Over the weekend, we visited my family for our annual pre-Christmas get together. As many of my brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and cousins’ children as possible get together for a meet up at my parents’ house in Lincolnshire. This year might be the last one we make for quite a while, because by next year we’ll hopefully be in Australia.
I used the get together as an excuse to get the kids dressed up in some smart clothes, because they’d only worn them once for a wedding and were already on the verge of growing out of them! This was my lightning quick attempt to catch the three of them looking smart before they dribbled gravy and chocolate ice-cream all over themselves – as it happened, it turned out to be blackcurrant squash instead, but the end result was the same 🙂
I have very fond memories of Christmas family get togethers as a child. They were always on Boxing Day and we would drive to visit my mum’s parents in Sheffield before moving on to visit my dad’s mum at the other side of the city. I didn’t really appreciate it enough at the time. Little things stick in my mind, like playing with the ornaments that lined the shelf next to the stairs at my grandparents’ house, drinking sickly sweet Tizer at my nan’s and being forced to pretend I liked trifle (which I HATED). We always had to eat turkey sandwiches at my grandparents’ house, and then pretend half an hour later when we arrived at my nan’s that we hadn’t just eaten. My nan buttered the bread with slices of butter, as her house was so cold the block of butter in the dish never quite thawed out. It would always start snowing towards the end of the day, and by the time we got home there would already be a thick layer on the ground. Obviously, this can’t have happened every year (and maybe it wasn’t even on our annual Boxing Day trip at all but at another time of the year when we visited) but in my head, our Christmas visits were always on cold, dark nights and involved lots of chocolates, treats and some snowball throwing when we got home.
I’m sad to think my children aren’t going to have a ritual like this to grow up with. Emigrating is such a hard choice – if you go you’re depriving your children of their extended family, and if you stay for that very reason you aren’t following what you believe is the right path for them. We’re so lucky that the world is smaller than it has ever been. Facebook, Twitter, Skype and my blog are all going to help us to stay in touch. But it will never replace a big festive family gathering like this in the depths of winter, with lovely food, lots of laughter and good company.
I feel quite teary after reading this. So many of your Christmas memories match mine – perhaps before iPADS we all played with ornaments!
Your Oz mission is going to be amazing. You are going to love creating so many new memories. And I bet you will manage to meet up with family more than you might think at the mo.
Enjoy this Christmas, and start choosing your beachwear for the next!
Ah the things we used to do to occupy ourselves before tablets and mobile phones. My boys were crying yesterday walking to pre-school because they were too cold and they wanted to go to Australia “now, now NOW!” so hopefully they’ll carry on wanting to go as it gets closer. I’m hoping next Christmas will be a warmer one and will involve some kind of bbq and a beach! I was just thinking of trying to explain to them that my nan’s house actually had an outdoor toilet!! I don’t think they’ll believe me though. Kids today. xx
Lovely Chrsitams memories Karen, Tizer wow, does it even exist anymore?! Its funny how you always remember things being the same as a kid. When i was little we used to go to the beach every day in the summer and it was always scorching (except my mum say’s it wasn’t but we used to go anyway).
I can imagine it must be hard to leave so much behind but you have to go with your heart, the opportunities and lifestyle for you as a family is the most important thing #atinybitjealous
Sara (@mumturnedmom) says
Oh, I can relate to this. We’re about to have our second Christmas away from home, and although in our minds our move isn’t permanent, our time here is ‘extending’ and it is tough to miss the family gatherings. But, we are enjoying making new friends and starting new traditions here in the US. Lovely post, lovely memories xx #TheOrdinaryMoments
Katie @mummydaddyme says
This post made me feel a little emotional. I can’t imagine what a hard decision it is knowing that you are leaving behind family and friends, but also ultimately the right choice for you, and the prospect of a better life. I wish I was brave enough to do it. And they look gorgeous in their festive outfits.x