Christmas 2018 will be soon upon us, and the Christmas songs are already being played on the radio and TV! Michael Buble croons “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”, and we all agree there is nothing better at Christmastime than being with our family and having special times together – be it in front of the telly watching Christmas TV, playing lot of different games, eating and drinking, going for nice walks and of course the ultimate joy of watching your children opening those presents which Father Christmas has brought them on Christmas Day! For many people, the thought of going on holiday and being away from your home at Christmas is something which they would never consider doing, and we here at Travel with the Tribe used to feel exactly the same……until 2012, when after having a conversation about the stresses and strains of entertaining our large family, we decided to take the plunge and book a week away in Cornwall for Christmas, at the award winning Bosinver Family Cottages. Some of our tribe had already visited this family-run, self catering accommodation for a holiday in the summer, and so with that knowledge we booked and decided for the first time to spend Christmas away from home (we had to take the Santa Stop Here sign to ensure that Father Christmas also followed us!!!) So if you and your family are considering a holiday away at Christmas, and wondering if it’s for you, hopefully this post will help to answer some of those questions about whether you could or should, and still have a magical, stress free and argument free time with your families – if we can still enjoy it even with a case of Chickenpox (!!!!) then we’re sure you can too…..
Bosinver Family Cottages, ran by Pat, Dave (more warmly known as Farmer Dave as he does tend to drive around Bosinver in his tractor quite a lot!) and their son Mark, alongside Helen and Elaine, have created a place in Bosinver which places family at it’s very centre. The Smith family have spent decades investing their time, energy and money into Bosinver, just outside St Austell in Cornwall and have put all of their love into a place where family comes first, and the more traditional experience of childhood is an absolute priority. Going to Bosinver is like going back in time, where childhood was about creating imagination, having fun and togetherness, and staying there helps you and your family to get back to basics where everyone – either young or old – can get involved. Guests here can enjoy the outdoors in a safe and secure environment, children can roam around it’s many acres of land and countryside, enjoy the Gruffalo Trails, get muddy on the Zip Wire and swings, Grab tennis rackets from reception and play tennis on it’s court, go swimming in it’s beautiful warm indoor pool, and borrow plenty of board games (even “Nanny”Pat provides baking boxes for children to bake!) – there really is everything there which children either young or old can want. When our tribe were younger, they also used to take part in the daily “Animal Feed”, where Farmer Dave lets the chickens, Sheep and Goats out for their daily feed, and children are encouraged to help feed the animals before collecting their daily egg to take back to their cottage to cook for breakfast! It really is an idyllic place to be, but even more so at Christmas – and this is why we think going away with your family in an excellent idea, even being away from your own kitchen, cooking your Christmas dinner in a different kitchen can feel like a break!! Yes, you might not know your way around this kitchen in the same way as you do at home, but who cares – you’re on holiday!
When we first went away for Christmas 2012, we had no idea of what to expect really, or whether it would work for us all to be in the same cottage for a week, and what we would do when we were there! As there were 10 of us, we split into 2 cottages, one for 8 of us, and the Grandparents were in the smaller cottage next to us! We stayed in Lowen, an ultra-modern eco house, made out of sustainable materials and Bosinver’s “baby”. There is something amazing (after travelling for almost 3 hours, with your car and roofbox laden with food, drink, clothes and Chrismas presents) when walking into Lowen for the very first time – Bosinver always”greets” you with something, be it afternoon tea if you stay in the summer, or at Christmas you get the delights of a bottle of sparkling fizz, mince pies and chocolates on your dining table, ready to enjoy, and a cottage decorated throughout with Christmas decorations, and a beautiful Christmas tree – already decorated and just needing the presents to go under it!
This seems to be commonplace at many places we’ve stayed in for Christmas, and as soon as you walk in you begin to feel completely chilled and relaxed, forgetting about the fact that 3 hours previously you were leaving your house and driving past a massive traffic jam to get into the local supermarket! Fizz open, Christmas music on, tree lights shining, hot tub heating up – what better way to wind down! About an hour later, our Asda shop arrived, which we had ordered before we left Bristol, so most of the Christmas food shop had been done, and within a couple of hours packed away. That left us to get a few luxury items from M&S in Truro, and milk/bread to keep us topped up throughout the week. If you do this, you’re guaranteed to make things easier for yourselves, particularly if you’re like us and are the cooks in the house, our pre-decided food plan was put in the kitchen ready to go – yes, some people might find that a bit too organised, but having been to Disney a few times, being massively organised is ingrained in us all here at Travel with the Tribe now, and we wouldn’t do it any other way! We always get together a few weeks before – a nice opportunity to have a few drinkies and some food together – and plan out our breakfast, lunch and dinners when we’re away, including of course the biggie – Christmas Dinner!!
Being away at somewhere like Bosinver gives your teens the flexibility to go off and do what they want to do, and you feel perfectly happy in the knowledge that they are safe, secure, and enjoying their surroundings and being together – doing things which kids should do, getting outdoors and enjoying the countryside and fresh air. This generation of young people have grown up with their phones, games consoles, tablets and eyes fixed to various different screens, and get a lot of criticism for not being active enough, social enough or imaginative enough. If you and your family choose to go away somewhere for Christmas where there are a number of activities for your kids available to do, it gets them away from those screens and gives them that sense of adventure and fun which is similar to Enid Blyton’s “Famous Five” books from the 1950’s! We want our children to be children, to fall in the mud and put on their welly boots and jump in “muddy puddles” – we want them to be kids while they can be! One of the great things about going away is that our tribe of teens get to do exactly that, and it’s interesting that those devices with “screens” are not missed at all, being away from that is a great distraction. They sleep better too – all that fresh air tires them out!!!!
Being away for Christmas is special because you’re all together all of the time. Having said that, there are still plenty of opportunities for you all to do your own thing, when you want to. The kids can chill out together, the adults can have a cheeky drink in the afternoon if you haven’t got to drive anywhere, you can put a bit of Christmas telly on, or go out for a walk and clear your mind of all the stresses and strains of everyday life. It really helps to organise yourselves too, no more of that last minute shopping on Christmas Eve to buy presents for loved ones you haven’t bought for yet, or the madness of supermarket food shops in the days leading up to Christmas Day, when you are invariably in a queue to find a parking space, or are being whacked by shopping trolleys when trying to get the last packet of Brussels Sprouts – and that’s even before you’ve had your breakfast!
Being away from it all also gives you the opportunity to enjoy the surroundings and get out and visit a few places in the local area – if you feel up to it! Being at Bosinver is a great place to visit numerous places in the vicinity of our cottage, not too far away but still worth visiting. Over the past few years we’ve made our annual evening visit to the Eden Project for ice skating and hot chocolate, but we also enjoy going into Falmouth, Mevagissey, Padstow, St Austell….all of which are close by, and if we do feel like hitting the shops, or getting out in the car for a little drive we know we can gather up the tribe and get going! And of course, there are the beaches! Polpean, Polperro and Goran Haven are near to us if we want to grab the kids and dogs and just have a walk on the beach – not the usual thing you would do on a Tuesday afternoon, and certainly not what you would do if you were at home!
Being away anywhere at Christmas takes a degree of organisation and planning. It isn’t something you can just decide to do, even a last minute decision to go away needs a certain amount of preparation. But having been away now for every Christmas since 2018, and this year too, we wouldn’t do it any other way now. It is so relaxing, once all of the hard work is done and dusted, presents wrapped, food bought and clothes packed, we feel the stress begin to leave our weary bones as soon as we hit the motorway, and the Christmas CD playlist starts to play! It’s a different experience to being at home, but no less special, the kids can have a great adventure and the adults can eat, drink and be merry to their hearts content, knowing that everyone is happy as Larry in warm, comfortable surrounding, and more importantly together, enjoying the simple things in life – a game of Bingo, a chat, telling a few jokes and all snuggled up on the sofas – memories like this last forever. If you are thinking about going away at Christmas, we say go for it,we know lots of people who have gone away for the festive period and booked the following year, it isn’t for everyone but it’s worth trying once. Our Christmas’s over the past few years have been some of the best we’ve ever had, and our kids have had the best times, so we would thoroughly recommend giving yourselves aswell as your tribe a truly relaxing and well-deserved break away from it all. You never know, it may even be a “White Christmas” too! From all of us here at Travel With The Tribe, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas!