One year, when the kids were small and we were still living in Ireland, our whole family came over to spend Christmas with us. I remember it as the most magical time: loads of fun and laughter, walks to the pub snuggled up in hats and scarves, the kids opening their presents together on Christmas morning… Years later, we still talk about our lovely family Christmas together, and one of the things we’ve considered is renting a cosy cottage somewhere and decamping as a family for the festive period. I’m thinking The Holiday but with considerably more people. So why am I hankering after getting away from it all? Well, here are five great reasons why we should all be having a cosy cottage Christmas:
Discovering more of the UK
So yes, we could stay at home and invite everyone to us, but why not embrace a change of scenery? I’m thinking a pretty cottage in Dorset (please let it snow!), with an open fire and pretty streets and villages nearby to explore. We live on such a beautiful island – I feel like we should try and explore more than our own little corner! And also, while you’re there, you can be scoping out lovely places to revisit for summer holidays too. It’s a win/win.
A break from the everyday
Yes, Christmas is a holiday, but while you’re at home, the temptation is to still tackle that pile of laundry, maybe put the hoover round, get on with a bit of life admin, wipe round that bathroom (especially if you’ve got people staying), and suddenly you’re not enjoying your Christmas at all, and it’s certainly not feeling like much of a holiday.
Sharing the workload
Yes, it’s lovely when your family and friends descend on you for Christmas, but if you’re being the hostess with the mostest, then your Christmas might well end up being one of making up spare rooms, finding clean towels and making breakfast for ten. If you’re renting a cottage, then it becomes more neutral territory, where everyone will feel happy to do their fair share of the cooking and the washing up. You never know, you might even discover that one of your family is a bit of a culinary superstar or genius cocktail maker and you didn’t even realise.
The luxury of space
So, you’ve got your brother and his wife in your son’s room, and their kids sleeping in the lounge, and that means that he’s got to be on your floor on a blow up bed… Life’s too short for all that human tetris – it’s so much easier to book a cottage with loads of space so everyone can have a bedroom – and bed – of their own. Chances are there’s a dining room with enough chairs for everyone on Christmas Day too.
A change of scenery
I love a wintery walk in our beautiful Chiltern Hills on Christmas morning. But a wintery walk on the beach on Christmas morning sounds utterly gorgeous. And while you’re sipping your lovely drinks by the fire, the best news is that nobody has to drive home either.
Many thanks to dorsetcottages.com for the inspiration and the beautiful pictures.