Mum-of-11 spends £3.5k on Christmas presents that take almost two weeks to wrap

A couple with 11 kids have revealed the efforts they go through to plan Christmas for their family.

Joanne O'Rourke, from north London, and her husband Tommy begin their food shopping for the big day in September.

And it takes the pair almost two weeks to finish wrapping the mountains of presents for the household.

The couple, who share 10 biological kids and have one foster child, are determined to make Christmas extra special this year.

Both Joanne and Tommy budget a £150 spend on each of their kids, Brodie, eight months, Neave, three, Danny, four, Freddie, seven, Ashley-Dean, eight, Tommy, 10, their foster daughter Riley, 11, Joe, 14, Lauren, 15, and Mitchell, 17.

But despite being on a budget, Christmas costs around £3,500 every year.

Tommy, a forklift driver, starts prepping for dinner the night before and doesn't go to bed until 4am Christmas Day – despite waking up at 6am to continue.

The parents spend a total of 11 days and 20 hours wrapping up all the presents, with each child getting their own stocking as well.

Joanne said: "It's manic the first hour they are up; they get up at 6am and come down to find their own piles with their own individual wrapping paper and it's just mayhem.

"It's a magical day though and I wouldn't change it for the world. We still haven't wrapped any gifts so far this year, but they are all bought. We have no choice but to start early to make sure we're prepared."

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She added: "I will gradually pick things up throughout the year if I find something; we spend the whole year saving up for Christmas.

"As well as presents, we get them each a stocking which we hang on the stairs and we all wear matching Christmas pyjamas the night before. Christmas is so much fun in our house; with the Covid restrictions it will just have to be us because we're such a big family.

"We have two space saving tables which we bring out and extend for Christmas so we can all sit round and talk to each other – it's definitely our favourite time of year and this is the first Christmas with Brodie.

"People assume the house is always crazy but we're used to it; the kids tend to get on and just bicker over little things now and then."

Tommy, who is in charge of making the Christmas dinner, continued: "We get three different meats – one turkey that feeds 22 people, a beef joint and a honey roast ham.

"Then we have all of the normal extras like pigs in blankets, mash potatoes, roast potatoes, stuffing and three different types of vegetables.

"We start buying the food in September and we get it from different supermarkets like Asda, Aldi and Iceland to make sure we're getting the best deals. I've been doing the Christmas dinner for years now and I have my own routine so I'm used to it."

The family have three social media pages with over 30,000 followers where they share all their budgeting and hacks.

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