This is what happens behind the scenes at Christmas time

Greetings –

This post was written in response to Sue’s post over at Sizzling Towards Sixty and Beyond where she asked some of her favourite bloggers to share their thoughts about Christmas.  Sue has kindly shared a snippet of my post (thanks again Sue). Read on for the full version.

I enjoyed gathering my thoughts and writing about this special time.

Christmas for me has always been about family and spending time together. In all my years I can only think of one or two times that my husband and I have been on our own for Christmas Day, and even then we joined with friends so we wouldn’t be too sad and lonely.


A few memories have come flooding back – like when my three daughters were little I always made them matching Christmas dresses for all their parties, Santa photos and to wear on Christmas Day. It was all about making their day special and fun. (Looking back I also think I had a thing about ‘matching’ which no doubt I’d caught from my mother who loved dressing my sister and I in matching outfits).  I love the photo below, mainly because of my fabulous hairdo. How sweet do my little cherubs look in their matching dresses??

Christmas photo with girls in matching dresses

Christmas photo with matching dresses

Family holidays

Fast forward to 2014 – we had a family holiday at the beach and my second daughter had secretly made her sisters matching Christmas dresses.  They proudly wore them for a special photo shoot and presented me with photos of them matching their younger days.  It was very funny and very sweet!!

Nowadays the girls are all grown up and we have fallen into the pattern of getting together every second year. With one daughter living in the UK and our other two daughters and numerous family members scattered throughout Australia, it isn’t an easy task, but we manage to do it.

On the year we have everyone together we start looking early for a suitable house somewhere, usually at the beach, and get working on the logistics of getting everyone together.  It’s quite an effort but it’s fun.

Bushfires in 2001

We have had some fantastic times together – who could forget the bush fires in 2001 that threatened us in our delightful holiday house at the beach, just as we sat down to Christmas lunch? The fires cut us off from civilisation for a number of days without power or communication.  What a scary experience it was but we were very lucky as many actually lost their homes nearby. It was a very different Christmas that’s for sure!

Skiing in Italy in 2007

Another year, (actually it was over 10 years ago in 2007), we met our three daughters in the Italian Alps for a Christmas to remember in the town, where one of the girls had been a nanny years before.  One daughter was living in the UK, one was on a GAP year working in England and the other was on a university exchange in Sweden, and we were back in Australia.

So we decided to arrange a white Christmas together and spent the time skiing the slopes in brilliant (but cold) sunshine.  It was at this time I decided to call an end to my skiing career and went out with a bang having a delightful Argentinian called Roberto as my personal skiing instructor for a few days, including Christmas morning!!  It was an amazing Christmas and one I’ll never forget, as it was our one and only experience of a White Christmas.  Living in Australia usually means a hot summer’s day.

Beach – 2016

In 2016 we rented a huge house on the Gold Coast and had our daughter and her fiancé come out from England, our other two daughters and their  husband’s, my husband’s parents and my sister-in-law – all together  in the one house. We all had to travel quite some distance to get to the Gold Coast which added to the excitement of it all. For Christmas Day lunch we then added my parents who lived nearby, my brother and his partner, his daughter and her two children. It was very hectic but enjoyable time.

There’s always cricket to play and watch on TV, food to eat, games, swimming, walks, books to read and continuous chatting going on. We all make an effort and although it can get a bit tense at times it all works out.

We’ve had some wonderful times together over the years and try to include all sides of the family as much as possible, despite difficulties and distance. Some years it’s been great to have my sister and her husband with us, but it all depends on her grandchildren’s whereabouts.

On the years in-between, our daughter in the UK spends the time with friends and is jealous of our warm weather and missing out on the fun of being with family. Our middle daughter and her husband relocated from UK in 2012 and they’ve spent every Christmas with us since then, and we usually rent a house together for a week, as we are doing his year, at the beach near where my parents-in-law live.  Our youngest daughter lives in Brisbane so spends the in between years with her husband’s family.  We are always in constant contact during this time.


We usually have a Secret Santa gift session so that no-one overspends but we have the fun of giving and opening presents. Although it’s supposed to decrease the amount of presents under the tree, it doesn’t seem to work as the pile continually grows.  I also like to collect decorations whenever I go travelling.  This year having just returned from New Zealand I bought a gold ball with a Kiwi on it and I have a great collection of gorgeous Danish decorations.


I enjoy laughing at ourselves and one year on my birthday (which is two weeks before Christmas), I requested that we all participate in an Awkward Photo pop-up photo booth. This was a huge amount of fun and I still laugh when I look at the photos.  By the way I don’t usually allow my birthday and Christmas to co-habit but I made an exception this particular year and I’m glad I made everyone give this to me as my birthday present.

Awkward portrait at Christmas

Photo credit: Awkward portrait

On a similar theme I made this quirky little video a few years ago which had the girls rolling their eyes!!  I think it’s a great fun dance video.


Christmas is special, so we try to make sure we enjoy our time together, relax and have fun in the sun. We don’t take it too seriously as you can probably see but we’re making memories together which is most important.

Do you do things differently in your family?  I’d love to hear your favourite Christmas custom, you can let me know in the comment section below.

May you enjoy yourselves too, however you spend this time.  Wishing you a happy and healthy year ahead.

Deb xx



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  One thought on “This is what happens behind the scenes at Christmas time

  1. December 7, 2017 at 9:37 am

    What a lovely post, Debbie and thanks for the mention. I love reading about other people and how they celebrate at this time of year. Each Boxing Day we would visit my Uncle and it was a bit family affair with backyard cricket. Your post brought back lovely memories for me. I love the photo of you and the girls when they were little and the funny photo as well. Those little videos are such a laugh aren’t they? It is hard when children have grown and not only left home but the country as in your case. Have a wonderful Christmas and holiday season Debbie and enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 7, 2017 at 9:56 am

      Thanks to you Sue, for asking me to join in with your lovely post in the first place! I had a great time tripping down memory lane and one of my daughter’s has already commented that my post has made her homesick (and she lives in Australia). It’s great to hear my post also stirred memories for you. Thanks again for the opportunity and all the best for the holiday season ahead. xx


  2. December 7, 2017 at 9:41 am

    That Christmas elf dance video capped off a truly awesome post Deb. Loved it! 🙂🎄

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 7, 2017 at 9:58 am

      Thanks so much Miriam!! I can see my daughter’s rolling their eyes at me from here but I enjoyed the opportunity to reminisce and share some of the more memorable times we’ve had together. xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • December 7, 2017 at 10:50 am

        Hey Deb, rolling of the eyes comes with the territory doesn’t it, but all good fun. 🙂xo

        Liked by 1 person

  3. December 9, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    my mother used to be quite passionate about big Christmases. Now, we are all grown up and none of us have kids. This year we are all meeting in Scotland and having lunch cooked for us – how luxurious! I love your hair too – I think I had much the same style!

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 10, 2017 at 6:35 pm

      Thanks Fiona, I loved that hair! Your Christmas sounds great and so luxurious having someone cook for you! Enjoy yourselves 🙂


  4. December 9, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    Haha love your dance and what lovely memories you have made over the years we should write a Christmas memoir book 🙂 Warts and all 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. December 9, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    I love the pictures, lots of great memories for you and your family. Enjoy the upcoming holiday festivities!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. December 9, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    I love the photos! What a busy time it is for you but it sounds like its worth it. Family getting together in happy circumstances is always good. Lovely memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 10, 2017 at 6:32 pm

      You’re right Gloria, we must make memories while we have the opportunity.


  7. December 9, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    How lovely hearing about your Christmases. It sounds like you’ve had some really special ones. The matching dresses is the cutest though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 10, 2017 at 6:31 pm

      I think the dresses take the prize too!! Thanks for stopping by, much appreciated 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. December 9, 2017 at 11:37 pm

    It seems nice to have all the fun and enjoy the Christmas with family and friends and just soak in it….and there’s so much going on in the background with preparations and all……nice reading your post with those lovely pictures….

    Liked by 1 person

  9. December 10, 2017 at 1:02 am

    This is such a lovely post, I love the fact that your family manage to get together despite the fact that they are so widespread! That Elf video was hilarious, too!


  10. December 10, 2017 at 4:01 am

    Just me and the Squire and a dog called Fudge this Christmas. No Stress, plenty of tapas and sun, oh and lots of chocolate and other naughty treats. Have a great Christmas Debs x

    Liked by 1 person

  11. December 10, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    Looks like you have plenty of experience celebrating the Holidays with family and friends Deb. In my experience, holiday plans never turn out quite the way we’d expected. but that usually makes it all the better. It’s going to be fun to see how this season plays out. Cheers Deb!

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 10, 2017 at 6:23 pm

      Thanks Shaun, I understand the unexpected way of plans and can relate to your comment 🙂 All the best for this year’s celebrations and enjoy it whatever you do.


  12. December 10, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    Love that you all do something a little different each year. We will be milking cows again this year 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 10, 2017 at 6:21 pm

      Yes it’s fun Annie, but I’m sure milking the cows would be fun too! Enjoy your holidays 🙂


  13. December 10, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    Oh, I love this! That “awkward family photo” is so cute! And the Elf Yourself videos are one of my favorite things to do around Christmas time! 🙂 I hope you have a fabulous birthday and an incredible Christmas season! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 10, 2017 at 6:20 pm

      Thanks 🙂 It’s always a favourite photo and the video is just plain fun. Thanks for your kind birthday wishes too! All the best to you for the holiday season.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. December 11, 2017 at 2:20 am

    We do the Secret Santa gifts, too. With 6 siblings and a growing number of nieces and nephews it’s necessary! Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. December 11, 2017 at 6:02 am

    This is so much fun! I love the video. Traveling and bringing the family together sounds like a great way to make the holiday both an adventure and a meaningful event. As a fellow Christmas season birthday (though actually on the darn day) I think keeping them separate is genius–when it can be managed. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 11, 2017 at 10:22 am

      I feel for you Angela with your birthday on Christmas day but it does have its plus sides I suppose! I’ve been adamant my whole life about keeping them separate as possible 🙂 I love having my family together but it doesn’t happen all that often unfortunately.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. December 20, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    What a hilarious video clip 🙂 Maybe you’ve grown accustomed to it. But, it still feels kinda weird for me having Christmas in the hot blazing weather instead of the cold, snowy winter weather.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 20, 2017 at 8:59 pm

      Thanks Herlina, I laugh every time I see that video too!! Yes we’re accustomed to a hot Christmas but I did enjoy our cold white Christmas in Italy 10 years ago. It must seem strange for you when we talk about the heat and you’re freezing cold.


  17. December 21, 2017 at 3:10 am

    What a great peek into your holiday! I love knowing a bit more about your life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 21, 2017 at 9:44 pm

      Yes, it’s always interesting to read these posts as you get an insight into someone’s life, no matter how brief the words are! Happy to hear you enjoyed the glimpses 🙂


  18. December 22, 2017 at 1:16 am

    Christmas in the Alps! One of my dreams. You and your family know how to put the fun in Christmas, Deb.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 22, 2017 at 10:51 am

      Yes we try hard to enjoy ourselves Molly! I just can’t believe the alps Christmas was 10 years ago. 😮

      Liked by 1 person

  19. December 23, 2017 at 8:05 am

    I don’t know what I love more, that awesome video (who knew you were so rhythmic?) or that cute picture with everyone in matching dresses.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 23, 2017 at 10:52 pm

      I didn’t even realise I was so rhythmic!! It was so much fun and I haven’t laughed like that in a long time. The dresses were awesome and I feel proud to say I made them for many years.


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