Jo's blogging the whole Christmas over at her blog – http://claytonsinshetland.blogspot.com – so you can read all the gory details there. I'm just going to pick out my favourite moments:
Catering for 17 was a real fun challenge. Somehow, certainly more luck that judgement, our logistics were almost perfect. We didn't run out of anything, we had minimal left-overs. And it proved that the dishes we do day-to-day for the family can scale up perfectly. Christmas dinner was a team affair that involved all of the adults in the house and the timings were spot on.
Home brew, drinking, for the use of. Now I've brewed beer for years and we've always drunk it slowly. However, I started this Christmas with a full cupboard and ended it with 1 pint of cider and the mead left. Since the mead won't be ready for drinking until my birthday, I think that's pretty good. Adam brought up 4 bottles of his own brew – very impressive it was, too.
Full house. 17 in one house worked surprisingly well. Thanks to a few tables and chairs loaned from the works restaurant there was no trouble seating everyone for meals. And thanks to the rather remote location of our house the bedrooms are large enough that we can put entire families in each room. Including ours!
The presents! Always the high-point of Christmas, I now have a number of things I never knew I needed. Secret Centre Table Santa kindly provided me with a Yorkshire Bitter kit, so I can replenish some of the stocks we drank in time for Zach's Christening in June. Once the shops are open and I can buy some sugar, it's game on. I have a bluetooth adaptor for the other laptop so just need a suitable gaming keyboard and mouse so we can hook said laptop up to the TV and play Risen in comfort (thanks, Rhu! Grave moths are a challenge and we're only a few minutes into the game)
The food. Did I mention we ate rather well? Huge pots of full-strength curry, pakoras, salmon (both smoked and en croute), jerk chicken, the list goes on. Yum. Looking forward to the next excuse to cook on a grand scale.
Gaming. Card games, board games, playstation games. Sing Star is so much more fun when you're drunk and someone else is picking the songs for you. Thanks to the medleys I've sung stuff I never knew we had. Dr Lucky had his traditional Christmas outing, both Kill and Save variations being played. Fluxx confused a few to start with but soon got going. The favourite, though, has to be The Great Game of Britain. Challenging geography and allowing your vindictive streak to come to the fore, it's fantastic. Over the next year I'll be adding Dungeon Quest, Carcassonne and Settlers of Catan into the mix.
All told, it was a fantastic Christmas, definitely one of the best of my adult life. Having the house full and everyone enjoying themselves was the best present we could have hoped for.
New Year's Eve saw more gaming, this time with the Grays, Dungeon Quest, Labyrinth and The Great Game coming out again. Hopefully this is setting the tone for 2011 as the year of family gaming. Now I've just got to start up the Dr Who RPG I'm playing with the older kids again…
Happy New Year to everyone who reads this. And everyone who doesn't, for that matter. Not bothered either way.