Christmas tends to be a haze in the best possible way. This year was no exception. There's the haze through the fog which lingers creating a mystical veil over the land. There's the haze of the fire playing excitedly in the fireplace. There's the haze created by way too much mulled wine (let's be honest) or for me, natural merriment and that's just the adults.
For children, that time of year has come again where Santa keeps a watchful eye and if they're lucky this gloriously rotund, generous character will bestow upon them gifts.
Well, maybe I'm exaggerating just a little but it's exciting if you can experience some of the end of year festivities and most importantly spend much valued time with family and friends. This year there was a slight twist to my usual Christmas celebrations. Eight of my family members and I packed up and went to the countryside. It was the first time we hadn't all been round to a relative's house.
The trick was to book a cottage for rental in advance. The five bedroom house and grounds ended up accommodating us humans and an active French bulldog really well. It was mainly open plan with characterful nooks and crannies and two separate wings for the sleeping quarters.
The owner had kindly left a Christmas tree with decorations for us to choose from, considering small children who don't want to miss out on that aspect of Christmas, or even adults!
The only thing we had to worry about was food! For those who are wondering, I would suggest considering your budget depending on how fancy you want Christmas dinner and meals on the surrounding days. Inevitably you do end up topping up throughout your stay, and will have wastage, but can keep it to a minimum by, for example, only buying foods the majority will like. Try to get as much delivered to where you're staying or close by shops, if possible. If not, you may have a car bursting at the seams on the way there, so keep the space you need in mind.
Choose your cottage based on local amenities and attractions. You might as well make the most of the area while you're there, right? Where I went in Suffolk had beautiful forests, farms and a speckle of neighbouring villages to explore.
Also consider whether the house is detached or not. If you don't have neighbours, you will undoubtedly have more freedom to play music and have a REAL party. In our cottage nearly all rooms had Wi-Fi and the main reception room had a TV, your preferences may differ of course.
Getting away over Christmas is not for everyone, especially in a large group, but it can be hassle-free. You won't have the pressure put on one person hosting at theirs and it's a great excuse to get out of the city (or to one, depending on where you live) and away from the humdrum of daily life.
I hope you had a magical Christmas and wish you a wonderful New Year's!