Happy New Year!! I am starting off the New Year not with resolutions, but wishes, hopes and some frivolous intentions to write again. I have missed writing. I used to write often but have found life with two small kids sapping all of my previously used writing time! But I hope to rekindle my creative outlet and write more often. I have a thousand blog posts swirling around in my mind, so I am going to try and catch myself up so that I have a blank canvas again to write upon one day!
I thought a recap of our magical Christmas would be the perfect place to start dust off the blog with. I LOVE Christmas. I always have enjoyed Christmas, but now that I have children of my own, I LOVE it. I love cooking and being creative and love that it doesn't cost a thing to create magic for a child. We were beyond lucky this year to have my Brother and his family come and spend Christmas with us this year, so for two weeks I was in festive heaven.
The Christmas period starts for us each year on December 1. Ever since I can remember we have put up our Christmas tree on the 1st of December, and so even though it is now a rather busy time with Lachlan's Birthday on the 2nd of December, we are continuing the tradition. We managed to find a real tree again this year, and so we sipped ice cold egg nog, nibbled (inhaled) rum balls and got the house ready for a little festive joy and excitement. This year we had a modified Advent Calendar, in which little advent bags were hung on the tree by the Elves each day, with either a little gift or an instruction for Maddie and the kids to do. Some of my favourite ones were a new Christmas book to add to their collection, some marshmallows with the note to make hot chocolate, and also the letter for Maddie and Lachlan to fill in for Santa.
Maddie had never really been aware of the idea of asking for a present from Santa, and it was something that people were asking her a lot, so we wanted to cover it off in a way that didn't put the focus on presents. So we sat down together as a family and helped the kids write their letters to Santa. We helped Maddie with spelling but I just adore the answers she came up with for her letter, which is more of snapshot of who she is at this time of life.
Abu Dhabi had an impressive amount of Christmas cheer about it this year. It is such a lovely surprise to see all the hotels decorated with lavish winter scenes that evoke memories of Oxford Street in London, which lets be real, has to be among the most festive places in the world in December. My favourite is the enormous and decadent tree at Emirates Palace!
We went to the Abu Dhabi Mall for our visit to Santa and got the classic "baby-screaming-with-santa" photo, so I was satisfied! The real Santa was actually there too, which was a huge thrill for us all, and the kids were all chuffed with their lollipops, which got them through the following hour of Christmas shopping. Thanks Santa! An extra cookie for you on Christmas Eve!
This year the official Carols in the Desert was held early in December and so we didn't go because we thought we would hold our own little version when my Brother was in town. So on the Friday before Christmas we packed the marshmallows and sound system, set the coordinates in our google maps and set off for some sandy carolling! The kids had fun playing on the dunes while the sun set, and then m a n m a d e f i r e and we put some cheesy carols on and toasted ourselves some mellows!
The Christmas Eve advent bag from the Elves was the grand finale and it did not disappoint! The Elves had left the children the "Christmas Eve Box" with a To Do List for the day. The kids got busy making reindeer food and decorating cookies for Santa, and once everything was ready, they all gathered around Daddy/Uncle Petey under the twinkling lights of the Christmas Tree while he read them The Night Before Christmas. It was one of those moment that I hope I can hold on to for the rest of my life.
Christmas Day itself was a flurry of excitement and activity. The reindeers and Santa had visited overnight and the kids were all very excited looking at all the mess Rudolph and Co had made outside. We spent a large portion of the day talking to family on Skype, all the while cooking in the background for an epic Christmas feast!
The food was amazing, it always is when the four of us adults get in the kitchen, but it just wasn't about the food this year. I was able to explain it to Maddie this year. She understands the concept of FAMILY now. She understands being thankful and being kind. And she was fully and completely invested in the magic of Christmas. The reindeer and the elves. The sleigh on the roof. The magical key for Santa to get in our house (because we don't have a chimney of course, #desertdwellers). And the many other little twinkles and sparkles of magic that were spread over our Christmas this year. This year was about magic.
I hope you had a magical Christmas and were too surrounded by love, whether it was in your living room or in your heart. I was lucky this year and had both. It seems I somehow ended up on the Nice list this year. I got everything I could ever dream for.