The one thing that I love about the long, dark evenings of winter, might seem strange to some.
“You’re doing it again aren’t you?” Himself will say to me in the car as we drive along, if I’ve gone quiet beside him.
I’ve been doing it since I was a little girl, sitting behind Mum and Dad in our seatbelt-free VW Golf as we drove through the winding Donegal roads at night.
Maybe it’s the writer in me, but I love looking through the windows of people’s homes.
I don’t mean that I walk around playing “Peeping Tomette”. NO, of course not. But when you’re sitting in the passenger seat of a car and it’s dark or getting dark, and people have yet to close their curtains, it’s amazing the little glimpses you can get into the worlds of strangers.
I look. And for a split second, I see a tableaux; a freezeframe – a photograph if you like of the home and sometimes the people in it. I imagine who they are; what they’re saying and what it’s like to be there, among them. Who has just walked into the room to make the child jump up like that? Where is he going? What are they talking about? My imagination creates full scenarios for the “characters” of these snapshots.
Christmas is my favourite time to do this, and with Christmas trees in windows, it’s the perfect time to catch beautiful moments. These are where the real Christmas-Card-worthy moments happen; A Granny laughing by the fireplace. An uncle arriving home. Windows being cleaned. A dog being scolded for jumping on a sofa. A child being lifted up high.
Snapshots, if you will.
Obviously, on Christmas Day, I don’t do this… because I’m not in the car much.
And so, I thought I’d get glimpses into the homes of others in a different way. I asked some of the top Parenting writers in the country what I would see if I happened to look through their windows over Christmas?
Each of them has kindly sent me a description of their very own perfect freezeframe; what they hope you’d see and what they hope to be doing while the world drives by next Monday.
Jen from – Mama-tude loves Christmas Eve most.
“My favourite moment of Christmas is Christmas Eve morning when the children wake up. It’s the one morning of the year that I’m very grateful for their early morning rising tendencies. They always bounce into our room, fit to burst with excitement knowing that Santa is coming that night.
My mum always arrives super early that morning with a special Christmas chocolate cake. She has come to terms with her daughter’s lacking of domestic goddess skills so in the interest of her grandchildren’s palate, she does the baking! Then we turn on the laptop, log onto Norad Santa tracker and countdown the minutes until he leaves. And so begins their excited running commentary on his whereabouts for the duration of the day.”
Ross from – The Stented Papa
“If you were to take a peek through my window on Christmas morning, you’d see a busy, excited household.
The funny thing is it depends on what time you’d be taking a peek! We’ve actually had to wake Nip #1 up for the last two Christmas mornings!! Even knowing Santa was coming, she was happy to sleep in! But I’ve a feeling this year will be a bit different.
So once everyone is awake, it’s a busy & excited place. Wrapping paper everywhere, the nips playing with their new toys, showing & telling us all about them. Christmas tunes in the background, dressing gowns on, fresh coffee brewing.
Then we get dressed & head over to Granny’s house for a big breakfast & more presents. Then around 1pm we head for Great Grandad Shay’s house with about 30 family (my in-law’s side) for some fun & yep, you’ve guessed it – more presents!!!
Finally back to ours this year for Christmas dinner with all the usual trimming & the odd glass of vino – sure it is Christmas ya know!! Cheers to the perfect day!”
Kellie from – My Little Babóg
“I would love to say all happy and merry but in reality you will probably see absolute carnage and one or both parents swigging from a bottle of Jack Daniels by midday. Christmas morning with a 1, 2, 3 and 7 year old is gonna be like any other day except with a skip full of new toys, wrapping paper and boxes upon boxes of selection boxes like the old days. It will be messy but hopefully full of fun and laughter.”
Jolene from – One Yummy Mummy
“Daddy of the house running down the stairs in his pjs to check and see if santa came; He lets us know with an excited roar up if he has.
Bursts of excitement from my 4 year old running down and crashing thru the living room door to see all the presents. Then you’ll Catch a glimmpse of few tears as I get caught up in the emotion of it all. Then to the kitchen were you,ll spy a few of my dance moves with a bucks fizz in hand, basting the turkey, with christmas FM in full swing.”
Becky from – Cuddle Fairy
“Christmas morning if you looked through our window you would see all of the Christmas lights on. Three kids happily tearing off wrapping paper and parents assembling toys. We are all in our pajamas with sleepy heads and unwashed faces. It’s straight downstairs when the kids wake up. There’s nothing as magical as Christmas morning.”
Benny from Daddy Poppins
“What would you see if you looked through out window on Christmas morning? In a word, Mayhem. We’ve two hyperactive children at the best of times but the magic of Christmas will send them over the edge. Think Santa’s elves high on sherbet and candy canes (but in child form, obviously). There’ll be wrapping paper everywhere and our little terrors will be flitting from toy to toy, unsure which to settle on for their first proper play. Mammy and Daddy will be trying to coax them into posing for pictures with their new acquisitions but it will all be in vein. Nothing will hold those little magpies attention for long as they dart from one shiny new thing to the next. Mayhem, but the good kind.”
And as for THIS Donegal Mammy? The carpet shall be clattered and camouflaged by wrapping paper and toys. Michael Buble will be crooning from the tellybox. Daddy shall be building stuff and Mammy shall be eating, starting the day with the obligatory Football Special and Terry’s chocolate orange! The girls will be hyped up on life, excited to the brink by cousins and presents and Grandparents and fun. Mammy and Daddy shall be screenfree, intent on not scolding for the day and stealing kisses every time we pass under mistletoe… And there still shall be tears and jobs to do and maybe the odd tantrum, and probably a few dirty nappies, but in the midst of it all, there shall be glitter and sparkle and love. And even the jobs and nappies and tears shall be dealt with with extra smiles and magic; with that special, inexplicable feeling that comes only with Christmas Day.
Whatever is happening in your window frame this Christmas, I do hope it is wonderful and joyful and as stress free as possible. I’d love you to share your snapshot in the comments.
Sending much love and Christmas wishes to all,
The S-Mum xxxxxxx