Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’
My family have known their fair share of Christmas disasters to be frank with you.
I think it’s just a given that most families actually do. I’m talking high drama and major meltdowns. Luckily, recent years have seen smoother festivities (which sadly I’ve missed due to celebrating Christmas here in Malta most of the time). The worst fiasco has been mince pie fails and over competitiveness at Christmas family game night.
So I got to thinking about pulling together a post featuring other people’s Christmas disasters, a sort of festive version of my #OopsFiles series.
The result, thanks to the bloggers who offered up their stories, is the following!
Last year we did a Christmas Eve box for the first time. During the day, my girls helped to build and decorate a gingerbread house. We saved it until the evening so we could show their Dad when he got home from work. When it came to settling down as a family that evening we got the Gingerbread house out and began to nibble. It wasn’t long before my youngest let out an almighty shriek and began to cry, holding her nose. In a flash, I realised what she had done – she had stuck a sugar ball decoration up her nose. Speaking to 111 at 6pm on Christmas Eve explaining that ‘my daughter has just put a sugar ball off the gingerbread house up her nose’ was such a surreal conversation. We were sent off to A&E, a 45 minute drive away, to get the little ball free. By the time we were seen the little ball had started to dissolve so we were sent home. It was so far from the cosy Christmas Eve box experience that we had imagined, and I don’t think we will be building gingerbread houses ever again!
One Christmas a couple of years ago, I bought my Grandmother a little gift set containing some homemade smellies; bath bombs, bath confetti, body moisturiser, that kind of thing. I also purchased her a pretty cupcake shaped soap, complete with soap textured icing and a little gingerbread man topper. Christmas Day arrived and I handed my Gran her gifts. I noticed the soapy icing had started to melt a bit so told my gran to be careful. S then proceeded to scoop up the melted ‘icing’ with her finger and proceeded to lick it off! My family were all in hoots of laughter as I shouted “You can’t eat it, it’s soap!” I understand the soap looked realistic but she’s never lived it down!
As a parent I tell many many lies to keep the magic of the big man in red alive. I want my kids to believe for as long as possible and shall be giving any children in the playground who deny father Christmas’s existence my best evil eye. I myself found out the truth on Christmas morning whilst unwrapping the gifts in my stocking. And it was my Mum that gave it away. My Dad kept nodding off and my Mum kept nudging him awake. Obviously irritated she snapped at him “I don’t know why you’re so tired, I did the stockings last night”. My mum vehemently denies this now, but little ears people. They hear everything!
My husband thinks he’s good at drawing. And in fairness when he is copying an image he’s pretty good. He’s been known to really impress the kids with a picture of Lightening McQueen. However without anything to copy and when under time pressure, he’s well, not so good. In fact he’s shit! The proof of this is easily seen in a festive family game of Pictionary. His drawing of what was supposed to be an airplane was so bad that his Grandma quite literally peed herself laughing. I’ve never seen her move so fast to get to the bathroom! It was a memorable game.
No one makes Roast potatoes as amazing as my Mum. We love to mimic her catch phrase at every Sunday dinner ‘Are those the best roast potatoes you’ve ever had? Do they make you say Mmmm?!’. Yes Mum.
Needless to say, her perfect Christmas dinners are on another level. The year the roast potatoes were cremated as she served Baileys to more unexpected guests, it just wasn’t going to do. My stepdad was sent to the garage for potatoes at 3pm on Christmas Day and we were told to have some cheese footballs while dinner was pushed back 2 hours. As we finally sat down to eat the feast and somewhat underdone potatoes, the prosecco was popped and we reassured Mum it looked incredible. As she reached for the pickled onions, her arm knocked the fizz over, soaking the table and flooding the dish of spuds.
Despite all giving nuveau cuisine a go, I can’t recommend prosecco potatoes. The cold burnt ones were retrieved from the kitchen and doused in hot gravy; Christmas was saved. To this day we remember ‘The Christmas with the potatoes’; always offering a drop of bubbly with the potatoes, which, yes Mum, are best I’ve ever had. Mmmmm.
1. A “certain someone” went out for Christmas drinks. He came home in the early hours and was completely drunk. He stumbled up the stairs and fell asleep, at the top of the stairs. His feet were dangling over the top step and his top half was on the top landing. I told him to get up and that he can’t sleep in our bed as the baby had woken up and was sleeping in our bed (didn’t want alcohol fumes over the newborn!). I wanted him to sleep downstairs. But, he must have forgotten that my mother was also staying over because he then got up and proceeded to go to the spare room (where my mum was sleeping) and he got into her bed, next to her! My mother jumped out of bed and then had to sleep on the sofa downstairs!
2. A “certain someone” I know, went out for a Christmas party on the 23rd December (the day before Christmas Eve). He came home in the early hours of Christmas Eve morning and proceeded to stumble around. He went to the bathroom to go to the toilet. He had a full bottle of whiskey in his hand (which he had received as a gift). Instead of putting the bottle down, he decided to put it in his pocket whilst going to the toilet. The bottle fell out of his pocket smashed through the toilet cistern and broke the toilet. Christmas Eve was then spent in a DIY shop buying a replacement toilet and frantically fitting it before everyone came for Christmas lunch! The bottle of whiskey was totally fine, not even a slight scratch!
Back in 2009 I’d not long moved to Gloucestershire and was looking forward to another ‘quick’ journey up the road to Scotland for Christmas. The weather was set to change the next day, but I’d be there for dinner with my parents. Hubby (then boyfriend) was flying up on Boxing Day so I was on my own. Singing along to Christmas tunes I didn’t care there were a few hold ups before the border. The weather was good. Then the snow hit. When I say hit, it came from no-where, blue sky, then, white snow bombarding me. I slowed a bit, expecting it to pass. Then, as quickly as it initially hit, I actually couldn’t see, I gradually slowed so I didn’t skid. Lorries had jack-knifed, cars had skidded: the M74 was shut. I sat in the car alone, just able to see other cars. All stuck, all snowed in until just after midnight. After over 6 hours, we started crawling. There were more close calls with cars skidding towards me, but I arrived at 1.30am. I was exhausted and relieved. Most of all, I didn’t need the toilet! So, my oops moment is trusting the the weather forecast. What idiot actually does that?!
So our Christmas disaster comes at a time pre-children, back when we could drink with merry abandonment, which is probably where it all went wrong! I’m a vegetarian and my husband isn’t. I always have a lovely mushroom strudel, and this year, as it was just him eating meat, he got a pheasant. All fine so far. He wanted to wrap it in bacon, but it wouldn’t stay on and we had no cocktail sticks so he reached for the next best thing; some corn on the cob holders. With sweet little plastic corns on the ends. Can you see where this is going? Bacon firmly skewered in, he popped it in the oven in a lidded pan to cook. When it was done, he lifted the lid to see long strings of bright yellow plastic. Yep, those cute little corns had totally melted!! His dinner was ruined and being Christmas Day nowhere was open. So I shared my strudel with him, but believe me, he was the saddest figure in a paper crown that day!! I’m still not sure he can see the funny side 10 years on!
Last Christmas was going to be magical. A Christmas at home, just the four of us. The kiddies had their usual pre-Christmas bugs which had cleared by the 23rd. I was super organised and by the evening of Christmas Eve utterly confident that the next day would go without a hitch… until about 9pm when I started to feel like I had been hit by truck. Cold, achy bones, headache. I took myself off to bed with some paracetamol hoping that when I woke I would feel better. No such luck. I made it through the opening of the presents in the morning, and even managed to put the turkey in the oven while hubs did the rest of the food prep. He had also started to feel a bit poorly at this point. When I took the turkey out of the oven I looked at it and burst into tears saying “I feel so ill, I just can’t face dinner” – hubs then admitted that neither could he too. But, the kiddies needed to eat, so between the two of us we managed to rustle up some ever so festive Fishfinger sandwiches. My son announced “This is the BEST Christmas dinner EVER!” and I cried some more.
One Christmas Eve, I thought I’d be a little ambitious and bake my very first Yule Log, based on a recipe from a Nigella Lawson book. It was the first Christmas at my in laws so I wanted to make a good impression. I spent a small fortune on posh ingredients and got to work. I went to assemble the super soft sponge and heavy icing concoction..and it all fell apart! Disheartened, I put it in the bin and spent another two hours mixing and baking. When the moment of truth arrived, the same thing happened again! My poor fiancé found me crying in the kitchen at midnight in a huge sulk. I haven’t attempted a Nigella recipe since and still feel sour when I see her on TV!
Several years ago before my brother and his wife were married, we spent Christmas at their house. And by ‘we’, I mean my whole family: siblings, partners, kids – and my mum…
On Christmas Eve we were enjoying a few drinks in the evening (kids in bed, obvs), and we decided to play Cranium – one of those board games where you have to act out a title/term/saying, etc. My poor sister-in-law was blessed/cursed (you decide) with an ‘action’ card and the words ‘sperm whale’. Do I have to spell the rest out for you?
Suffice to say, my intensely shy and ‘proper’ SIL did herself and our family proud – she secured her place as my brother’s wife during that momentous performance. Even my mum guessed the answer, because really, how could any of us fail to understand her very convincing gestures? It’s a rather special moment which has gone down in family history.
So how about you? What was your worst festive disaster?
Nobody Seems to Think About What Santa Wants for Christmas do they?
So this Christmas Eve, whilst you’re busy wrapping that last gift, making sure the stockings are full, observing your various Christmas traditions and putting out a mince pie/cookie for Santa along with a carrot or two for his four-legged sleigh partners, will it dawn on you to leave an actual gift for the poor man? You didn’t think about what Santa wants for Christmas, did you? I admit, the only reason I did is because he visited me in a dream. Seriously…I could have been dreaming of Henry Cavill, Bradley Cooper, Dave Grohl, Adam Levine…er or Hubster…but no, I ended up being visited in my slumber by an overweight man in a red suit and dodgy boots. Just my damned luck.
Anyways, he was a-moaning and a-lamenting about how he visits the world’s kids and bestows gifts galore on them following their every wish as laid out in their letters only to get: zilch…nothing…rien…nada…zip in return. So I promised I’d put in a good word for him here on the blog (frankly I was desperate to get back to sleep). So please be a dear and see if you can get him something from his 8 things Santa wants for Christmas list ok?
Because there are only so many times a man can lose his cornflakes in his beard without losing his dignity too. (I reckon this one will please him.)
The skies are way busier than they used to be. Santa may have a super cool sleigh but you just can’t be too careful these days. Good luck with that.
3. Go Pro Camera
Because sleigh selfies at high speed…of course!
4. Large Cooler Bag
Contrary to popular belief, everyone’s favourite man in red doesn’t eat all those treats left out for him at each house. He could really do with something decent to put them in as it’s getting a bit gross stuffing them down his suit each time. And look…I found a Polar Gear one. Yep, pun totally intended…come on, it’s Christmas..let me have my fun ok?
5. Boob Job
No not for him; for Mrs Claus. What can I say? She’s a great toy-maker, workshop manager etc (and boy can she whip those elves into shape when they’re slacking) but let’s just say she’s let some things…erm…‘go south’.
6. Designer Eye Glasses
Let’s face it, those wire-rimmed round ones are sooo 18th century and he’s earned the right to have the good stuff.
Well yeah! Rudolph’s not getting any younger (I know he’s supposed to be immortal but it’s MY blog so I can say he’s not getting any younger if I want to) and the poor little deer nearly fell out of the sleigh last year. Come on now. Santa’s wingman cannot fall out of the sleigh!
8. A brand new suit
That drycleaner’s become a bit complacent and frankly the suit don’t smell so good…well if you stuffed mince pies and cookies down your trousers all night, you’d honk a bit too. Am I right or am I right?
Seriously folks, that poor man is starting to feel more and more down-hearted each year. It’s time we thought about what Santa wants for Christmas. So, can you help?
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I’m really not sure what surprised me the most today.
Perhaps it was the fact that I just never seem to change my scatty ways, which meant that yet again, after doing all the morning drop offs (M and D at school, K at nursery and hubster at work – and yes I AM going to buy myself a chauffeur’s uniform in the January sales), I of course had to go back home due to another ‘Prabs misplaces her phone incident’.
Necessary action included: hunting high and low for the phone, failing to find it, logging on to my computer to access Facebook to go through my messages to get my friend S.W.’s number so that I could call her from the landline (are you keeping up with this?) as we were going shopping to get me a Christmas jumper (sweater) for this weekend’s pub crawl, calling S.W. and arranging a meeting point as I wouldn’t be able to call her once I got there (and then mulling in a bemused manner over how very 80’s/early 90’s this arranging a rendezvous due to absence of mobile was).
No none of that surprised me.
Perhaps it was hearing a bhangra track being played on the car radio while I was on my way to meet my friend, which is absolutely the first time I’ve ever heard any of form of Indian music on mainstream Maltese radio. (Go Malta!)
Definitely surprising enough for me to pull over to the side of the road so that I could act out all my “I’m really surprised right now!” facial expressions while in a safe stationary position.
No, I think what surprised me the most today was the fact that I went shopping to buy a jumper and came back with a onesie:
do I wear this to go out on the town or wash the car?
I don’t know:
– if I’m in the throes of a mid-life crisis (last time I checked it was NOT normal to buy a red velour all-in-one outfit at a certain age, with the intention of wearing it outside the house…outside the house is probably ok as long as it means you don’t go any further than your garage door)
– whether anyone says ‘outfit’ anymore
– if it’s slightly freaky that the women’s ones didn’t fit me and that I bought mine from the kids’ section
– if I simply have poor judgement (don’t say a word)
– whether I’m just too easily influenced by my friends (damn that beautiful blond-haired blue-eyed musical-voiced Swede for managing to convince me in no more than 2 minutes that this a was a good choice for me
– if there’ll be enough Martini available on Saturday to help me dull the pain of realising I’m out on a Saturday night in a bloody onesie
– whether I should use those Christmas baubles, that I bought today, to decorate my lounge…or acessorise my onesie instead.
But I do know this is probably the last time I go shopping with that Swedish chick 🙂
At the time of writing this, I have a head full of cold and a sore throat so I’m a little worried that this may not be my most complete and stellar offering. I think I may well be onto something here though and as the fog of this head cold lifts, I’m sure that many other questions will spring to mind. So I reserve the right to revisit the theme started in this post and add to it as time goes on. After all, every day brings a new lesson and we never stop learning right…?
For the time being, here’s my letter to Santa:
I’ve already ordered some earphones for the now rare occasion that I go out for a run, I’ll make do with my natural skincare and skip the Dermalogica (heck, I’ve been without it most of the year so I’ll just manage for a while longer) and just listen to that Stereophonics Graffiti on the Train album via You Tube for the time being. And I guess I’ll simply drop some subtle hints to hubster about that food processor I need. So my wishlist is a bit different this year.
Actually hang on Santa. Hubster, if you’re reading this, can you go get me the Kenwood Multi pro from our regular supermarket pleeeeeeze? Was that subtle enough? Right Santa, back with you. About my wishlist…all I want from you this Christmas is your wisdom and your guidance on some areas of my life I’m struggling with. I’m baring my soul Santa so please don’t laugh:
How do I have so many half open packets of carrots in the fridge?
How do some humans make groundbreaking decisions that impact entire nations while I can’t even choose which items to order from Ikea? How is it taking me longer to decide whether to turn the playroom into a kid’s bedroom than it takes some governments to formulate a peace treaty?
Why do I get so ridiculously excited when a parcel is delivered?
How have I only just found out that the late great Johnny Cash did a cover of U2’s One? And that the Stereophonics did a cover of the Foo’s Best of You and the Beatles‘ Don’t Let Me Down song? And that – ok clearly I could go on for a while here…
How do my kids not hear me call their name just 20 freaking centimetres from their face but magically appear by my side 2 seconds after I silently mouth ‘I’m about to eat the last slice of chocolate cake’?
Why/when/how did Musical M become aware of skin colour when we have consciously raised our kids to see the person, not the person’s colour, sending them to a school with an amazing number of nationalities, creeds and cultures? WHEN did she start feeling ‘uncool’ because of her brown skin and dark hair? And please Santa tell me, how do I teach this beautiful, intelligent, happy, considerate, intuitive, miracle of a young lady that she is NOT inferior to the blond-haired fair-skinned blue-eyed girls at her school and that she must NEVER let anyone convince her otherwise?
When will I figure out how to wipe kiddie rice/pasta droppings off the kitchen floor without making the mess even worse and streaking the tiles with starchy ming?
How did I lose the confidence and energy that I had a as a cook in my twenties and why does the sight of a kitchen make me just want to scream? Will I go back to being one of those women who loves nothing more than to throw her doors open and cook up a storm for her friends instead of being filled with utter dread at the mere words ‘dinner party’?
When will I finally get my head around the fact that I have no chance with Duran Duran’s John Taylor and that even if I did, there are a couple of bands of platinum around my ring finger that would make it a bad idea anyway?
What kind of a legacy am I creating, if any, for my kids?
Why do I think of an idea (this applies so many areas of my life), proceed to second-guess myself and analyse every potential ramification to the nth degree, change my mind 100 times, waste time and energy and drive everyone around me nuts, only to go with the original thing I decided? Ucch.
Why do I have an infinite capacity for remembering meaningless trivia instead of anything truly important? Double ucch.
Will I ever be able to calculate the right amount of pasta to cook? I either make so much I could literally feed an entire town or so little that my children think I hate them.
Why do I adore bread and nutella so much?
Where did I get my intense, immeasurable, soul-stirring, never-ending, life-affirming passion for music from and how do I pass this on to my children?
Will I drink the mind-blowing hot chocolate of Les Deux Magots on Boulevard St Germain ever again? And if I do, please please please can you make sure that Suzana and Joe are there too? I miss them so much.
When will I accept that I’m the only woman in the world who can’t multi-task all that well? Apparently we can make pancakes, empty the dishwasher, plan the week’s meals and do a conference call all at the same time. I’m not there yet. Well, in theory I could but the whole thing would take me about 4 hours. Which brings me neatly onto:
What can I do to manage my time more effectively? Correction, what can I do to manage my time? (By the way, if you say “It’s simple: wake up earlier, stop dragging your feet around all day practically grieving over how tired you are, before magically coming alive the minute it gets dark, spending the whole night blogging before finally retiring at stupid o’clock”, then you and I are DONE Santa and I’ll blow your secret wide open. I just want a magic quick fix. No sensible stuff.)
Will I ever get rid of the guilt I’ve been feeling about not saying goodbye to a friend who passed away last year? And will there come a day when I can think of her with a smile, not tears.
When will I learn to be happy with the person that I am? Or muster up the whatever-it-is-one-musters-up to become the person that I’d like to be?
And er, sorry Santa but HOW the blooming jingle bells do I explain to my kids that you don’t actually exist? You can just leave the answers in a letter next to the mince pie plate before you leave on Christmas Eve…just in case I fall asleep again like last year.
Twas the night before Christmas and frankly Mama was blooming exhausted
(Hubster, you can hold the jokes about me never managing to stay up thanks. What are you still doing here anyway? Don’t you have a food processor to fetch?)
This post starts off my Christmas 2013 segment The Twelve Posts of Christmas. And as a treat, I have a hilarious guest post by my talented, crazy, runner chick, working-mum, fund-raising, Christmas gift making (I told you she was crazy) mate Anne Joyce. Oh and BIG DISCLAIMER: if I get to about post 8, run out of steam and go do something else instead like sit around drinking wine, don’t hold it against me.
I’m going to talk about presents I am making for THIS Christmas. If you are my family, please don’t read this. Jog on and don’t look at any photos. Off you go, Mum…
Have they gone?
Busy mother throws together thoughtful and immaculately produced handcrafted Christmas gifts to the rapturous acclaim of recipients, whilst saving money, avoiding the high streets and feeling smug.
Between working full time, co-ordinating the PTA ‘Santa’s Helper’ project, training for a marathon and watching just enough trashy TV to get me through, of course I thought it was a splendid idea to make some family presents. I would be saving money and giving something with real thought and time invested in it. Time. I didn’t pay too much attention to THAT part…
I started off well enough. Way back in September, I surfed around, looking for good ideas. I made a list of what would work for each recipient, what I would need to buy and where to order it from. I was immediately drawn to two items (seriously, Mum, look away now, PLEASE). The first was a no-sew fleece blanket. Those magic words ‘no-sew’ drew me in, promising ease, speed and well… no sewing. I knew that there were fabulous patterned fleece fabrics available and I could make some great double layers with a pattern and a block colour. Then there was the homemade flavoured vodka. I knew JUST the person for that and it looked so easy as I skim read the recipes, apparently only requiring skill enough to throw sweets in the vodka and shake it for a bit. I decided on a few other projects and was happy. And smug.
Then the bit of paper sat in my diary for a really, really long time. And then it was the end of November.
Rather hurriedly I ordered fabric, pleased that it was all I had to order for the no-sew creations. In passing, I thought that 1.5 metres wasn’t big enough, 2 metres was much better. I turned my attention to the vodka which needed pretty bottles. Eventually finding them in Lakeland, I finally bought the vodka and sweets that I thought would work from the lists I had scanned online: Skittles and Werthers Originals. The process went a bit like this:
o Drain weird purple Pimms (leftover from summer) into a jar. (What? I’m not wasteful!)
o Wash empty bottle, decant half of a litre bottle of vodka into it.
o Open Werthers, try not to let three year old see. Fail.
o Discover Werthers don’t fit through the neck of a vodka bottle.
o Smash Werthers into the bottle one-by-one with a blunt ended implement.
o Try to stop three year-old picking up and eating toffee shards from the floor.
o Sweep up toffee shards.
o Swoosh it around a bit, realise it isn’t going to dissolve straight away and decide to work on the skittles vodka.
o Sort skittles so that no green or purple ones go into the vodka, making the colour muddy.
o Eat leftover green and purple skittles (while hiding from three year old).
o Throw the orange, red and yellow ones into the bottle and swoosh it around a bit.
o Return later to admire your beautifully dissolved…hang on…WHAT THE HELL IS FLOATING ON THE SKITTLES VODKA?!
Google ‘skittles vodka’ skittles vodka and according to Something Random the ming needs to be filtered out before you bottle it.
Sigh and abandon bottles for the night, decide to focus on blankets as the fabric has arrived.
The Werthers vodka needs to be filtered too.
Ah, the blankets. Have you any idea how much fabric four double-sided 1.5 x 2 metre blankets consist of? Laid out, the blanket didn’t fit on the floor space I had. Undaunted (it’s no-sew so it’s going to be a breeze right?!), I set to with the family scissors, which cost next to nothing and clearly were not designed to cut two layers of fleece. An hour and three blisters later, I admitted defeat and retreated to trashy TV. A trip to Hobbycraft a few days later and I returned home with hardcore tailors’ shears. Thankfully they breezed through the rest of that first blanket, which does look fantastic, but sewing would probably have been quicker…
Well, I need to say the ‘potential’ results because a week into December, I’m still in the midst of all of this. Two blankets down and two to go, still haven’t found a suitable presentation bag/box for the vodka (which is yet to be filtered), still not bought cushion covers (I am going to use iron-on ink-jet paper to transfer my own designs over), still waiting for one bit of replacement fleece to arrive and still not labelled all the jam/chutney combos.
And, I’m going to be honest, I’m not making presents for the boys. Can you imagine the collective look of horror if faced with some hand-crafted creation from me and not a karting suit (eldest – 10 years) or bike (youngest – 3 years)?
But I’ll be pleased with what I make. This will mainly be because I, hopefully, manage to make it all… And hopefully, did not dissolve into a weeping puddle, coated in fleece off-cuts and skittle vodka ‘ming’. So if you see a smug mum telling you about all her handcrafted gems, she’s really just thankful she managed to do it and get out of the other side alive.
And never trust anything that says ‘no-sew’.
Mum, if you read this far, you’ve ruined Christmas.
I can’t help you any more.
Written by Anne Joyce