It's that time of year again when the tree is groaning with ornaments, bought and homemade and ribbon, and Little D is waiting by the fireplace ready for Father Christmas. He takes his Christmas chores seriously and on Christmas Eve he is literally armed with oats and carrots for the reindeers, a bottle of sherry and a mince pie for Father Christmas. It's the latter that's the hardest to keep in his hand as he has discovered that he likes them, a lot. It is one small boy's adoration of the fat man in the red suit versus his own stomach.
Of course, Little D loses this battle when it comes to homemade sausage rolls. We start off with twenty-four on Christmas Eve and within half an hour of them coming out of the oven we're down to a dozen. Even Andrew who has been suffering with a cold for the last week doesn't say no to a couple of them. Oh well, it is Christmas and at least we know what's in these sausage rolls from the pastry to the meat. Any attempt though to give them to neighbours is thwarted as they are to damn tasty to get beyond the doorstep. However, Christmas should be about community too and a neighbour leaves Little D a gift which he over the moon with, a Gruffalo calendar. It's an act of kindness that makes his day and our's.
Christmas Eve breakfast rolls around, late and more like a brunch at this time of year as we are all dispatched over the villages to pick things up and drop things off; sausages appear again in homemade bread - it's a staple easy meal as the kitchen gears up for the big day - it's our chance as a family to sit down after all our chores, the calm before the storm and enjoy some treats.
It's also the time before breakfast that the Christmas Mice deliver the Christmas hamper and Little D discovers he is on the nice list. Naughty boys don't get hampers. Naughty adults don't get to be elves and drink hot chocolate. It's a family hamper affair.
This isn't an expensive hamper, it's Christmas pyjamas, some books and hot chocolate. It's a cardboard box wrapped up in wrapping paper. There's the Christmas stockings, years old now and ready for the fireplace, a bag for Little D with a letter from Father Christmas in and a chance for him to write back. There's marshmallows for the hot chocolate, The Night Before Christmas to read to Little D and a Christmas plate and sherry glass, there's a DVD in there to watch later on when we're getting cosy by the fire and shuttering up the windows against guests. They'll be with us on the big day and today we just want to be together and forget there is work to be done, beds to be mulched, seeds to be ordered and growing plans to be decided. The big days rolls out and Little D sums it all up with his excitement.
He's catered for in the toy department, from us to grandparents, his parcels bulge and hours of building things commences. You can see the fear in Andrew's face. Secretly, he loves it. We get our hands on out of print books that make us smile.
Plants that brighten the house.
Hams that warm the stomach at breakfast with some eggs and toast.