…I think they get a bad press, Christmas letters.
There’s little I love more than opening a nice fat handwritten envelope and finding a card and a letter (preferably with photographs too!) inside, or getting an email from a friend which has more paragraphs than will fit in the preview window! I make a cuppa and settle into a comfy chair to read them, delighted to share in a snapshot of someone else’s life. It’s like reading a short story about someone who actually matters to me*!!
This year, like last, we’re conscious just how much we would spend posting Christmas cards all around the world, and we’ve decided to use that money to make donations to our local foodbank and a Northern Irish homelessness charity called the Simon Community.
Please don’t think that this indicates a disregard for your friendship and support. It is a privilege to be able to keep in touch with all of you by email, messaging, phone, and video calls throughout the year. We love being in touch for birthdays, anniversaries, and no-reason-at-all-aries, and thank you for keeping in touch with us!
Instead of the card dropping through your letterbox, I hope you’ll accept this Christmas e-letter update with much love from us all.
We’ve had lots of adventures this term, and it’ll take more than this blog to showcase what we’ve seen!
A favourite place is to visit the seaside, and we spent a weekend there recently, on a gorgeous, sunny weekend. It was exactly a year since our last visit to this cottage!
The boys had a ball, exploring the beach and finding all sorts of treasure – including oyster shells and a mermaid’s purse! After some online research, we decided this one was probably from a small spotted cat shark.
A short walk inland brought us to an alpaca farm, an unexpected find at the foot of the Mournes! And, of course, the views back up Carlingford Lough were stunning in the winter sunshine. Food for the soul!
Luke is absolutely the bringer of Christmas cheer to our house.
On 30 November he hung up the advent calendars on the landing, ready for us to fill after his bedtime. That same night, I went into his room in the dark to find he had unearthed and decorated his mini Christmas tree, and dressed my old teddy bear in festive gear ready for the 1 December dawning!
As you can imagine, he was delighted to help mum and me make Christmas wreaths, from a kit supplied by the wonderful Ditsy Floral Design. We made an afternoon of it, crafting, creating and drinking cups of tea!
End of term
We all do the school run together. I’m sure the other parents think we’re mad, but it means that we start the day with a brisk 2km walk before sitting down at our desks for hours. The afternoon school run is at 2.30pm, an ideal time for getting out and clearing our heads before darkness falls and the rest of the working day draws in.
Our school run is a daily reminder of the beauty – and challenges – of nature! In early December we had some stunning crisp morning walks to school as the sun rose and, on one particularly freezing morning, there was black ice all the way down the hill. That was fun and fast, but coming back up it was very much one step forward, one long slide back…a record slow commute of 45 minutes instead of the usual 20!
As we settle into the holiday routine, followed by another lockdown here in Northern Ireland, we’re thinking of everyone we can’t visit this Christmas, and especially those of you we’ve not seen for months now. We’re really not used to these long periods away from family and friends and hope it won’t be long til we can cross the Irish Sea for our next road trip!
*Am now expecting lots of lengthy and well illustrated life updates by post and email!