Christmas Traditions with the Cole Family
Christmas started for us on Monday afternoon once Anna had finished work for the day. It started with the traditional supermarket battle as we joined everyone else by buying our last minute supplies for the holidays. It wasn’t too bad really, yes it was busy, yes the shops were running out of things, yes the shelves were in disarray, but it was the beginning of our Christmas break, we were together as a family so we were having fun. We bought most of what we needed, but Morrisons had run out of croissants and Wensleydale cheese with cranberries, so we dashed to Iceland and Lidl too where we did get the final few bits and pieces and shared our spending around a few shops in Aberystwyth in the process.
Christmas Eve was another day together as a family. The weather was raging once again outside so we spent most of it indoors. First cleaning the house ready for Santa and then sitting around chilling, playing games and watching TV. The Christmas sweets and chocolates came out and the feasting began. One unusual thing did happen – my mobile phone rang. I know that isn’t unusual for most people as most people seem to spend more time on their phone than off it these days, but mine remains quiet most of the time and I rarely get any phone calls. In fact, I’ve just looked through it and since I bought my iPhone back in June, over 6 months ago, I have received a grand total of 17 calls, 10 of which are missed calls!
Phone Line Woes
It was Pat, Anna’s Mum phoning to wish us a Merry Christmas and let us know that another Christmas tradition has been fulfilled – Our phone line was down. We checked, and indeed it was, the line was just dead. What was odd was the fact that the Internet seemed fine, there just was no dialling tone and no way for people to call us.
This seems to happen every year, I’m sure the phone was down for a bit over Christmas last year. It was in 2011 for a while as well. It definitely was in 2010 when we spent all Christmas offline. I had to pop next door so while I was there I checked their phone and all seemed OK with it. When I tried phoning our number from it I just got a message saying “sorry the number is temporarily unavailable due to a fault”. We phoned PrimusTel, our telephone provider but there was no one there. We did have Internet access though and our mobiles were working (although reception here isn’t great) so we weren’t too worried. We did get in touch with Primus the following day only to be told that there was a fault at the exchange (strange that it was only affecting us then) and that someone might take a look at it come Friday!
Morgan went to bed at around 9:30pm, after leaving some treats out of Santa and Rudolph. He was excited, but also tired as I had woken him up early on purpose that morning. Amazingly he went straight to sleep which was good as it meant Santa was able to come (as soon as Anna and I had gone to bed of course). Santa would soon be here, and even the cat knew that something was up!
Neither Anna nor I slept very well and we were both awake early. Morgan however was sleeping soundly, so we had to lie there in bed until he woke up at around 7am. Santa had been and Morgan’s stocking in his bedroom was stuffed full of stuff. Sweets, chocolates, a Dr. Who sound machine (great!), pens, books, marbles and toys. We opened them in bed and then got up and ready for the main event.
Breakfast was a treat of croissants (baked in the oven) and coffee, we got dressed and inspected the living room where there was a huge pile of presents under the tree. Christmas had come and Morgan was even wearing a Christmas hat.
There was no point wasting any time so we got down to it and started opening the presents.
Morgan had the most of course and was pretty impressed with every present that he opened. The lego always gets a good response and with four boxes of lego and a special lego storage and sorting box he had more than enough. The models included a large space rocket launch station complete with the rocket, launch pad and a control centre, a massive remote control train set complete with a train engine, a carriage, and the rear of a train, a small station, track and of course engine and controllers to make it go. He also had a pack of emergency vehicles and another smaller model too. We were going to have a busy day building that little lot!
He had plenty of other games and toys, books and pens, sweets and chocolates too, but his two main presents were a large remote controlled Monster Truck – something that he had decided to start going on about wanting fairly recently, and an iMac computer. He was pretty excited when he saw the car and couldn’t quite believe his eyes when he saw the computer. He really didn’t want to believe that there was a computer in the box when he first opened it! He also had some pants which of course ended up on his head!
Anna had lots to open as well, including underwear (which didn’t end up on her head, but may have ended up on mine!), chocolates, an iPhone from me, a soft-shell, smellies and the traditional after-eight mints, lindor chocolates and jigsaw puzzle. Anna’s Mum had bought us a lovely oak shoe-cupboard that we have had installed in the hall for a few weeks.
I had plenty to open as well, although I had already had my main present – a Tamron Superzoom lens – earlier in the month. It was a joint birthday and Christmas present and I had needed it to take photos an Pat’s graduation ceremony so had it early. I did get plenty of chocolates, some socks, a Garmin footpod for measuring my strides per minute whilst running, a kettle, a garden trowel, some speciality olive oils and a hand mixer for the kitchen.
I also had a fleecy buff, but as I was taking most of the photos there aren’t any of me opening my presents. I did however take a photo of my Xmas socks and got Morgan to take one of me with my buff on my head. Well, it wouldn’t be Christmas without the traditional silly photos.
There were also some joint presents, such as a family trivial pursuit from Santa, some wine and chocolates and a chocolate house to build. This was along the now traditional Cole Christmas Calendar that I produce each year.
Morgan also had a onesie and some monster feet slippers. I’ve never really quite understood onesies, but I have to say he did look pretty cool in it. I can see why they are nice around the house, especially this one as it does feel really soft and cosy, but quite why grown adults would wear them out and about I don’t know!
After phone calls to parents, it was time to start getting ready for dinner. Anna had been hard at work in the kitchen preparing the feast while Morgan and I had been building the first of the lego models. Anna even took special effort to keep the kitchen clean and tidy for me this time and did very well too. I know I’m fussy when it comes to these things! I had helped a little in the kitchen, prepared the table for dinner and built the chocolate house, so I wasn’t being completely lazy. Luckily I had some chocolate frosting in the freezer left over from frosting one of our Christmas cakes last week. I used plenty of this as mortar for the house. It almost looks too good to eat – almost.
Dinner was delicious, Bucks Fizz, pate on toast, a full Christmas roast with all the trimmings, and of course mince pies and cream for pudding – at least for those of us (me) who could fit them in. We then carried on eating sweets and chocolates pretty much all day long and managed to fit in some cheese and biscuits with cold meats and pickles later in the day.
Morgan and I spent most of the day in the now traditional Christmas fashion, building lego models. The rocket launch station with control centre, rocket, satellite and a few other bits and pieces was the first model built and quite a model it was too. The rocket itself was quite big and has a rolling transportation platform upon which it sits. The launch pad has fuelling rigs and even a moving platform that helps Lego-men get to various parts of the rocket.
Next were some emergency service vehicles and then we set top building the train set. It’s a full working train set with tracks, passenger train and a little station. It has a remote control unit too which makes the train move and being Lego it is very impressive with some amazing details and it all works perfectly.
Christmas on the Beach
Morgan and I then headed across to the beach for the last hour of sunshine where we played with his remote control monster truck and went for a walk. It also gave me a chance to play with my new lens, taking some photos of the beach on what was now a chilly but fairly nice afternoon.
We even managed a game of Trivial Pursuit later in the day, continued eating yet more sweets and chocolates and played with our toys and gadgets. As Morgan went to bed he used his new pens and notepad to write me a schedule for Boxing Day. This included breakfast, setting up his computer, waking Anna up, playing with his remote control car (several times), playing with his lego, and a few other things, all before lunch. Quite what we’ll be doing after lunch I don’t know!
All in all it was a lovely traditional family day at home. The question is, do I start eating sensibly and training now that it is boxing day, or do I have another lazy, family day of fun and feasting and leave the serious stuff for later?