Every Christmas is the same, but I'd better record one before I forget; time passes.
M and I usually work the morning of Christmas eve. D and E have of course been off school for ages. We come home early-afternoon, madly finish packing and chivvy the infants to do the same, and throw things into the car, leaving by 4 pm to make sure we get to Mother's in time for carols on the village green at 6. In a good year like this one, we've remembered we need a cat minder for Phoebe in advance; in a bad year we scramble around looking for someone at the last minute. A few years back we would sometimes drop the infants at mothers days earlier: that made sense when they were young and needed looking after, and Mother was younger and could. But now they can be left at home; and Mother is past 80 and finds their youthful ardour, unmoderated by another adult, a little tiring.
We get to mother's with a few minutes free, unload, sit down for a little, awaiting RNLT or some subset thereof. Thence to the carols by the corner, where we sing the same carols each year; thirteen of them I think, with all the verses, so it fills out the hour. With luck some mince pies and mulled wine, then back to Mothers to begin relaxing. The evening spend doing little; and finishing wrapping the presents.
Christmas day: is built around the Queen's speech at 3 pm. Mother, and others, go to church in the morning; I go for a run. Around 11 am we're back; Mother's regime of peeling the sprouts or whatever goes into action; M and N help; I just about invariably don't; my job is to sit in the living room drinking a sherry when I'm offered one by Rob. Lunch starts around 1:30, and needs to finish by 2:30, in order to get the washing up done, and the coffee made, in time for The Queen. People say, "but how do you manage to wait until 3?" but the answer is firstly that the children are now teenagers, so barely care what they get; and secondly it has been thus since time immemorial - certainly since my childhood - and no-one expects otherwise. After a brief discussion of Her Maj - perhaps a touch themeless this year I thought - the opening begins, generally with the adults in their chairs and me sitting next to the fire, and the children distributing the presents from underneath the tree. One year we tried an experiment: you get one present to unwrap, and play with for half an hour; then the next. That worked pretty well, but we didn't this year. Every now and then someone goes round with a binbag to collect all the unwrapped wrapping.
There will be afternoon tea, probably with Christmas cake. If we don't feel too stuffed from dinner, and chocolate. The "snowman" comes in at some point. Likely we will watch some Christmas special; Dr Who this year and last. And so it goes, quietly.
Boxing day: years back, the infants would rise early and rush round to RNLT's to play fun games or on the Xbox or whatever; nowadays lying in bed is more the norm. If I'm doing well I'll go for another run; and at lunchtime we'll go over to RNLT's for, errm, lunch. They live less than five minutes walk away.