Family's Christmas is a real housefull

Many families face an annual struggle to cram everyone around the table for Christmas lunch or find enough money to buy every relative the perfect gift - but the Torres clan have the skill down to a fine art.

IPSWICH: Many families face an annual struggle to cram everyone around the table for Christmas lunch or find enough money to buy every relative the perfect gift.

But for the Torres family in Ipswich, gathering the family together is a daily challenge that has only been perfected by years of teamwork and practice.

Am�rico and Cristina Torres have an incredible 11 children, ranging in age from 20 months to 19 years old.

Although eldest son Mosiah was not at home for the festivities this year, he managed to link up with his brothers, sisters and parents thanks to the wonders of the internet.

But the family still had a very full house after inviting three guests to dinner on Christmas Eve - the traditional day of celebrations in their native Portugal, from where they moved in 2007.

Mr Torres, 48, said: “When you become a specialist, it's easy. It's not something you can learn in one or two weeks but it's ok after a while.

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“We are very careful with spending our money, we work with a budget always. Working with a budget is essential, so we have many financial rules that we follow to avoid debts.

“We avoid them totally - if we don't have money to buy it, we don't buy it; we don't use credit cards or loans.

“We go to the big supermarkets and we buy the value brands so we don't spend that much. For Christmas (presents) we go to charity shops and go to the sales.

“We try buying cheap and our children are not too demanding. They understand that happiness is not having material things.

“All these values are around the family. They (the children) understand and they enjoy these values. They like the feeling that it's not about gifts and presents - it's about love and caring for each other. This is our Christmas.”

The family is made up of Am�rico, Cristina, 45, and their children Mos�ah, 19, Katiuska, 18, Lara Lycia, 16, Ariel, 14, Eddie, 13, Diego Giovanni, 13, Adriann N�fi, 11, Jaredynne, nine, Jared Dann, seven, Joseph Benjamin, four, and Sim�n Domingos, 20 months.

They are very religious and belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, carrying out volunteer work when possible although Mr Torres is currently unemployed and seeking work to help support his family.

Mosiah is undertaking missionary work in Leeds but Diego, who goes to Holywells High School, said the family still had a great Christmas, chatting to their absent brother through Skype.

He said that Christmas dinner had sensibly been spread over two tables - one for the older children and adults, the other for the younger siblings.

He said: “It was a nice Christmas. We always do plays and sing songs as well and we sometimes make presents for each other.

“We do argue, but most of the time we are together and we get along. We didn't have any snow in Portugal where we lived but we got excited when it snowed here.”