Happy Christmas, everyone!
And, yes, I know I’m just a little bit late with the festive greetings this year, but, well, you can see the reason for that at the top of the page, I’m sure.
For us, Christmas this year was very, very different from last Christmas – and different, in fact, from every other Christmas we’ve ever had, either. Actually, I suspect it was probably different from every Christmas we WILL ever have: it’s the only one we’ll ever spend with an almost-one-year-old, after all, and that fact alone was always going to make it unique. It also made it a little trickier to navigate than Christmases past, obviously. People always tell you that your first Christmas with a baby will be magical – and it was, don’t get me wrong – but I suspect the REAL magic will come when he’s old enough to really understand what’s going on. This year, though, Christmas day started off exactly the same as any other day for Max – and it was only once we’d finished breakfast that he started to realise there was something different about today:
He was a little bit bemused by all the gifts at first, but he soon got the hang of “helping” us unwrap everything…
I’d assumed he’d be more interested in the packaging than the actual gifts inside it (One of the reasons I picked giant bows as this year’s wrapping theme was because I figured they’d be easy-ish for him to pull off the parcels…), but he was actually really interested in everything, and I was glad we’d left plenty of time for this stage of proceedings because, of course, he wanted to play with everything he unwrapped, so, even although we’d restricted ourselves to just a few gifts, it took a long time to unwrap them all! The most successful present? The little wooden train set, which he kept “kissing” when he saw the box:
I mean, as soon as we built it up for him, he just crawled right over the top of it, causing the first of many toy railway disasters of the day (More on that later…), but he very happy to unwrap it, and I, er, must have gotten something in my eye while he was kissing the box, because everything went a bit blurry at that point. Yes.
By the time we’d finished opening gifts, it was almost nap-time for Max, so we popped him back in bed, and Terry and I rushed around tidying up all of the packaging, and getting showered and dressed, etc. When Max woke up, there was just time for a quick family photo…
… some unsuccessful close-ups…
… and an outfit shot:
… and then it was into the car, and off to my parents’ place, for the next round of festivities:
I‘d been a bit worried that Max might be feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything at this point, but nope – he thoroughly enjoyed opening all of his gifts from gran and grandad. It obviously did tire him out, though, because, once we’d all finished exchanging gifts, a true Christmas miracle occurred: a two hour nap in the middle of the afternoon! Er, for Max, I mean. Not saying I couldn’t have gone for a quick nap myself, obviously, but I decided just to leave him to it, and it was a nice opportunity for the adults – and also for me – to have a bit of downtime before dinner. And also some Bucks Fizz. And chocolate coins. Well, it wouldn’t be Christmas without them, would it?
Speaking of dinner, though, I know most of my regular readers are just here for my mum’s Christmas table, so here’s the moment you’ve been waiting for:
It had an ACTUAL WORKING TRAIN SET as a centrepiece, folks. And a small village. With people in it. Some of whom looked suspiciously like me, Terry and Max. (And some of whom looked suspiciously like The Monkees, but hey. ) (Some, meanwhile, just looked plain suspicious – like that one guy loitering behind the Santa Claus, just watching everything. My mum explained that she’d put him there because he was too tall to stand with the rest, though, so that explained it. I guess.) Yes, folks, the woman only went and created an entire CHRISTMAS DINNER TABLE WORLD, didn’t she? It was amazing – and will obviously have to come out every year now, especially given that I’ve named all the little people and given them fully fleshed-out backstories. Ahem.
Anyway, Max loved watching the little train make its way around the track, and, to be fair, it only derailed a few times, so it wasn’t too traumatic for him, either. (The little people were all fine, btw. I know you were worried for a second there…)
And that was Max’s first Christmas. Of course, as I said at the start of this post, Christmas with an 11-month-old is a very different beast from Christmas on your own – or with older children, I guess – so, by 8pm, Terry and I were back home and in our PJs, with Max tucked up in bed. It was fun while it lasted, though – and it’ll hopefully be fun for Max to look back on one day, too.
On that note, as I was editing the images for this post, it was hard not to look at them and think about how these are the photos Max will grow up seeing every time we talk about all of his big “firsts”. He’ll grow up knowing them the same way we all become familiar with the photos from our childhood – even the ones we don’t remember being taken – and it’s odd to think that, although they were only taken two days ago, on a day that still feels so vivid and real to me now, to him they’ll always look old, and a bit dated and strange. The brand new Christmas tree we got in his honour will be old by then, the shiny new toys in the photos worn out, and probably consigned to the attic. He’ll scarcely be able to believe that it’s him in the photos, or that his mum and dad were ever that young: and that’s a thought that’s slightly too big to fit inside my head at 8pm on a Thursday evening two days after Christmas, so, Max-of-the-future? If you’re reading this, let the record show that you may have started your first Christmas looking all dapper and smart, in your bow-tie and waistcoat, but you ended it in a beach poncho your gran bought you for your holiday next year, and which we had to hurriedly put on you after you spilled an entire cup of water down yourself:
Happy Christmas, baby boy: I hope you had as much fun as we did…