If you’re already feeling the strain of Christmas on your sanity and bank balance then spare a thought for Emma and Roy Hann.
The devoted couple have an incredible 12 children with another on the way which means their festive period involves serious amounts of preparation, enough food to feed an army and a bill totalling a whopping £2,000.
“We try to buy in bulk and our children aren’t materialistic but the cost of Christmas is still huge. We try to save throughout the year and just be careful with spending and do the best we can,” says Emma, 45.
With children ranging in age between three and 23, Christmas in the Hann household requires serious levels of imagination and resourcefulness to cater for such a different range of tastes and ages.
The family consists of Rachel, 23, Sophia, 22, Polly, 20, Charlotte, 18, Alice, 16, Annabelle, 14, Jennifer, 12, Isabella, 10, Jonas, nine, Enos, six, Eva, five, and three-year-old Posy.
Another daughter is due in February. And bar Rachel who is married, they all share the family’s five bedroom former council house home in Dundee.
Christmas is delivered on nurse practitioner Roy’s salary as Emma is a full-time mum.
And with 14 mouths to feed their Christmas food bill is “massive”, but it’s the presents that cost the most – coming in at more than half of the £2,000 price-tag.
Emma says: “We’re very budget-conscious so we try not to spend more than £50 on the younger ones and no more than £100 on the older ones. We don’t do a lot of gifts and try to get one big thing each, as well as their stockings. The kids have always been pretty good about it but mostly they’ve asked for a mixture of toys, a phone on a contract which we’ll pay, make-up, box-sets, a Kindle, and Lego. I know some big families start preparing early on in the year but we’re last-minute people, which works as the children can change their minds about what they want quite a lot. It also means we can get the best deals we can possibly get – we bought a lot on Black Friday. We just try to do the best we can and buy them things we know they’d really like. Luckily, they’re not that bothered if others have more spent on them. The non-commercial side of it, the story of Jesus, is very important to us too.”
The couple always wanted a big family but never imagined they would end up with so many children, and although they don’t rule out having more after their new daughter arrives, Emma admits she and Roy may have to stop at 13.
She says: “We never had any number in mind, we just wanted a big family. But we’re shocked we’ve had so many and I’m 45 so I’m pretty much near my end.”
And now they have turned their Christmas routine into a fine art, one or two extra mouths to feed should not make life too difficult.
On Thursday they will get through an incredible 10kg of turkey, 4kg of ham and 10kg of potatoes – “the kids love their potatoes,” says Emma – as well as 2.5kg each of carrots and parsnips, 60 chipolatas and two huge trays of stuffing.
And this is on top of 28 pints of milk, four dozen eggs, and as many as 20 loaves of bread they polish off every week.