Well, I got a lie-in till 7am today, when Baby JoJo woke me. The girls made it through till 8am (LissaLou) and 9am (a record for CassCass). We had put out Bertie's sock of their choice the night before and LissaLou came rushing through thrilled that there was something in it! OK, just a toothbrush, lipseal, an orange and chocolate coins but that did the trick! She wondered over how Father Christmas knew that she liked green toothbrushes...! Then Bertie read the Christmas story and we opened the other presents we had, some felt tips and a Christmas book with jigsaws. Baby JoJo got a book and a musical play frame from his aunt. Then the girls got down to playing, and we laughed at CassCass who when surrounded by these lovely new toys got straight back to lining her happyland cars up!
A little later, the family started arriving for the next meal, officially known as eating up the leftovers (there are lots!). The girls have been playing delightedly with Stella, who has set up a shop she got complete with cash till. LissaLou is clicking around in her heels and swishing her carte bleue (credit card) as I speak!
There has been a lot of noise and laughter for the last couple of hours as people eat, drop in and chat, children play. It is bank holiday here today but not tomorrow, but the French have the marvellous system that if bank holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, they often give their staff the monday or friday too! Bank holidays here always stay on a particular date, whatever the day of the week, and if it is the weekend they are not carried over to the Monday, so you lose out! However, they have far more days than we do so they can't complain too much!
There has also been a lot of rain - it has been pouring on and off for the last few days! I am off to have my buche and ordinaire now and maybe we will persuade the girls to sleep, though they are so happy with their cousins here that probably not!
I have concluded that it is fun to have a different Christmas, but I definitely prefer our style best. Late-night is too hard on small children, I miss going to church (only Catholics have a service), and whilst the Christmas songs are very animated and exciting, I miss our carols with their dignity and solemnity. I cannot begin to describe to you what they did to O Holy Night, Gwada style - it was nothing short of massacre! (It reminded me of Hooked On Classics, which I remember Dad not appreciating and I can see why!) There is not so much focus on presents here which is good, but more on feasting and fun. Whilst the number of people is fun and lively, it does make reflection and quiet focus harder. I also miss our games and activities and what I wouldn't give for a brisk walk on Hampstead Heath right now!