And So That Was Christmas…

Here we are in 2016 already. All that preparation, planning, and agonising over choosing the right presents for the right people, all those lists, all that shopping and cooking…One blink and it’s all over. Back to reality. Normal life is resumed – with the addition of a few extra pounds in weight and the loss of quite a lot of pounds sterling. Ah, well.

We all hope you had a great Christmas, anyway. Here’s a little bit about what we got up to.


Alys West Christmas 2015

“From this photo you’d think I had a calm and serene Christmas spent reading books and eating the occasional mince pie.  The reality was a lot more manic – although there were plenty of mince pies! It had magical moments like standing outside on Christmas Eve with my nephew watching for Santa’s sleigh (aka the international space station) to go over ahead (I think we only spotted a star but don’t tell nephew that!) and his face when he saw that Santa had eaten the mince pies he’d left out for him.  There were a lot of silly games, some very muddy walks and a fabulous trip to the pantomime on Boxing Day.  Fortunately I live in an area of York that wasn’t flooded but seeing the devastation in the city has been heartbreaking and made me very grateful for things that I normally take completely for granted.”

There were the usual six of us; that’s me and him-indoors, Chris, Luke, Kerry (Chris’s partner), and Aunty Peggy, 91, and still good for a laugh, as long as you don’t mind having to shout and repeat everything five times.  You’ll be next, says no. 1 son.  Cheers for the reminder, I say, being half-way there already…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe’re a traditional lot with our turkey, Christmas pudding and all the trimmings.  Certain other accompaniments have also become a tradition over the years.  There’s the mini-firework that adorns the pud, and the giant party poppers.  And I mean giant.  No titchy things with faddling strings to pull for us.  Luke brings these whoppers that take a very strong person to fire.  The millions of paper bits these cannons produce can be found lurking among the cobwebs in the corners for ever after.  But it’s all good fun, isn’t it?

I had lots of lovely pressies –  including cosy festive socks, and some face-cream from no. 2 son which promises to OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAsmooth out the wrinkles and give me a youthful glow (he never misses) – but the very best gift of all was having our dear girl Kerry with us for both days. Her health problems often mean she is overwhelmed in company, especially at noisy times like Christmas.  It was wonderful to see her looking so well and happy.






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Christmas this year for me was all about my amazing family. It was very quiet, but wonderful, spending precious time with our little angels. It was a time for being grateful for what we have and believing in each other.










xmas dinner tableChristmas was lovely this year. It was just the four of us, cosied up inside our new house for the first time since we returned to the UK from Australia. My youngest was up before four o’clock in the morning, excited that Father Christmas had been, but waited until after seven o’clock to open the presents so at least we could see ice skatingthe excitement without being so bleary eyed!

Boxing Day was family time with my brother, sister in law and their kids and it was a hectic yet very special day. I think I’ve eaten my body weight in cheese again this year, washed down with champagne and Prosecco, but it’s been lovely to totally relax over the festive period.

The only thing I’d change next year, if I had the power to do so, would be to give us a white Christmas! Snow would be the icing on the cake.




IMG_2197We definitely had a party at some stage over Christmas, as I rememberunnamed holding my head in pain as I loaded up the dishwasher!

We also bought a new kitten for my daughter, although this little beauty won’t be ready to leave Mum until February.

Did a lot of tidying up, a fair bit of drinking, and surprisingly didn’t get ill once – bit of a first for me!




Me and LilyI had a truly lovely Christmas, spent with twenty two of my nearest and dearest at my eldest sister’s house in Sandgate.  The gathering spanned four generations and ages from eighty three years young to the newest addition to the family, three week old Lily (left), with whom I stole plenty of Christmas cuddles. All this has been interspersed with get togethers with other family members and close friends, which will culminate in the annual New Year’s Eve get together at our place. I also had lots of old video footage put on to DVD, which we watched together during Sam and Me laughingthe clan gathering. Cue laughing until we cried at my now uber cool niece and nephews dancing in sombreros as youngsters and acting out scenes from Eastenders – priceless! This also allowed us to include my dad, who sadly died fifteen years ago, in our Christmas get together, as the image of him playing football with my nephews filled the screen.  My middle sister and I also got the giggles during Christmas dinner and it took me right back to being a kid again, as the more we tried to get control, the less we could – I blame the Prosecco! Whatever it was, those moments, and my own two girls declaring that they were one another’s best friends (and meaning it!), reminded me that – whilst we may not always be Walton-family close, in location or time spent together – nothing beats family at Christmas, or any other time for that matter.


1962469_963486923690608_3244973248462974315_o I had a pretty quiet Christmas, but that’s the way I like it as it’s great to 1047928_963486920357275_1855949422284932632_obe able to relax after working full-time. On Christmas Eve, I always take my Brownie Pack to church for the Christingle service and, although it’s not meant to be, we always end up giggling as the nativity descends into chaos. On Christmas Day, my nine-year-old daughter was up at 6.30am and keen to start opening presents. Hubby 10687284_963487000357267_114805807970703995_omade dinner as normal (I don’t cook) and then his parents came round for a turkey sandwich and to watch Strictly. The highlight of the day for me, other than seeing Ashleigh opening her gifts, was watching the finale of Downton Abbey. I’ve watched the series from the start and it’s been amazing. A few days later, we met up with my side of the family for the day. My brothers have two daughters each and five girls aged five to nine don’t tend to play well together so it’s always lovely to see everyone but pretty fraught when the strops and tantrums start! My best day was Bank Holiday Monday. Ashleigh was playing with her gifts, hubby went out to take some photographs, and I got to sit down at my computer and write. I haven’t had a chance to do that for a few months so it was long overdue.





Christmas in our house this year has been all about Poppy, our Golden Retriever puppy who is now ten weeks old.Poppy's First Christmas When I say all about, I mean all about. The Christmas tree is barricaded off with cardboard, the carpets are littered with puppy pads to avoid the inevitable accidents and everyone has to watch what they leave around in case it gets chewed. On Christmas morning, in true toddle style, the packaging was the most exciting part of the day for Poppy. All in all, an exhausting, but fun time.







10391717_899158410201399_5231263876706743688_nChristmas Day was very quiet in our house, as my husband was working both Christmas Eve night and Christmas night, so was either out, or in bed asleep! He did wake briefly for his Christmas dinner and to open his pressies, though.

The main event, therefore, was Christmas Eve. Our eldest son and his 1915388_899158200201420_984441174541278952_nfamily came from Derbyshire and stayed over the night before, leaving around two on Christmas Eve afternoon. I finished work at four and then our other four kids and the rest of the grandchildren came for tea. We had a great evening, with plenty of food and drink, and it was lovely to see the little ones’ faces when they saw the huge bags of presents that Father Christmas had left at our house for them to take 11250_899158256868081_7288807609095303617_nhome with them.

Our dog was a bit bemused by the whole thing and didn’t think much to any of her presents, although she thoroughly enjoyed her Christmas dinner. I rounded off the day by watching Doctor Who, Call the Midwife, and Downton Abbey, with a glass of snowball in my hand, feeling quite peaceful and contented.







And now it’s January again! We’d like to thank you for reading our blog (and our books!) and we wish you all a very happy, healthy, and peaceful 2016. xxxH (2)





7 thoughts on “And So That Was Christmas…

  1. Happy New Year! Loved the picture of Poppy, Rachael. She’s soon settled in! Also, Jackie’s kitten is so pretty. Can’t wait to find out what they call her. Xx

  2. Lovely to hear what a brilliant time everyone had and Alys looks like she could feature in a glossy Christmas catalogue – looking fab, young lady! Great post, Sharon, and Happy New Year to you all xx

  3. Great to know we all had a great time! Poppy seems adorable, Rachael and the kitten is so cute! And thanks Jo! Although I have to be honest and say, I’m not sure how much photoshopping my brother in law did after he’d taken that picture! xx

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