I am amazed at how fast this year has flown by. All of a sudden, (it seems!) it is Christmas once again. Owen did most of our Christmas Shopping this year and I am very grateful for that. Work has been so very busy that I have had little free time to juggle anything else with.
I rushed home from work on Christmas Eve so that we could all go over to Tim & Marie’s house for a few hours. We were home by 7:30 so it was a lovely way to excite the kids enough without anyone getting over-whelmed! For the first time, I forgot to take my camera (I am never without that usually!) so I have no photos from Christmas Eve. However, it was the same group of Ex-pats staying in Shanghai over Christmas so we saw quite a bit of them!! And, I remembered to take the camera to the rest of the events.
Once we got home, of course the children were excited. We got mince pie cookies and brandy ready for Father Christmas and a carrot for Rudolph. They had had such a busy day that they actually went off to sleep relatively well. Disaster struck at 12:30 though as Owen could hear voices coming from Isabelle’s bedroom. I was already in bed, but Owen was downstairs. Sure enough, Isabelle had woken up and then woken Oliver up and they both decided to start opening stocking presents that had already been delivered! Oh no! It was time for Daddy to have some stern words and send everyone off to sleep again until a decent time in the morning. Goodness knows how Santa managed to sneak past Owen to deliver presents AND eat the cookie, drink the brandy. It was quite the discussion in our house in the morning.
It was a leisurely morning opening presents, playing with toys and eating breakfast. I absolutely enjoyed every minute of this precious morning. Watching the kids excitement and pleasure at everything they opened and received was delightful. They were also just as excited to watch Owen and I open our presents. They had managed to keep the presents for Daddy a surprise and he certainly was surprised this year! He also totally surprised me and made me cry with his thoughtfulness – a perfect gift for me! Tetley was also treated to a stocking full of treats:
We e-biked/biked around to Rob & Jen’s house at 12:30. Our 2nd Shanghai Christmas and a repeat of our experience from last year. This year, Rob and Jen hosted us in their beautiful home. They had welcomed the Intercontinental Catering team into their kitchen and they had provided all the food for our Christmas dinner. We were totally spoiled! Again!!
We were thrilled to share Christmas day Dinner with Rob and Jen, with their 2 children, Freddie and Theo, plus Kevin and Jane and their 2 children, Amelie and Joseph. It was a huge feast and the set up was perfect. 1 table for the 6 children right next to the adult table! Crackers and chocolates were extra treats on the tables for all of us:
It was a long, relaxing, fun dinner. We all made multiple visits to the buffet for plate refills! Good conversation, good company and flowing fizz. The kids wanted to swim after their food, so they were all in the pool for a dip and a splash.
Meanwhile, the adults were having fun too!
After the adults had finished eating and the kids had finished swimming, it was time to play Charades. Lots of fun with all participating and some very funny gestures.
We all totally enjoyed our Christmas day with Rob, Jen, Jane and Kevin. All too soon it was past 6:00 and time for us to get home to get ready for the evening get together. We raced home, got changed and then arrived at Suzanne and Brien’s house to find the party already in full force.
Jane and Mike have just arrived in Shanghai to start their new assignment. They were both relieved to be welcomed into the Emerald Ex-pat family! The wonderful thing about living like this is that everyone is in exactly the same boat and are super supportive, friendly and welcoming.
It was a wonderful Christmas Day celebration. If you cannot celebrate with your family, then an Ex-Pat “family” get together is a great choice.
I am very grateful for our friends in Shanghai that make this whole experience so much fun and who are so supportive.
After a few too many glasses of fizz on Christmas evening, I invited a few friends over to our house for Boxing Day!! So, we woke up late and then had a whirlwind around the house getting ready for people to arrive. As the Chinese do not celebrate Christmas, all the shops were open and it was just another working day for all the locals! This worked in our favor because I could run to the shop to buy a few snacks for our impromptu gathering. It worked out well, with Marie and kids, Kevin & Jane plus kids and Rob & Jen plus kids stopping in for a few relaxing hours. It was a nice way to close out Christmas 2013.