On the run-up to Christmas I have found it helpful to have a bit of an anchor in the day; a time when we all come together from our various wrapping, excitement, exhaustion, screens or shopping.
For the week leading up to the big day I have Mum’s Happy Hour at 5:00. It’s not obligatory, but they all come – mostly out of intrigue.
I get a game, quiz, puzzle or simple activity for each day and have a stock of drinks that aren’t normally allowed outside Fridays. With five kids J20 is virtually a Christmas present, so that does for one day. Other days I make mocktails; orange juice with cranberry makes a good show with its colour blushing up the glass. A few pieces of cut fruit, some funky straws and cocktail umbrellas then it’s virtually TGI Fridays - not to mention the sugared glass (know, I know, sugar!).
Games and challenges are simple: a quiz from one of those boxes that you’ve never got around to opening. Taking very close-up photos of a part of something, like a bottle opener or a cork (I’m clearly feeling like a drink!)
and they have to guess what it is, Silly questions, Jenga, Chinese whispers,
tiddly winks, the tallest marble run, the chocolate game or see how many marshmallows you can get in your mouth and still say “Chubby Bubbies,”
It could all sound a bit of an extra headache, but it’s not too stretching once you’ve gathered a box of bits and put a few things in the fridge. 5:00 p.m. usually comes just as they’re about to get grouchy, but four or three might suit you better.
It gathers us and ensures that we have family moments together amidst the chaos of preparation.