I was exceedingly happy for my isolation to end on December 22nd. It seemed we’d at least managed to avoid a Covid Christmas Day. I’d already missed out on a few Christmas things including an annual theatre trip with my eldest for the second year running. Unfortunately my joy at freedom was short-lived; that same day, two out of three of the children tested positive. It was a massive blow. We had to cancel plans left, right and centre.
In 2020 we had a far more quiet Christmas than usual due to restrictions. It was just my dad, who was in our bubble, that came over. My gregarious dad is like having three people all at once so it still felt quite lively, but even he couldn’t come over this time.
It would be the first time we’d have Christmas just us five. The Boxing Day plans, which should have seen my brother and his girlfriend, my mother-in-law and brother-in-laws all coming over had to be cancelled. I won’t lie, it was hugely disappointing.
The kids took the news better than us. They were buoyed, no doubt, by the prospect of presents. They were also happy that I’d taken off the days running up to Christmas Day. Proof yet again of their resilience and positivity.
Thankfully neither had symptoms beyond a mild cough/cold; and that’s the main thing I had to bear in mind to help quell my disappointment. My husband and I felt rather deflated, especially Matt who loves cooking for people. We had all manner of culinary treats stacked up in the fridge, freezer and cupboards ready to feed a lot more than five people over the two days.
Getting busy in the kitchen (just for us)
In the run up to Christmas Day, we made some of the kids’ favourite nibbles of Pizzette and created our first ever gingerbread house (thanks Lidl). We even attempted our first ever ‘Cheat’s’ churros Nutella Christmas tree, which was fun, pretty simple to make and very, very tasty.
Games and puzzle
Isolation meant that the annual Christmas puzzle challenge was completed far quicker than usual. We played even more games than normal. The kids have stayed up really late pretty much every day of the holidays, which has meant we’ve watched loads of films.
What was meant to be a family pre-Christmas day out, which included the annual tradition of getting our Christmas cheese from La Fromagerie, meeting my uncle, and having a general mooch about London was cancelled. I ended up going to get the cheese on my own. After being in isolation for 10 days I decided to make the most of it and took myself out for lunch. It was surprisingly nice and I enjoyed it.
I was able to get some last minute stocking fillers and do other Christmas bits and bobs super efficiently. However, I felt huge remorse whenever I saw something Christmassy that I wanted the kids to see too. This dissipated when I was greeted with the below scene on my return. They’d spent several happy hours on the Nintendo Switch with dad!
Cleaning the house (for Santa?) was followed by more games and a fire outside in the evening where we had some nibbles by candlelight. Then it was linguine alle vongole (linguine pasta with clams) as part of my nod to the Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes.
Later the girls opened their Christmas Eve box, which included treats we could tuck into whilst we watched more films and Christmas TV! It also included a few little pampering items, cosy socks, BrainBox game and ‘Christmas dresses’ for them all to wear the next day. In the evening Matt and I treated ourselves.
Meals on wheels
My dad gets our annual Italian Christmas cake. He brought it over and we cut it in half as he was now going to spend Christmas Day with my brother.
My dad doing the final prep at my brother’s house
In return, Matt provided pre-prepped beef Wellington, dauphinoise potatoes, and lobsters that he’d cooked that day. Alongside this he also provided some very good wine! It was nice to know that we’d still be a part of their day even though we weren’t going to be together. Matt was happy that he had cooked for people in addition to us five.
The morning started off as usual with stockings opened in our room. We had a lovely breakfast and then began opening the main presents.
Lunch was fabulous as always. We took time to savour it and the girls remained sat down for over two hours. We interspersed with crackers with their silly jokes and games.
After lunch we took proper time out to play with presents and play more games and watch more films! We extended this into Boxing Day. Though we missed having guests, we filled the day with lots of fun and laughter. We also FaceTimed relatives 🙂 Christmas was saved!