Life Update: Christmas Is Not A Holiday

ruth crilly family update

Happy New Year everyone! I wasn’t supposed to be back at work until at least the 7th January (preferably the 14th) but then I remembered that my life update goes out on the third of every month and my superstitious nature won’t let me bend the rules and postpone it.

So here I am, popping back, most likely for a rant about Christmas hospitality and the pointlessness of turkey but also to tell you how many times my children have sneezed and/or coughed directly into my mouth since we last spoke on the 23rd December.

Seven times.

I have also been ridden like a horse whilst trying to scrub stains from the living room carpet, had my eyes poked when I’ve least expected it in a new game that seems to be called “EYES! MOUTH! MAMA!” and accidentally stuck my hand into a nappy filled with yellow poo.

Why do we ever think that Christmas is going to be a holiday? A break? Christmas is not a holiday.

Yes it’s different, because it’s noisy and pine-scented and we have visitors and it’s all jolly and festive and we get to spend unadulterated, unbroken time with our families or children; but at the same time it’s actually harder work than being at proper work. It’s noisy, it’s pine-scented, there are visitors, constant streams of them, and we have to spend unadulterated, unbroken time with our families or children. Hohoho.

ruth crilly family update

I’m bloody knackered, I tell you. I’m knackered and I just want to go to the toilet on my own for more than eighteen seconds. Some things just can’t be achieved in eighteen seconds and it starts to play havoc with your insides. Especially if your insides are formed of 76% hard cheese and 24% Lindt. And that’s another thing; it’ll take me virtually until next Christmas to be able to wear any of my normal clothes – I’m currently housed in a maternity kimono because I can’t pull on my trousers past my knees and all of my jumpers and tops suddenly look (very unfashionably) cropped. I’ve been hovering over the “buy” button on Me+Em because they have loads of slouchy tracksuit bottoms in the sale but really I should just stop eating chocolate truffles for lunch (eleven truffles = substantial energy boost) and then I could just wear the stuff I already own. Which would make more sense.

The thing is (whispers): I don’t even really like Christmas food. A bit of turkey with some cranberry sauce and gravy all floating within the world’s biggest Yorkshire pudding and that would do me. And before you all gasp in horror that I would dare to have Yorkshire pudding on Christmas day and not strictly with beef then let me remind you that a Yorkshire pudding is pretty much the only element of a roast dinner that’s worth eating. Everything else is just boring old fare you could have at any time – carrots? Oh, woo-hoo. Brussel sprouts? Don’t even get me started on them. They’re a form of punishment and not a vegetable.

Red cabbage is just a fancy, more prettily-coloured way to dole out cigar-flavoured slop and I can’t honestly see the point in slaving away over roast potatoes, spooning goose fat over them every six-point-two-five minutes precisely (Mr AMR) and then triple-roasting them in a colander with a blow-torch and a fire extinguisher or whatever it is that goes on. I’d rather have mash. In fact, next year that’s what I’m going to have. Chicken and mash. The chicken will be juicier than the turkey, the mash will require less effort than the roasted potatoes (although Mr AMR will actually divorce me) and we can have some garden peas on the side. Job done.

Less washing up, at any rate. None of the trays and dishes and gravy jugs and other bits and pieces that you don’t use at all for the other 364 days of the year ever fit into the dishwasher, which means that you actually have to use the sink, and the trays and dishes and gravy jugs just keep on coming. The grease! The burnt-on bits of stuff! It’s enough to make you want to have a long lie down…

ruth crilly family update

I have to say though; Angelica and Ted have been an absolute joy. Even at the meltdown times when we’ve all had cabin fever and got a bit shouty, they’ve been great value for money. Angelica understood what Christmas was this year – including the part about Baby Cheeses, which I think must be Baby Jesus, which is something they must have discussed at nursery at great length because she knows all about a thief in the market being a bad man and Baby Cheeses being a good man.

Any man called Baby Cheeses is going to be a good man, to be fair; you’re not going to be a villain with a name like that.

“Bow down before me, mortals!”

“Oh God, Simon, it’s that dark overlord the angels warned us about! The one who’ll lead us into temptation and basically get us all killed!”

“Bow down before me and prepare to meet thy destiny, wretched, putrid people of the earth!”

“Oh Simon, what are we to do? He’s hideous! His face is a mass of worms and his arms are made of snakes!”

“Rub your faces into the soil, mortals, and brace yourselves for an eternity of pain and suffering, for I am Baby Cheeses!”

It just wouldn’t work.

Other malapropisms from Angelica:

“Mummy, please warm up my pyjamas on the alligator.” / “Mummy I’ve dropped my colouring book down the back of the alligator!” And my favourite of the moment, “colesnore” instead of “coleslaw”.

Ted (a month shy of being two years old) is making a hell of a lot of racket but there are no new properly-formed words yet – we have Dada, Mama, Gaga (Angelica), Bear (Mr Bear), Woof Woof (Dexter) and Vroom (car), but everything else is still a bit of an aural blur. Weirdly, Angelica seems to know exactly what he’s saying at all times and so acts as a translator, even though she’s learnt to bend her translations to suit her own needs.

“What’s he saying, Angelica?”

“Ted says he wants to share a gingerbread man with me Mummy!”

mr bear and angelica

Life with two small children seems to sometimes be a relentless carousel of providing snacks, mopping up spilt drinks, shouting “I said DON’T CLIMB ON THAT!” and picking Paw Patrol stickers from the woodwork. When some friends visited just before Christmas with their own children, I realised that the adults were all dancing around the children’s dinner table like medieval servers or jesters. Passing cups, wiping spills, fetching more meat or distracting one of them so that the other could retrieve their fork or spoon without starting a small diplomatic catastrophe. Even the dog slunk around under the table catching bits of fallen bacon fat or potato, looking like a baron’s hound returned from a hunt.

But I have to say that as I saw in the New Year (entirely sober, on the sofa, eating a Mint Magnum) I realised that there isn’t a single thing I want more than this – I have absolutely everything I need within the four walls of my house. Of course, to stay sane and for personal fulfilment there are scores of work goals and other bits and pieces I’d like to manage (and obviously we need money to keep the four walls around us from crumbling down and to eat) but on a fundamental, “meaning of life” sort of level, I had a kind of epiphany. The children were sleeping upstairs, Mr AMR was flicking between Netflix, Amazon Prime and Now TV in the annoying way that makes me want to smash him over the top of the head with a griddle pan and the dog and cat were lying in front of the fire, and I just had an overwhelming sensation of calm. This is it, I thought. This is what I’ve been waiting for.

ruth crilly

Anyway, then I got a text from Google saying that someone from Milton Keynes had attempted to access my Youtube account and then I suddenly realised I’d left the damp washing in the washing machine for six whole days so that killed the mood somewhat, but for a few seconds, everything was completely right with the world. My stars had aligned, or whatever the phrase is. Hopefully my Dad was up there with the stars, aligning them, probably really moodily, shouting at them in his broad Scottish accent (“Get tae f*ck ye stupid stars with ye stupid bright blindin’ lights!”) and I would have preferred for him to have been somewhat closer, but you can’t have everything you wish for. No matter how hard you wish for it.

Right, that’s me until next week. This was just a brief pop-in because a) I can’t ever be late with a Life Update  post and b) I didn’t want you all to forget me. Our nanny started back today (I’ve actually increased the days from two to three days a week for a few months because I have a huge project I’m finishing off) and so I’m going to do really relaxing things like tidy and sort out the airing cupboard and find the missing statements that my accountant needs. I’m actually missing Ted and Angelica, even though I can hear them in the distance, bashing the ride-on plastic car into the kitchen cabinets and slamming the doors – isn’t it funny how you can feel so overwhelmed one minute, desperate for just the shortest of breaks, and then so needy and guilty the next?

Tell me about your Christmas “breaks” and “holidays”: has anyone actually managed to relax? Because I’m beginning to remember Christmas life pre-kids and that wasn’t any less hectic either: as the most portable, flexible adults, we were required to do what was known as the Festive Tour, which meant driving around the UK like lunatics stopping off at various friends’ and relatives’ houses to sleep on camp beds and sofa pull-outs. And loads and loads of sustained, low-level alcohol consumption, rather like at a wedding, so that we were never fully pissed but just always kind of groggy and blurry and tired. I used to get to January 2nd and feel as though I needed to take a bath in Berocca and now I feel the same but for very different reasons! Tell me all: I await your anecdotal material with a level of enthusiasm that’s not quite proper.

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  1. Sevda
    January 6, 2019 / 8:11 pm

    Another great post.

    My 2 yr old nephew told me today he had kick ups.

  2. January 6, 2019 / 3:02 pm

    Hi Ruth,

    happy new year to you as well :)

    you have such a beautiful family, I really liked this post with all the nice pictures!



  3. Valerie
    January 6, 2019 / 2:37 am

    In my town there is an after-hours grilled cheese sandwich shop named Cheeses Murphy. Thought you’d like that.

  4. January 5, 2019 / 4:27 pm

    This year, we had a curry on Christmas day. I am sick of doing things that we don’t really want because ‘tradition’ dictates that we do so!

    Danielle xx

  5. Poorani
    January 5, 2019 / 1:52 pm

    What is the alligator? I have racked my brain.

    • Sevda
      January 6, 2019 / 8:01 pm


      • Poorani
        January 7, 2019 / 4:14 pm

        Thank you.

    • Sevda
      January 6, 2019 / 8:09 pm


    • Kath
      January 7, 2019 / 1:21 am

      The radiator?

  6. January 5, 2019 / 1:30 pm

    Bonjour Ruth: I went to France for 3 days, celebrated Christmas with my family on 23rd. Came back on 24th and have been binging on ‘Un village français’ boxsets ( a French series set in WWII which respects the true facts), loving it so much I started the book called ‘What soldiers do – Sex and the American GI in WWII France)’, yes, I know, the world ‘sex’ sold the book to me years ago. I’m loving learning all these things about WWII and what my people went through, my dad lived through the WWII as a child so only saw and told us things from his then child’s point of view.

    Netflix stuff and recommendations:
    I aslo watched a bit of ‘Terrace House’ on Netflix, the Japanese series (3 men and women sharing a house), I’m practising my Japanese listening skills. I loved ‘Love and Fortune’, it’s a Japanese mini-series (love story), still loving and watching the documentary ‘Love and sex around the world’ and started the 3rd season of ‘Call my agent’, the French series, it’s very funny, my students love it, it’s set in Paris and there are a lot of nasty Parisian characters.

    I’ve also been doing a lot of competitions & tidying and getting rid of stuff ‘(esp. paper!). I hadn’t properly rested like this for years. I resumed work on 2nd Jan. Just as well as I had started to get bored. I can’t wait to hear what my adult students have been up to during the holiays. Post-holiday French lessons are the best. Very entertaining. Bonne année Ruth!

  7. Sarah
    January 5, 2019 / 3:55 am

    I was home with my 21 month old for two weeks. It was the longest stretch I’ve had with her since I returned to work four months ago. In some ways it was nice. I quickly fell back into the routines of being a stay at home mom. But being also 16 weeks pregnant made it tiresome after a while. We had cabin fever, she wouldn’t nap long stretches, and no matter how much I cleaned, there way my little tornado right behind causing new chaos.

    Your post gave me a snapshot of my life in the Christmases to come (except my second is a girl, not that it matters) God I hope I have those fleeting moments of total content. Right now I’m too tired to feel anything but, well, tired.

    • January 5, 2019 / 11:02 am

      They are indeed fleeting – the rest of the time, knackered. Mind you, nothing beats pregnancy tiredness – NOTHING – so it will be miles better when you have normal (ish!) energy again!! xx

  8. Trudy
    January 4, 2019 / 10:04 pm

    Also meant to say that I sympathise completely with the ‘nothing-to-wear’ syndrome! I meant to lose a couple of kilos before Christmas when I got my summer wardrobe out. Most things fitted, but were a bit on the tight side. I never managed to lose those extra kgs and now that Christmas and all the eating is finished, I can’t fit anything in my wardrobe! :( I either need to lose that extra weight ASAP, or face the inevitable and buy a new wardrobe :)

  9. Trudy
    January 4, 2019 / 9:50 pm

    I spent Christmas Day with extended family. As one of the only singles, I felt rather out of it (and slightly smug TBH) as all the parents were rushing around looking after kids. I also felt obliged to take said kids on an outing to the park to give parents a break. We had turkey, first time we have tried it for Christmas dinner. I have spent the rest of my two-week work break relaxing at beaches or going on hikes, it’s been brilliant weather, hot and sunny. I was told I could take 3 weeks off if I wanted, but I know from past years that I start getting bored after 2 weeks, and sure enough I’m ready to get back into a routine. I will take another week off later in the year.

    • January 5, 2019 / 11:03 am

      Oh God, the obligatory “give them all a break” outing! Hahaha. You’re a dream. I was never up for that, I just wanted them all to sod off to bed so that I could have some peace!! xxx

  10. Toria Smith
    January 4, 2019 / 4:13 pm

    Laughed out loud at work reading this. I look forward to your posts, no matter the topic, and admire the way you can turn stressful situations into comical ones. Happy 2019!

  11. Ann Farr
    January 4, 2019 / 4:06 pm

    You’re so right – everything you need in your home and feeling happy, even if fleetingly!! I went through the Christmases with my 3 children (and husband of course) who then left me and went to university. They came back with friends! Then there were a few years of partners and wanting to be on their own. And five minutes later there were 8 grandchildren (7 boys and one girl) and the hustle and bustle started all over again! Pooped or what! Glad to get back to ‘normal’ working life (to earn the money for next Christmas I suppose!!) but – actually – I wouldn’t be without it for the world!! Happy new year to you all, Ruth, with lots of happiness and good health.

  12. Cat
    January 4, 2019 / 2:42 pm

    As an American, who has had turkey my entire life for most winter holidays, I love it. Yum. We eat at least 3 meals from it then I boil it down for turkey rice noodle soup. Christmas is never relaxing. I work full time and then work as an independent contractor auditing movie theaters on weekends. Both weekends resulted in full checks of Aquaman and although I thoroughly enjoy Jason Momoa being at the theater all weekend for every screening of Aquaman was extra torture. Paperwork and data entry kept me up til 1 am each night.
    To boot, here in America we have the big orange idiot-in-chief who has closed many government agencies to include the National Park Service of whom my husband works for at Cades Cove, TN. He has no paycheck now. He has binged watched entire series on Netflix and logged so many hours on the PS4 a teenager would be jealous. I am working practically 7 days a week and yet I can’t figure out how to pay the mortgage and jeep payment. I am working on the bare necessities like water and electric. The dishwasher broke 3 weeks ago and the repairman brought a new brain and it still didn’t come back to life so he offered to install a new one for free if we bought a new one. So that was done this past Sunday. So this holiday season has been extra stressful and all the cooking, cleaning, shopping, and wrapping that kept me busy all moments I wasn’t at work (OK, I brought some gifts here to my office and wrapped them and got them ready to ship off) didn’t even phase me like it normally does. I have 5 dogs, 12 rescued cats, a 28 yr old son, a 32 yr old daughter and her 27 yr old fiancé, plus my 52 yr old husband all living in my home that continue to expect me to hold it all together. Yeah, riigghhhttt.
    I love the pics of your angels. Enjoy them despite all the gross stuff..they grow so quickly.
    Happy New Year!

    • January 4, 2019 / 5:11 pm

      Happy New Year – thank you for your brilliant anecdotal material! : )

  13. Kelsey
    January 4, 2019 / 2:40 pm

    Oh you do make me laugh. Love the pictures! I had three days of madness doing the rounds then a killer chest infection popped up out of nowhere on boxing day, and I’m only just feeling better so I had enforced relaxation (dozed on the sofa drinking tea and guzzling paracetamol) and saw no-one. Could have been better, bring on the next bank holiday!

    • January 4, 2019 / 5:11 pm

      Oh NO, Mr AMR had one too! x

  14. Gillian Pidler
    January 4, 2019 / 2:05 pm

    I loved this post and it made me feel two things. One slightly smug as we had the most relaxing Xmas, Xmas dinner at families and then the afternoon at hubbies parents, with his sister and her husband, just relaxing, laughing, chatting and eating. And then a lovely quiet relaxed evening at home in pjs in front of the soaps.
    But also kind of sad that my children (3 of), are all now grown at 27, 25 and 18. My eldest daughter & her new hubby were at his sisters this Christmas day but we did the whole gifts round the tree thing on their return. But happy again that my youngest daughter who still lives with us, still insists on a ‘bed present’, which is a family tradition that my parent’s started with us and that we also spent Boxing day shopping in Exeter with our son and dil and eating Indian for dinner in our pjs that evening.
    All in all very relaxed, I refuse to stress over Xmas for any reason, it’s about family and time spent and that’s it.
    I would also love to read your book if you ever write one, such a way with words and you always paint such a great picture. Happy New Year Ruth xx

  15. Katy
    January 4, 2019 / 11:03 am

    Love ‘Baby Cheeses’. And the beautiful photo of you and Angelica. All very relatable, and you are so good at finding the humour, poignancy and moments of connection (and disconnection) in the day to day. I’m looking forward to reading your posts this year. Ruth, check out David Sedaris’s latest piece in The New Yorker.. I know you are also a fan.xx

  16. Natasha
    January 4, 2019 / 10:59 am

    I feel like I missed Christmas this year as my kids, husband and I had a stomach bug one after the other. Was in bed nearly the whole of Christmas day and when it was all over, we took a 8hr flight home. Feel terrible now for grumbling beforehand that Christmas was going to be hectic. It’s still the school holidays so am trying to enjoy it :).

  17. Diane
    January 4, 2019 / 10:30 am

    O.M.G. Ruth Crilly, I have roared, actually cryed laughing at this post. I soooo understand and have been there done that. Christmas is beyond exhausting for everyone but tiny children who still believe in Father Christmas. You asked how our Christmas went? Well mine was bloody hideous since you asked. I spent the day in casualty before being admitted to ICU for days and days of bloody torture. A minor surgery on 14th of December, went tits up and so did I. So, no Christmas or even New Year’s Eve for me. And the most depressing news to come out of the minor (are you kidding me?) surgery, is that now I am to have a radical double mastectomy on the 11th of February. Not dwelling on the negative has been a blessing to those around me. My long suffering husband is just moaning about yet another ‘AfterPay’ payment coming out of the bank account. He think that we must surely have shares in skin care companies by now. I just told him that as long as I watch Ruth Crilly, there will always be payments coming out of the bank account. My face is actually hurting after reading your post. It is so beyond funny, that I’ve had to read it twice. Once with tears of laughter running down my face x

    • January 4, 2019 / 5:13 pm

      Oh no, I must be on his most hated list! Hahaha x

  18. January 4, 2019 / 10:24 am

    These photos are so cute! Happy New Year btw :)

  19. Karli
    January 4, 2019 / 10:09 am

    You are a funny writer, Ruth! Up until recently I only followed your youtube channel. I love the food we have at Christmas but living on my own means cooking it year-round isn’t practical. It also wasn’t too hot here in Queensland on Christmas day. Such a relief! Loved the bit you wrote about your dad. Big celebrations are sometimes bittersweet. Looking forward to reading your monthly updates!

  20. Susannah
    January 4, 2019 / 10:08 am

    Love some baby cheeses! This is how Christmas is, there is so much pressure on everyone this time of year. Secret santa is a game changer for my family. I’m in Australia and have to say we did Christmas right this year. It was only myself plus 3, we always have seafood. I hosted and did bare minimum of actually cooking and the food was delious and fresh.

  21. Madalyn
    January 4, 2019 / 9:24 am

    That picture of Angelica and Mr Bear is brilliant and due to the angle looks like a minuscule child with a ginormous dinosaur sized cat! Happy new year

  22. Potimarron
    January 4, 2019 / 9:11 am

    Glad you were able to enjoy some of it (love the picture of Angelica and the Giant Cat btw).
    It was a “my family” Christmas this year (as the flexible adults, we alternate) and the first one with my new niece (nearly a year old- we were mainly chasing after her (crawlers move fast!) and trying to stop her from biting the furniture (it didn’t turn out well for one of the coasters)). It’s the first time I’ve met her as my sister lives on the other side of the world and I am totally and automatically on her team (I mean, I would be by default alone, but we are definitely made of the same stuff).

    It’s also when you see a bit more of what’s going on with your family but aren’t in a position to do anything about it. At one point, my mum was lecturing my uncle about his drinking, and shortly afterwards we were all drinking (and, naturally, pouring him a glass). I hope he’ll be ok (he had a coronary last year) but I honestly don’t know.

    Overall it was good, though, and I’ve made a point of trying to enjoy the moment and realise how precious it all is. All the best to you and yours.

  23. Cristina
    January 4, 2019 / 7:39 am

    I feel you. On both sides of the coin, too. Thankfully today is the last day of my two boys’ holiday! Woo hoo! We all woke up to a nice fight about who gets to wear the Lightning McQueen suit, followed by ramming the ottoman, one on either side proclaiming “I am a goat!” with me trying to bring calm in by asking which one is going to get hurt first, WHICH ONE? It’s 8.30. Awesome. Last day of “holidays”, though! Yeah! Now they’re quietly watching TV, holding hands, and my heart melts… What a roller-coaster ride it all is.

    I too love Baby Cheeses, by the way.

  24. January 3, 2019 / 9:38 pm

    Loved every single word of this. Have a happy 2019! May you and your family be happy and healthy, and may those few-second-calm moments appear more often in new year. At least 4 times. Like a mini mental vacations.

    • January 4, 2019 / 5:14 pm

      I’ve downloaded the Calm app!!

  25. Farah
    January 3, 2019 / 7:58 pm

    Dear Ruth I’ve missed you these last couple weeks! Even though you are my “pretend friend” as I refer to you when my children ask why I am laughing to myself as I read your posts…..I’ve come to rely on our little pretend visits. Yes to everything….all of it is true true true! The Holidays are absolutely exhausting and there is no time to do the things one imagines doing when looking forward to them….well certainly not relaxing at any rate. As if! And all these chocolates and cocktails and cheese have done in my figure….I have been compulsively shopping/saving in my cart various and sundry large sweaters myself. And I love your kiddos funny word mistakes…my youngest is 6 and they are fewer but I treasure them! One of my favorites is calling nostrils NOZZLES. “I can’t breathe through my nozzles mama!” Oh yes, and the neverending colds we have been passing around too…. oh Christmas! Still, I can’t bear to take down the tree just yet….it’s still so very pretty….

    • January 4, 2019 / 5:14 pm

      LOL at Pretend Friend! Hahahaha xxxx

  26. randi armstrong
    January 3, 2019 / 6:46 pm

    i read your blog always but must tell you that i thoroughly enjoyed this excerpt. your writing is so entertaining and thoughtful.

  27. Lena
    January 3, 2019 / 6:24 pm

    I’m still in the Festive tour phase. Good phrase! We went from our city to city A on the 23rd to city B on the 24th back to city A on the 25th and then of course you guessed it baaack to city B on the 26th.
    We still ruined Christmas because we weren’t at city A for the 24th.
    I mean what cha gotta do?

  28. January 3, 2019 / 6:07 pm

    I work retail in the US (Target), so NO it was not relaxing for me lol! I got Christmas Day proper off, but I’m a lead so I had to work all the way up until 4pm Christmas Eve and right back at 6am the day after Christmas. I take a long weekend in January every year, and a big vacation during my birthday in October – so those are my relaxing times. I can’t wait to get a grown up job that doesn’t require me to work weekends and holidays!

    • January 4, 2019 / 5:15 pm

      Oh God! I remember the year I worked at McDonald’s when I was saving for my first car and basically worked every hour apart from Christmas day. It was so depressing. Though it meant I knew all the words to all of the most popular Christmas songs, which were played on repeat… xx

  29. Natasha
    January 3, 2019 / 5:36 pm

    Your post made me do quite a few snortlaughs. So familiar! We actually managed to relax this Christmas. Really. We did a Christmas brunch at my mum’s house, then came home to swim and eat ice lollies (we have summer now). It was properly lazy. Still sleeping in and chilling until next week. Heavenly!
    Until next week when we have on kiddo going to 1st grade and another to 4th grade. (Quite a big deal for both). Also both birthdays followed by hubby before the end of Feb. Basically… I am stil hiding from 2019…

  30. Jill
    January 3, 2019 / 4:11 pm

    Your Festive Tour paragraph pretty much sums up every Christmas I’ve had for the last 20 years both pre and post kids. This year I’m beyond exhausted. I dream of this pyjama clad Twixmas (!) everyone talks about. Thank you for articulating it much better than I could!

      • Bridget aka Bee
        January 8, 2019 / 6:15 am

        Hi there Ruth :) Its british slang for “The period in between Christmas and New Year, typically December 27th-30th.” Always enjoy your blog! Best wishes from Switzerland. Bee

  31. S
    January 3, 2019 / 4:00 pm

    Hah brilliant post as always, however I loved your description of the Festive Tour which sums up Christmas for me so perfectly. As we don’t have kids my husband and I are still expected to be the ones to drive around all the other family members at Christmas. Heaven forbid we should mention being tired to family with children, or needing a break from work to the retired parents or how long the journey is to those who have just flown in. When we try and creep home a day or so before the holiday ends in the hopes of one lie in in our own bed, and a day doing nothing in pyjamas while trying to catch up on all the washing then you are accused of lacking Christmas spirit. Thank goodness for the low level alcoholism to numb it all slightly! One year maybe I’ll be brave enough to suggest they all come to us instead!

    • January 4, 2019 / 5:17 pm

      Oh you’ll regret that if you do!!! Hahahaha. Next year just say the car has broken down x

  32. Nancy
    January 3, 2019 / 2:47 pm

    A brilliant post, Ruth. Where is your book? For heaven’s sake, woman! I can’t move in Waterstones for the stories/advice/nonsense that’s pouring out of bloggers at the rate of knots. Your nonsense…now, that I would pay for and happily read! Happy New Year to you and your family. My Christmas has been much the same. I’m actually looking forward to work on Monday! X

  33. Judith
    January 3, 2019 / 2:26 pm

    Always a delight to read your posts!
    Happy new year to you & the family.

  34. Sarah
    January 3, 2019 / 2:22 pm

    I really feel for you, you’ve done so much xxx

    Last Christmas was so mental. We live hours away from everyone and tried to fit all of them in. It was exhausting, too mainy people and too much noise and a grumpy, scared baby who hated it- Not this year “Satan!” (Ms Hirons phrase )

    This year we just went to the in laws. So quiet and peaceful. We went home when I said. Bliss.

    Last NYE Rose was seriously ill. We rang 999 because she was limp, breathless and vomiting. The paramedics didn’t believe us, called us over anxious parents and made us take her in with them following on. They told triage she wasn’t urgent. Four hours later the children’s ward were saving her life. The paramedics also reported me to social services for wasting their time. I made sure they paid for it- never piss off the original writer of a good letter of complaint!

    This year, with a blissfully healthy, sleeping nearly 2 year old in bed. We watched Bond, ate a freezer meal and had a glass of fizz (just one, preg with no2!!!!!) Everyone just being healthy is enough.

    Today I needed this as I’ve just completely lost the plot with her as she wouldn’t nap. It took hours. I howled like an animal. I miss my husband who’s obviously back at work. I feel like I can’t cope.

    Swings and Roundabouts eh?!

  35. January 3, 2019 / 1:56 pm

    I gave up on relaxing on Christmas long ago, so I volunteered to work. Well, volunteered isn´t the right word, it is my porper day job, but half of the team had to come in, which was basically me. Of course sh*t hit the fan, but that was kind of fun and kept me busy until I could return to my kids, pluck them from the arms of their exhausted aunties and snuggle up with chocolate and cheese.

    Anne|Linda, Libra, Loca

  36. Rachel
    January 3, 2019 / 12:56 pm

    Yes! The whole ‘New Years Resolutions’ and eating healthy in the new year feels so jarring after being drained and exhausted for the past two weeks. We hosted three events (a pot luck, Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas morning brunch) and contributed to two more pot lucks all within the span of 3 days. If I wasn’t chasing the kids around, I was cooking and cleaning for the next guest. I suffered from a week long ‘Parent Hangover’ even though I was sadly sober the whole time. I never thought there’d have come a day where I didn’t have time to drink! After the craziness, the husband and I sustained ourselves on leftover cheese, appetizers, and chocolate for a solid 5 days(managing somehow to feed the kids regular meals). Now that the new year has come I’m supposed to march myself into the kitchen again to start cooking healthy, cleansing meals for the family, ‘meal prepping’ and using the new Instant Pot gifted to me. *eyeroll*

  37. Sandie
    January 3, 2019 / 12:51 pm

    Welcome to 2019 Ruth!! What a fantastic and amusing read to kick off the new year, just what I needed today! Christmas seems to become more busy/stressful/expensive every year and less about family/friends/fun/reflection so I totally relate to your post. Every year I swear that next Christmas we are going to go away somewhere quiet, remote, no rush/queues/events and just… relax… and be thankful for the past year… and enjoy the moment before the new year begins (with no resolutions!!). Wishing you happiness, good health, success and a few more Mint Magnums this year.

  38. Laura D P
    January 3, 2019 / 12:45 pm

    All 16 of us went extended family went to a gite in a Switzerland for Christmas. Was pretty. And utterly knackering, four of us were grown up women. Do you know how many variations in Christmas dinner there are when all four have opinions. And one is vegan. Next year I am buying us all Iceland Christmas ready meals for 1 and saving myself significant stress.

  39. Evie
    January 3, 2019 / 12:26 pm

    When did English people start eating turkey, that tasteless North American bird, for Christmas? Stop! Eat goose or pheasant(s) or roast beef. I ate turkey for the first time when I moved to America (back in the 1980s) during Thanksgiving and I hated it. Sad to see people outside the US consider this ghastly bird to be human fodder.
    (From A loyal Chinese-Filipino reader of your blog)

    • January 4, 2019 / 5:16 pm

      Hahaha! Don’t mince your words, will you?! xx

    • Jen
      January 4, 2019 / 7:23 pm

      Turkey is actually a very tasty bird when cooked properly, but unfortunately most Americans cook it so much it might as well be declared dead a second time. My husband has mastered the art. My grandma can hold her own, but her turkey efforts are always vastly overshadowed by the proper American ham she also serves, which seems to consist of two parts meat to one part straight crack. The crack-ham also comes with mashed potatoes and sweet corn (which she cuts down and freezes from fresh herself), and cruditès for those who want some real vegetables. Delicious and easy, because holidays are no time to fuss with dishes.

  40. Kate
    January 3, 2019 / 12:26 pm

    We scrapped Christmas dinner altogether this year. Nobody really likes it but we have never had the courage to admit it. This year we had an Indian meal and it was life cooking, limited washing up and zero stress.

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