed into and all around her mouth) but she definitely liked the look of Daddy’s! And she wasn’t in the slightest bit terrified of crackers or party poppers like I was expecting – I think being brought up around dogs who woof a lot has made her immune to sudden noises.
But the most wonderful thing about Christmas was that we got to spend time with our families, and they with Emilia. In fact, we were lucky enough to have three Christmases really. The weekend before we celebrated with Ste’s family who live near us on the other side of the Pennines, with presents and a full Christmas meal and lots of fun. There was even snow in the garden still.
Then on the Friday before Christmas we drove down to Somerset to my parents’ house. This year was a bit different – they have just moved from my childhood home to a new house I had never even seen so I was a little apprehensive that Christmas wouldn’t feel very festive, given that they had only got the keys a week before and would surely be living out of boxes with no decorations. I was absolutely amazed when we arrived. Not only is the house beautiful with a great homely feel to it, but every bit of furniture had been put in its place, crockery was unpacked, cupboards were full, and beds were made, and best of all, a huge sparkly Christmas tree adorned the conservatory. It was particularly inspired placement as at night the lights twinkled and reflected off about 10 different windows and it was beautiful. Well done Mum and Dad.
My sister and her husband were also home, and so Christmas Eve we all went out to explore the local footpaths with the dogs, on a walk to a pub in a nearby village for lunch. It was a little wetter than we anticipated with some of the paths effectively having turned into little rivers, but we made it to the pub in time for a huge feast. Emilia absolutely loved the walk though I confess I found it tough going with her in the sling trying not to slip over in all the deep mud. While in the pub she made a great discovery…spoons! She played with one for hours and had absolutely the right idea of putting it in her mouth despite there being nothing on it which I felt a bit cruel about.
After a more adventurous walk home with the dogs and my sister and her husband (Ste took a sleepy Emilia home in the car) we all put on pyjamas, cracked open the cherry brandy (a festive tradition in our family) and opened our presents to each other. We always do this as we go to family on Christmas Day so we get extra time to enjoy it. Emilia was given a super cute dressing gown by my Mum and Dad which she snuggled up in on the sofa before bed.
Christmas Day dawned absolutely filthy, so after a quick dash with the dogs, we piled into the cars and headed to my Aunt’s place for our family festivities. Emilia had cuddles with absolutely everyone and was happy being passed around all day, despite refusing a nap (standard behaviour sadly). She even came with us on the after-lunch walk up to the farm, where it was blowing an absolute gale, but luckily I decided to head back into the warm and snuggle up in front of the fire to feed her just in time to avoid getting completely drenched in a torrential downpour! Everyone came back in all bedraggled and were vying for a place in front of the fire next to the choccies while cups of tea were made. I think that’s my favourite bit of Christmas Day – when all the presents are opened and the food has been eaten, just relaxing and cosying up while catching up on each others’ lives. Or, if you’re my husband, crashing my cousin’s new drone, in the dining room curtains of all places!
We had Boxing Day to relax and let Emilia spend time with Mum and Dad before we had to head back up home to Yorkshire. We weren’t done with Christmas though – a couple of days later we drove down to Oxfordshire for our sister-Christmas (or Sistermas as I have taken to calling it) with my other sister and her husband and daughters. Emilia’s little cousins are so cute with her and I love seeing them making faces to entertain her or sharing their toys. So cute. After a huge pub lunch we had a walk along the canal with the dogs, all wrapped up against the cold, before coming in for tea and more cherry brandy!
All in all, my little pumpkin had a perfect first Christmas, spending time with her nearest and dearest, and she was totally spoiled with some lovely presents as well. Is it crazy I am already excited for next year knowing she’ll be that little bit more aware?!