WITH AMBER WILDE
OF MEET THE WILDES
Tradition holds a special meaning around this time of the year, but why not do something different and create new memories with your little ones?
We follow Amber and Kirsty Wilde as they take their two sets of twins; sons Lysander and Balthazar and daughters Embla and Olympia on a fun Christmas adventure by the British seaside. Get ready to be inspired.
When I was a child, Christmas was a magical time; my favourite time of year. The whole period from my birthday, on the 13th December, to January 1st of the next year, felt imbued with enchantment and promise; in the evenings, my sister and I would watch the sky for snow, convinced that this Christmas would be the one, the white one. Our home was always beautiful but Christmas elevated it to something else entirely; it made it wonderful. We were captivated by the twinkling lights, the star on the tree, the scent of pine in the air. At Christmas time, our home came alive with people and with laughter, with mulled wine and with joy.
We lost that house in my parents’ divorce. We lost family celebrations at the same time; my eleventh Christmas was the last Christmas in which we celebrated with all of my grandparents under one roof. The separation of my parents was one of the best things that ever happened to me, but I do miss the house. And I miss the Christmases that I might have given my children. Separately, I miss my own childhood innocence. Christmas Day in our own little home is beautiful and special to me, but it’s not a gathering of extended family. Christmas, for us, can take place anywhere.
I wanted to give myself a chance to breathe. Christmas Day, traditional Christmas Day, is wonderful and overwhelming, exciting and exhausting, and whilst Christmas as a mother brings its own beauty, sometimes I find it hard. Traditional Christmas still has its place for us, but after consultation with my partner, we decided that this year we will dial down the 25th December a notch and spread the excitement over the course of the month. So we booked a train ride to the beach for a winter picnic, we will acknowledge the Solstice on the 21st, and on Christmas Day you’ll find us playing with presents, enjoying wrapping paper fights and thoroughly disconnected from the pressures of social media that remind me that our Christmases used to be different: busier, more expensive – ‘better’.
CHRISTMAS, FOR US, CAN
TAKE PLACE ANYWHERE.
The seaside is our special place. All summer, my children flitted in and out of the water like dolphins; they played ‘chicken’ with the waves and tossed pebbles into the water. They built sandcastles and stone castles, dribbled ice cream down their chins, spun around in sugar-high circles whilst we held hands and laughed. They’ve been pleading to go back ever since the cold started creeping in. When we thought about treating ourselves to a new winter tradition, it seemed obvious that we would return to the water.
What Were You Most Excited To Do?
We visited Margate, which is only about an hour and a half by train from our home in London. We wrapped the children so that they would be warm and snuggly, and took a walk across the beach followed by a chip ‘picnic’. When the toddlers had exhausted the wintry delights of the beach, we took them to Dreamland, a permanent fairground beside the sea. We rode the Ferris wheel and exclaimed at the seaside far below, shared horses on the carousel, and documented a tradition that will – I hope – age with us as our children grow.
WE RODE THE FERRIS WHEEL AND EXCLAIMED
AT THE SEASIDE FAR BELOW, SHARED HORSES ON
THE CAROUSEL AND DOCUMENTED A TRADITION
THAT WILL – I HOPE – AGE WITH US AS OUR CHILDREN GROW.
What Was The Highlight Of The Trip?
For me, the highlight of this trip was stepping away from ‘traditional’ Christmas, from the experiences that I won’t be able to share with them. As a perfectionist who happens also to be a parent, and somebody who browses social media for a living, it’s easy to get caught up in other people’s Christmases, to measure them against my own and to feel somehow inadequate. I try to remember that all of this emotion, this anxiety, is rooted in love and in the desire to give them everything. But it’s not healthy for any of us; I promised myself that this year, we would keep ‘Christmas’ low-key and embrace December, embrace Winter, instead. It was beautiful to hold their icy little hands, to feed them hot chips, to chase them and to listen to them laugh. At the close of the day, we tucked the boys into bed and from our own beds, we heard them chattering to each other about their day. It hit me then that these are the memories that we’re building for our own children – these are the Christmases that they will remember. Christmas on the beach.
What Did The Little Ones Think About This Nontraditional Christmas?
A day at their favourite place, with most of their favourite people? It was magical for them. I think they were a little surprised that it’s not warm all year-round at the seaside though!
What Was Essential To This Trip?
The very warmest of clothes! The British sea in winter is not kind; the frigid air burrows beneath whatever you’re wearing, comfort depends on multiple layers of clothing and generous outer layers.
Will You Be Doing Something Similar Next Year?
With thanks to Amber Wilde and her beautiful family X