Starting a new Christmas tradition

T&B learning a French Christmas tradition at Le District - making crowns waiting for Galette de Rois to bake

Sorry about the radio silence. I epically ran out of blogging steam in the run up to Christmas, and then used the excuse of toddler jetlag to avoid writing. It’s now well into January so I can procrastinate no longer. **sound of sleeves rolling up and a big gulp of tea, brief pause to google ‘what is the opposite of procrastinate’?**.

We flew back to England for Christmas, and had a fab time catching up with friends and family. We tried something new this year – staggered presents. Last year we packed up the lot and carted them to Devon via London, and then all the way back to New York again. This year we decided to exchange our own immediate family’s gifts a couple of weeks early in Manhattan, and then for the girls to open one or two a day (as and when friends gave them something, providing their behaviour had deserved it) throughout our trip.

This was initially designed to reduce the amount of suitcases heading to Devon, but we quickly realised a far better benefit. By opening gifts so slowly, they were utterly focused on each one and spent the day dreaming up ways to play with their new present. This was far nicer than last year’s orgy of ripping paper while I anxiously tried to keep track of gift labels.

Think we may have started a new family Christmas tradition there.

T's first spreadsheet - calculating cooking times for Christmas lunch
Calculating cooking times for that other Christmas tradition – roast goose


T&B learning a French Christmas tradition at Le District - making crowns waiting for Galette de Rois to bake
T&B learning a French Christmas tradition at Le District – making crowns waiting for Galette des Rois to bake
Far more mess than strictly necessary - the girls ice the Christmas cake
Far more mess than strictly necessary – the girls ice the Christmas cake

This week’s Highs & Lows:


  • The girls have finally kicked their jetlag. Six nights of getting up demanding breakfast and Lego at 4am, finally over. It took about six nights in the other direction too, though that worked more to our advantage as we were able to stay far longer at parties and then sleep in. Not that this extended to New Year’s Eve. Midnight is still beyond us
  • Sewed a quilt in one day! I had promised a quilt for my brother-in-law’s first baby, due next month, and had got as far as buying and pre-washing the fabric before Christmas took over everything. So last week, I decided to just get it done, keeping the design as simple as possible. Little B even helped by pressing the sewing machine foot pedal for me, and painstakingly pulling out all the pins and carefully putting them into the pin cushion. It was such a revelation that I could get an easy quilt done in a day, as all my others (well, all four of them) have taken between two months and five years to complete.
  • An amusing language barrier at a play date with a new family yesterday (it’s so easy to meet New Yorkers when you both have young kids! Such a blessing). We were remarking on how much we like Osh Kosh B’Gosh dungarees, called ‘overalls’ here, since both B and her son were dressed in a pair. She then said her two year old son also liked wearing ‘pants and suspenders’. I looked at her carefully. “Pants and suspenders? Really? How do those work?” She explained they helped hold pants (trousers) up. “Ooooooh. In England those would be found in the women’s fancy lingerie aisle.” It was v funny, up there with the group of school moms who looked shocked and stepped back when I once said I was ‘full of beans’


  • Can’t quite believe I’m writing this, but we’re all wondering where the snow is. Last year we flew back from Christmas straight into shockingly cold snow and ice, and it added a whole layer of drama and excitement to the school run. Yet so far this winter has been unusually mild, only just dipping towards freezing every few days. The Battery Park City wind is still predictably arctic, but there’s no snow on the ground and you can see daffodil and crocus bulbs sprouting. Of course, by writing this, it’s bound to snow tomorrow and then I’ll be cursing about the slippery conditions and ridiculous time it takes to tog the girls up before leaving the building.

Author: Alex

Hello. Toddling Round New York is my own little blog of our family's experience of moving young kids from London to New York... And of having a baby out here. They are my own baby steps of exploring this incredible city. I lived in five countries in four continents growing up, so you'd think I'd be good at this by now. Here you'll find stories and photographs of our adventures, the highs and the lows of expat parenthood, and some ideas I hope you'll find useful if you're in New York with young kids.

One thought on “Starting a new Christmas tradition”

  1. I always look forward to reading your blog, always an enjoyable honest read xx

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