It has been a fun but exhausting few days. We've had from 12 to 17 guests here from 2pm Monday to 3pm Thursday, so we've only just got the house back to ourselves. But it was a really successful Christmas period.
On Monday we cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. I was tired by lunchtime, but soldiered on. Family started arriving after lunch. All guests brought some food contributions for Christmas Day, but I was doing Christmas Eve dinner by myself. I made and served roast pork and chickens with various sides and then two desserts, for 12. Everything went smoothly. I was too exhausted to eat much, and I think I was the only person to only have one of the dessert options! I haven't actually weighed myself over this Christmas period but I don't expect to have gained weight, overall I think I ate less than usual although I did have desserts twice a day and some alcohol. Didn't snack much.
Anyway, other people washed up (as they did every day, I stacked the dishwasher a couple of times but didn't have to do much cleaning after Monday morning), we might have played a game but I don't remember. I really wanted to go to bed but we had another couple of people arriving in the evening so I waited up. They didn't get here until about 11.15. Then things went a little pear shaped.
I have just checked my old emails and about two months ago I told my husband's family that there would be no beds available and they would have to bring their own airbeds/mattresses (many people chose to stay in hotels in the end), the reply from this particular couple was that they could bring their own "if need be". The subject didn't come up again, for which I blame myself since it was a long time ago. I should have sent a reminder. Anyway, they didn't bring anything, and looked at me blankly when I asked them. I ended up giving them the spare bed and my brother slept on some couch cushions on the floor. This wouldn't be a big deal except my brother has some mental health issues and only comes to a crowded Christmas celebration at all on the condition that he gets the spare room so he has some space to himself. I felt really guilty about it but didn't see what else I could do. I briefly considered putting little Aiden in with us and giving my brother Aiden's bed, but Aiden is a wriggler and I desperately needed sleep.
Not that I got much. My whole body was aching with tiredness, my feet throbbing and my hips twinging. I had given my brother my own pillow so I only had a little hard cushion. I slept a couple of hours then lay awake for hours before I dozed off again; I estimate three hours sleep for the night. So I got up Christmas morning without much enthusiasm.
However, it was present time! No one can stay un-enthusiastic for long during a present orgy. There was a small amount of awkwardness as some of the family had been pushing for a secret Santa for years (where you only buy one present for one person -- everyone therefore only gets one present!) and the dissenters grudgingly agreed to try it this year -- sort of. We did a secret Santa with the wider group (husband's aunt and cousins & their spouses) but basically still exchanged presents amongst the closer members which was more than half the group anyway. The original plan was that we would be doing this before the wider group got here but some came early so witnessed the huge present giving. Oh well, they were the ones who opted out of it.
Of course the kids got huge piles of presents from everyone (they are the only children so far on both sides of the family), but I got a pretty good haul. My main present from Tim was a thingy that means I can record stuff from TV which I haven't been able to do since we got rid of the old video player a year ago. Also lots of books and CDs and DVDs, and a voucher for a Zooventure tour where you get to feed the tigers and bears and pat the cheetahs and stuff. And some ankle weights, and a food processor from my mum and probably some other things I have temporarily forgotten. But please don't think that we didn't want to give up the present orgy just because we wanted more presents, we love all the careful chosing and giving to others as well.
My son says it is his turn on the computer, so part two later.