Should we stay or should we go?

December 2, 2015 | Blog, Holidays & Travel

Going home for Christmas – or not


It’s a difficult question to answer, if we stay in Italy then it’s just the four of us, quiet but full of family fun. But if we go to England we spend it with family and friends.


Going back to the UK has many bonuses: spending time with much missed cousins, grandparents, uncles, aunties and friends, eating all the food we love, going to the pantomime….. the list is never ending. But there is the hassle of travelling, arranging presents, endless visits…. which means it just isn’t a holiday.


When we stay in Italy, we like the build up to the big day. We make Christmas cake and everyone helps in making it, stirring the mixture and making a wish. When we put up our tree, we listen to Christmas tunes, and finish off with a movie from our preselected Christmas movie list. Then every Sunday we feed the cake, do some baking, or make Christmas cards or gifts, then after dinner we play some games and finish off the day with another of our Christmas movies. 


A week before Christmas, we go present shopping. We pair off to buy each other gifts. I go with one twin and Tony with the other. It’s so funny walking around the same shop, hiding from the others so they don’t know which part of the shop you’ve been to. Once we get home, we stay in our pairs and wrap the gifts and put them under the tree.


@Michele Purin on Unsplash


On Christmas Eve, we spend the morning preparing for Christmas dinner. Everyone has a job to do: Tony peels the potatoes, the girls do the sprouts and help make the Yorkshire pudding mix, along with preparing the meal for that night. Once we’ve eaten, the girls put out treats and a note for Santa and the reindeer. We snuggle up and watch our final movie, then off to bed with a story, ‘The Night before Christmas’. Once the girls are asleep the magic happens and all the presents are put out.


I love Christmas morning. Once the girls are awake we snuggle in bed, then Tony has to be dressed and have a shave before he will go and check if Santa has been. When the girls believed in Santa, they were so funny, pacing around and shouting ‘come on papa,’ but it all added to the excitement. We open a few gifts before our English breakfast. After breakfast we walk to our local bar for a Prosecco. Once we get home, we have Christmas dinner, followed by chill time for the adults while the girls play with their toys. Santa always gets the family a new game, which we play and finish the day off with a movie and maybe a few chocolates.


This is our Christmas in at home in Italy.


And our Christmas in the UK….. weeks before we go back to the UK, I spend hours planning it, ordering presents that are delivered to my parents, ordering of our favourite foods and basic toiletries, just to cut out that part of running around once we arrive. I just need to wrap the presents when we arrive and then we can relax. But there’s no time to relax….. in between visiting family and friends, last minute shopping and socialising something seems to go wrong.


@Eugene Zhyvchik on Unsplash


One year we had decided to a rent a big house with all the family for a week, we had taken loads of food, alcohol, games and then 2 days before Christmas, nearly everyone got the Norovirus, so on Christmas Day nobody wanted to eat or drink, and ended up going to bed early. Another year, we arrived to surprise both my parents and Tony’s mum. A few days after Christmas Tony’s mum was taken ill. We spent the following few days in hospital and on New Years Eve, sadly she passed away. The only positive thing had been that we had been there and had said our goodbyes, which we would have missed if we hadn’t have gone back. Another year we went to California to stay with friends. We were flying from Rome and the flight was delayed for an hour which meant we nearly missed our connecting flight in Philadelphia. After 16 hours flying combined with jet lag it took a few days to recover, but we did have an amazing time.


On our last trip, we had arranged to stay in London for Christmas Day and Boxing day and then travel to Coventry for the New Year. We didn’t hire a car, thinking that using a coach service would be less stressful. We arrived on Christmas Eve, got our coach and arrived at the house 10 minutes after our food shopping was delivered, fortunately the owner of the house took it in. Our plan was to do the ‘family Christmas present shop’ and then go out for dinner, but all the shops were closed, apart from a small corner shop. Mia and Cara walked around the shop trying to find gifts. They ended up getting each other a chocolate bar and a packet of monster munch crisps! Christmas Day and Boxing day were perfect but on the day we left to go to Coventry it was freezing. The bus stop had no shelter. We arrived 20 minutes before the coach was due and four hours later it still hadn’t turned up. We arrived cold, tired, hungry and very fed up!


This is our experience of Christmas away from home.


Conclusion – either we have a quiet time, with not many gifts, no family or English friends around, but we get to relax  OR we get to see family and friends but have added stress, possible problems and no rest………This year we have decided to stay in Italy.

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