And so concludes the festivities for the Season.
Ish. I still have rellos coming sometime later … in the next week or so; so there will be another “Christmas Day”. We’ll burn that bridge when we get to it …
This year, the ‘formal’ Christmas celebrations for extended family and close family friends fell on us to host. So long as I know, that’s fine – I actually don’t mind this at all and have learnt very much how to manage it without undue stress.
Basically, drink a lot of vodka in the preparations and adopt a Whatevs attitude. Try it. It’s awesome.
Of course, this required organisation much earlier in the month, commencing with The Christmas Tree. Or “mish mash tree” as it is referred to in this household.
In a fit of giving, Grumpy decided we’d order an Oxfam tree; with the proceeds going to assist those who are less fortunate. Given I had the overall responsibility for the rest of Christmas, from purchasing and wrapping presents, and everything else required, I was happy to forgo this responsibility and allowed him to have his thing.
A tree, shorten than my very self (which is not, in any world, except possibly Munchkin land, considered ‘tall’) was delivered. It was placed in a stand, and the Decoration Process commenced. I started it, the kids joined in, and Grumpy made himself scarce. Sticking to tradition …
Given the size of the tree and the size of the kids, room to decorate became a bit of an issue. As the kids are a little older, and allegedly responsible (PAH!) I left them to it. Aside from the Special Items, which they placed upon the branches carefully, decoration (so I was later told) amounted to standing back and throwing items at the tree.
I’m not entirely sure if it was a dodgy – aside form its height – tree, or the way in which the tree caught the decorations, or possibly even the stand it was in, but it took on a decidedly diagonal lean after a short time.
I was not feeling a particularly festive or merry spirit by this stage.
Aside from that, however, it was very much our ‘usual’ Mish Mash Tree, and this always makes me smile.
Later in the month, we found time to partake in our usual, annual Santa photos. We have been visiting the same Santa for many years. Since Monkey Boy was 18 days old, in fact. We love this Santa (he’s on Puckle Street in Moonee Ponds).
This activity, since the introduction of Chippie to the situation, is fraught with all manner of stress. Chippie is a particularly anxious child, and situations, even if he is willing at first, can quickly result in stubborn refusal, tantrums, and/or intense, fearful tears. No amount of comforting, cajoling, or other parental techniques will suffice.
Thankfully, I actually don’t care if he is crying, screaming, or having a tantrum in the photos; for me, this is a ‘real’ moment.
This year, he was very excited to be seeing Santa. Until we got there. Then the anxiety started to kick in, and much calming talk was required. I feel more for Santa than anyone else. Lucky he is just ace.
Chippie did remarkably well in his discussions with Santa and even cooperated when it came to having the photo taken.
The older two presented a different issue, whereby they are far too old, and it is far too embarrassing to have photos.
They partook anyway. Which only made it more fun. Possibly because I allowed them to do a stupid-face photo if they gave me at least one nice photo. I *ahem* may or may not have joined in this activity.
The day approaching, ever more rapidly, three consecutive days of “oh, I only have One More Present to purchase”, leaving house to purchase that last present, arriving home to discover I had “just One More Present” requiring purchase, and the food preparations were under way.
After five years of “assisting” me with the Gingerbread house (which inevitably goes like this: me starting a question to Grumpy with “Um … I did this … how do I fix it?” and him replying something along the lines of “How the hell did you manage that?” and either laughing, walking away shaking his head or, more often than not, both) Grumpy gave up and just took over.
Bastard – although he is Not A Pastry Chef – has this marvellous knack of looking like he’s just faffing and ultimately creates something rather marvellous looking. Bastard.
Chippie helped. His only stipulation is that dinosaurs and pfeffernuse were involved …
Our Traditional Christmas Eve With Friends was conducted and concluded without incident, and Christmas morning arrived.
My acquirements included a range of items; two of which I had inadvertently over-purchased in the midst of bulk-purchasing for a plethora of others. Another was an insistence by Monkey Boy, who really wanted to buy me something. Basically it went “What chocolate do you want?” and I pointed.
The final, a Knife Sharpener, was … well, there is a story behind it. I have a marvellous set of knives I love. They were, however, becoming quite dull. I have, for years, been wanting a knife sharpener, but Grumpy Pants insists we do not need one. He will take them to work to sharpen, or get them sharpened, or something. I have been waiting for a very, very long time. He has his own sharp knife he uses, because he takes it to work to sharpen, so he is mostly oblivious to the substandard equipment I am forced to use.
The very knife sharpener I have had my eye on was on special. Heavily discounted. So I ordered it.
And I have checked the mail daily, awaiting its arrival. I finally accept that it is probably not going to arrive this side of Christmas …
Apparently, it had been intercepted and wrapped, and, finally, gifted to me on Christmas morning.
Seems he was being serious when he suggested if I don’t purchase myself a gift when doing ALL the Christmas shopping, then I’d be disappointed Christmas morning.
Still, I did get what I wanted, so that’s a plus.
The extended family arrive and we partake in the consumption of food ritual, the present exchange, and sitting around laughing.
People even ate the dessert I made; a Christmas Pavlova … that this year was coloured green, because in a moment of delusion, I followed the advice of a six-year-old with an amazing imagination.
It was delicious.