Christmas is the only holiday where we spend so much time with family and friends, somehow we find the time for lunch, early evening drinks and long walks with the dogs followed by mugs of steaming hot chocolate topped with swirls of whipped cream and marshmallows.
In the lead up to the holidays I find myself slowly working my way through the Christmas Radio Times looking for the family movies we can watch squeezed together on the sofa, a fire blazing in the grate, a tin of chocolates being passed from lap to lap and mulled wine and cider fill the grown up mugs, of course with DVDs and so much available on the TV now, our lives are not dictated by the schedulers like they were when I was a child. However, there is I think nothing better than settling in to watch Indiana Jones, 101 Dalmations even Die Hard and if there is a break for the adverts we can pop to the loo or refill our mugs.
This time is so important to reinforce the ties that bind families together, a board game, shared breakfasts, lunches and dinners, baking biscuits, mixing Rocky road and icing cakes. Walks over fields, times spent helping those less fortunate, singing and dancing, laughing and debating. Perfect.
Of course there has also been bickering, aggravation and irritation. Today I took child 4 out to give the other three some much needed time without toddler tantruming, this also helped my sanity as on his own, he is an angel. He has just learned how to open the other children's bedroom doors - oh dear!
But, there has also been train track building, holding hands, teaching of Christmas carols.
A first of many more holidays, a house full of my four children for years to come and hopefully in the future their children too.