For the first time in our adult life, myself and Jimmy-Plays-Bass woke up in our own house on Christmas morning. After years of spending 8 nights in 6 different beds, driving over 700 miles to visit family in Yorkshire, Devon, Kent and the West Midlands, throwing an inordinate amount of money and cat sitters, not to mention putting our marriage on the line each and every time we got in the car to face the Christmas traffic demons, we finally put our foot down. We chained ourselves to our bed posts and burned our bras (not really) and made the mountain come to Mohammed. Here's what I learned (in no particular order)

  1. Christmas is way less stressful when it doesn't kick off with having to pack the car with everything from clothes to presents to travel cots to snacks to sing-a-long CDs to cheese boards, board games and bottles of wine.
  2. And talking of sing-a-long CDs, no long drives significantly reduces your chances of having to listen to The Wheels on the Bloody Bus on repeat.
  3. No long drives also significantly reduces the risk of divorce and/or first degree murder.
  4. You don't have to do the washing up. In fact, you're expect NOT to do it with a huge glass of congratulatory alcohol in your hand...
  5. ...and, you don't have to limit that alcohol or have the "Who's driving?" fight because, guess what? YOU'RE ALREADY AT HOME.
  6. You can make the Christmas lunch YOU want to eat - heavy on pigs-in-blankets, light on sprouts and don't even get me started on yucky Christmas pudding and brandy butter. Not in my house.
  7. You get a whole bottle of wine to yourself. While your cooking. Or is that just me?
  8. Kids are easier to manage when they're in their own house.
  9. The timeout step is where it always is which makes managing behaviour easier (especially when the threat of Santa has run out for another year)
  10. and you can limit accidental access to crazy-inducing chocolate.
  11. You save a packet on petrol which means you can buy more booze and secret Me Presents.
  12. You wonder what all the fuss has been about - Christmas dinner is basically a glorified roast, right?
  13. Right, except turkey is an entirely different beast and no amount of basting will ever stop it from being a bit dry and cardboardy.
  14. And talking of turkey, don't forget to pick it up only to remember once you've taken the car to the nail salon.
  15. Best not to call your husband in a panic and make him walk to Waitrose and have to carry a 12lb turkey home while pushing a buggy.
  16. In the rain.
  17. With a toddler who's absolutely NOT ALLOWED TO FALL ASLEEP.
  18. Based on the above, divorce can be just as likely whether you're driving around the country or not.
  19. Suddenly you can start to make real Christmas traditions that are about you, your house and your kids.
  20. It's all about the kids.
  21. Kids prefer to be in their own home at Christmas.
  22. Grown ups prefer to be in their own home at Christmas.

Christmas rocked this year.