With Halloween over for another year and some shops already decorated for Christmas, I thought this would be a good time to share some of the ways my family marks the passing of the year.
As it's November I'll start with Autumn....
The Autumn Seasonal Table - collect leaves, berries, twigs, conkers etc. Add to it occasionally and make leaf rubbing pictures. Spend the rest of Autumn annoyed with my husband as he keeps putting his mobile/work folder/glasses/paper etc on top of it all.
My birthday - presents in the morning, breakfast when I make it, takeaway for dinner. Husband inevitably has a "can't miss" golfing day.
Halloween - Carve a few pumpkins or squashes. Hand out sweets in blue plastic bowl because I forgot to get anything spookier looking. Dress children (just Maggie nowadays) in shop bought outfits. Dress myself in black top, black skirt and witches hat. Get told off by Lorna for dressing up. Sneak some witchy make-up on when Lorna has gone off with friends. Trick or treating to relatives and a couple of school friends. Wipe off make-up before picking up Lorna. Realise a few days later the pumpkin lanterns have turned soft and are hairy.
Christmas Pudding Day - every year I plan to make one on or around Stir Up Sunday....sometimes (rarely) I succeed. Otherwise go to supermarket and buy two large puddings as they're on special offer. Realise I am the only person who likes Christmas pudding and will be eating it well into the New Year.
Elf on a Shelf - Maggie's elves Eddie and Cedric come to life on 1st December to deliver her advent calendar and to join in the seasonal fun. Start to run out of ideas after a week. Intimidated by Pinterest. Wake up in a panic at 3am one morning realising elves have been forgotten about, stumble into bathroom and draw fake beard and glasses on face. Spend morning trying to scrub pen off face.
Tree Day - bring tree down from loft. Argue about where to put it. Let the girls decorate as they see fit. Realise afterwards I forgot to hand out mince pies. Eat mince pies and redecorate tree when girls are in bed. This year will be different though as we've agreed to buy a real tree. I'm predicting that just as we've finished decorating it the cat will remember how much fun it is to climb trees, particularly trees that thoughtfully have toys hanging from them and by Christmas Eve it will be looking like the wreckage from the St Jude storm.
Visit to Father Christmas - Usually visit Father Christmas at Poole Park. Enjoy joke again about turkey going on holiday to O-ven. Remind older two that any younger children believe it is the real Father Christmas and they aren't to snigger too loudly at the fake beard, even if they can see the elastic.
Christmas Eve - Sneakily put present from the elves outside the back door, engineer way of getting Maggie to find it. Realise she wouldn't spot a wrapped elephant unless it stood on her foot. Engineer a second reason to go outside, this time with her. "Spot" presents and exclaim in surprise. Husband takes girls out to look at Christmas lights while I sort out stockings. This mostly involves me losing at least one present and phoning him in a panic telling him not to come home yet in a coded message as he has the mobile on hands free and the girls can hear me. Track Santa on Norad. Have "live" phone calls from Santa - secretly laugh at Lorna and Connie's acting skills as they try to make it look like they still believe for Maggie's sake. Allow the eating of one chocolate off the tree. Leave out milk, mince pie and carrot. Swap empty stockings for filled ones. Put presents under tree, spend what feels like hours waiting for girls to sleep to put stockings on beds. Eat mince pie, chop end off carrot and nibble it, attempting to make teeth marks look reindeer like. Wonder again why Father Christmas has milk and not something alcoholic in our house.
Boxing Day - crackers, cheese, leftovers day (more Christmas pud for me)
New Years Eve - board game, argue about what to watch on telly, drink sparkling wine or very dilute Mimosas at midnight (except Maggie who will have fallen asleep at some point between 9 and 11.45pm). Hopefully eat last of Christmas pud. Find a second Christmas pudding at the back of the cupboard. Several months later read at school "And on New Years Eve we stayed up late and drank wine"
Day before back to school day - realise nothing has been washed, PE socks are missing and lunch boxes still contain leftovers from last day of term
Pancake Day - spend what feels like hours by a frying pan, have several unsuccessful attempts at tossing pancake. Make alternatives for those who don't like pancakes. Eat those pancakes that were dropped or fell apart - cold.
Mothers Day - wake up to presents, spend most of day bemoaning still having to do everything because otherwise we'd all starve and go to school/work naked etc
Good Friday - buy Hot Cross buns on a bogof offer, remember children don't like them. Eat Hot Cross buns for every meal.
Easter Sunday - nests made from blankets made on Easter Saturday night, filled with eggs from Easter Bunny and family. Little chocolate eggs, mini-eggs etc hidden in various locations in sitting room. Find at least one egg on sofa - by sitting on it.
Fathers Day - cards, gifts, cooked breakfast, husband's choice of evening meal with banoffie pie for pudding even though only husband likes it.
Seaside Weekend June/July - plan to go out the day before. Wake up late and argue as to whether it's still worth going out. Realise no food in house for picnic. Buy food in Tesco. Arrive at beach at lunch time, already starving. Nowhere to sit, eat picnc in car, husband moans about crumbs. Realise it's much colder than expected and regret wearing shorts.
Husband's birthday - he wakes up to presents, breakfast made for him, if it's the weekend he plays golf. Go out for a meal.
Week's holiday in August - I pack for me and younger girls, write a list, lose list, pack clothes for every weather event possible despite knowing it's unlikely to be snowing in the Vendee in August. Lorna packs practically every item of clothing she owns and still asks me the evening before if I can wash and dry something she desperately needs to take. Husband packs his clothes, forgets to pack underwear. First argument in car about 20 minutes after leaving house. Get lost in Rouen. "It's not a holiday for me if I have to do everything" becomes a daily mantra. Husband horrified by amount of food and sand that accumulates in car during week. Careful pre-holiday packing not matched post holiday as everything is thrown into bags and cases. Takes three goes to fit everything into car. First argument about 10 minutes after leaving holiday complex. Get lost in Rouen.
Day before new school year - see day before back to school day.