This is Tom's sister's home in a picturesque little village on the outskirts of Bath. We had a magical white Christmas there last time we were in the UK.
The village was completely covered in snow, and we weren't able to get out for a couple of days.
The kids got about on sleighs and sleds up the streets or down the hills.
Evenings are spent snuggled up watching Christmas shows on TV or playing games.
We visited Santa in his grotto at Longleat House via special train.
All the kids received a present from Santa.
Christmas dinner was spent indoors together.
The trees are real, shaped very differently from ours and look beautiful decorated. Here's the post I did on our white Christmas if you want to see more pics.
For Aussies, Christmas is a very different thing. My husband, being a Pom, just never feels like it's really Christmas here. He finds it hard to get into the spirit and therefore clings to sentiment and tradition in a way that is quite surprising for a bloke, but it's the only way he can get a sense of Christmas if he is able to recreate some of those familiar and comforting traditions from home. I should be more sympathetic and understanding I know, because being away from home and family at Christmas can be very tough.
Here's how we spent Christmas a few years back when we were living on our farm. For starters, we only had two kids, Charlie and Poppy.
The night before Christmas we had a party with family and friends, with everybody having a picnic on the lawn at our house and singing carols. Santa arrived on a quad bike ringing a bell bearing gifts for all the kids.
Charlie was still a little terrified of Santa at that stage.
We had a music duo hired to play carols and Christmas songs but their equipment failed and strangely enough they were woefully ill-prepared to play the songs I had chosen and put into Christmas song booklets, so we had to carry my electric piano out of the shed onto the paving and I stepped in and played for the rest of the night.
My Christmas table was all silver and white, with holly, ivy and Christmas bush.
The Aussie Chrissy tree. It is a strange thing, the Radiata Pine, and I know it's unAustralian to say it, but it just doesn't compare to its northern hemisphere cousins. The needles are too long and floppy, they grow upwards making it impossible to hang decorations properly and the whole tree grows with far too much unevenness and irregularity, making it very hard for them to look very good decorated. I wish we could find the American or European varieties here, but I may have to consider artificial this year to get the shape I want.
In the kitchen, Christmas Day is usually spent sweltering over the hot meal for whoever is in charge of the Christmas spread. For this reason, we very sensibly often have a cold seafood lunch and save up the hot dinner for the evening.
This was Poppy's first Christmas and Charlie was 3.
Some of my wrapping for the year.
Christmas morning, everyone piles on the bed to open Santa sacks and stockings, including the dog.
All gets a bit exhausting when you're only three.
Last year, Christmas was a bit of a disaster because our house renovation had run over, and we were barely in a few days prior to 25th. So nothing was really finished, there was no decorating done, all our furniture and belongings were still in storage, so we had lovely Christmas down in Bowral at my parents' farm instead.
The weather in Bowral can still be very cold at Christmas and it's not unheard of to have the fire burning. So sometimes it feels quite like an English Christmas. which makes Tom happy.
I decorated the table with greenery from Mum's garden. She thought I went a bit overboard at the time, and looking back it does look a bit overgrown!
Charlie made sure Santa and the reindeer were taken care of.
Poppy was a princess fairy for the day.
Fergus is never forgotten.
Charlie was starting school in the new year, so he was excited to have all his new school uniform and all the trappings.
Which he insisted on wearing for the rest of the day.
We had a small gathering last year because my sister and her family were still on their epic caravan trip around Australia, and were spending Christmas down south.
I bought a gingerbread house kit, and we made one for the first time. I did have to resist the urge to be a control freak and guide the kids in the placement of the lollies, but I let it go!
We'll have to make room for another name this year!
CUSHION GIVEAWAY - By the way, I never heard from the first winner of the cushion giveaway, so I had to redraw it. The winner by default is SusieQ25. Send me an email with your details Susie and I'll send it out.