Sensing a theme? Yes I love love LOVE Christmas. I get stressed over money, but that is nothing compared to the joy Christmas brings.
I am not religious. I understand the Christmas started with the Christian religion, I am not debating that at all, but I think for a lot of families it is no longer about that. In our family it is all about spending the day together, sharing a meal and giving gifts that we hope the recipient likes.
The tree and Decorations: I love Christmas trees. For years we used the fake tree we bought at the reject shop for $19 on our first Christmas. It was decorated with baubles we picked up cheap and some fairy lights (also from the reject shop). It was so dodgy, but it brings back memories of our first Christmas in our little flat. Two years ago I decided I wanted Christmas to be a bit more “Martha” so we purchased all new decorations in bright colours (purple, hot pink, orange and lime green) and wrapped every present in brown paper with a belly band in the same colours as the decorations. After the success of that I decided I wanted to be even more design-y – so we snuck out and chopped down a bare little tree, stripped it and painted it white. It looked amazing decorated with only red & white baubles. Underneath all the presents were wrapped in red & white. It looked amazing! But as much fun as I was having the children were confused as to why they couldn’t put up their home made decorations and why we had a branch for a tree. Rather than be the Grinch who stole the Christmas tree, this year we are having a real tree (which brings back memories of my mum vacuuming under the tree everyday) and the girls can put anything on there they want. While I dream of a home right off the pages of Martha Stewart Living, the reality is as long as I have my kids at home…well unless I want to screech “Don’t touch that” all day, it just isn’t going to happen.
Food: Every year I put on at least 5 kgs on Christmas day and fall into a turkey induced coma by 2pm. Food is definitely a huge part of Xmas for me, and it has become that way for my girls as well. They love our pancake and ice cream breakfast tradition and help me plan the Christmas menu. Their father cooks most days, so it is the one time of year I really make a huge effort to feed my family. It makes me feel all warm and glowy to give my family a home cooked spread for Christmas. From Turkey to Ham to my mums potato salad and my chocolate Pav….I spend days cooking in the lead up so that on Christmas day we can eat together without the stress of me in the kitchen. It is also the one time of year my girls don’t eat to a schedule….they love being able to eat all day and have pav before turkey if they want. I also love that I don’t have to cook for a week after as all we eat are left overs!
Presents: I love giving presents. More than that, I love tracking down the perfect present for someone. Let’s say you casually mention through the year you are stopping the use of beauty products…you can expect to get a book on how to make your own natural beauty products (that was a scenario from last year). Let’s say your ex room mate is an uber geek and has spent months trying to track down an authentic Turkish Fez (a red hat with a black tassle)…you can expect that (and possibly two other authentic turkish hats) to be in your lap Christmas day (assuming they clear customs in time…I purchased them from Istanbul!). Whenever I get a card with money in it – I feel sad. I ramble on all the time about stuff I am interested in, and when someone I think I am close to hands me over a generic gift card it just makes me think they haven’t put any thought into it. I know it’s suppose to be the thought that counts….but even our ex room mate (who is single, lives alone and wears steam punk googles and a long black leather jacket everywhere and can’t cook or clean or talk to girls) takes the time to pick out a DVD he knows you will love and buys the girls a HUGE bag of craft stuff (that he then gets you to wrap because he is a guy who can’t wrap stuff)…well it makes you wonder why others don’t put some thought in. All year I keep a notepad on my computer with who I need to buy for and any time I hear someone mention something that would make an awesome gift it goes on the list. I know people are busy at Christmas – but I homeschool 4 kids, the twins are born in December and I organise secret santas for Christmas parties….well I am busy too. Even my nana who lives in Sydney (and until this year was the primary care giver to her son with schizophrenia, her father who was 94 and had the onset of dementia and a boyfriend who broke his hip and lived 6 floors up with no elevator) manages to get the girls thoughtful presents. I don’t think a present needs to be store bought, or be expensive…just thoughtful.
Wrapping: I practically bounce off the walls when it comes time to wrap things. When I ran my business every clients order was beautifully boxed and wrapped. It wasn’t a business decision so much as a compulsion. Last year (the red & white year) I ran all over Melbourne getting various red & white wrappings. I went to spotlight and bought red & white ribbons of every type and width. I shun little sticker tags that don’t go with my theme and even hand made over 150 tags for the bright colour year. But no matter how hard I try, they never look like Marthas *sad face*. A few years ago I ran into my Mother In Law (who hates me) wrapping presents at a little stall (fundraising for her church) set up in the local shopping centre. I almost had a heart attack at the terrible job they were doing so I took over….probably the only time she was nice to me and I was the bitch telling little old church ladies their wrapping was shit! I love making a present look beautiful. As with the present itself, I want the recipient to know how much love and care went into it….well that and I have mild OCD. Big bows and boxes and tissue and coordinated wrapping make me happy. I also love watching my girls rip through my handiwork to find out what they get. It’s a sickness I tell you.
Music: The girls father can’t stand Christmas music…especially when I put on the CD with the scary sounding children signing carols…but I love it. It makes me grin. I do tend to prefer classics sung by Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra…but even the anti Christmas Song sung by Blink-182 reminds me of my wayward brother so I love it. I keep my Christmas music on my ipod all year round and when it pops up randomly it makes me grin like a Cheshire cat (and possibly makes people on the train even more scared of me). My current favourite is “Baby It’s Cold Outside” Particularly this version with Rainn Wilson & Selma Blair for the Gap in 2008
Movies: I love Christmas movies. If it stars “The Muppets” and is a musical as well…well then you have checked all the boxes! If I had to pick a favourite it would be a toss up between “A Muppet Christmas Carol” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas. I love watching all the cheesey Christmas movies, I love it even more when the cheesey Christmas movie is aimed at kids and I can watch it snuggled up on the lounge with my baby girls. As a kid I remember watching movies on Christmas Eve the stop motion “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman”. Watching Christmas movies not only gets me in the spirit, it makes me hopeful…they always have a “Christmas Miracle”.This year we are planning on watching one a day in the lead up to Christmas complete with popcorn, snuggling, hot chocolate and me sobbing like a baby!
Books: Ever since the girls were babies I have read to them. Now they are older (and reading a 500page novel in a few hours) I read to them less and less. At Christmas things are different. We have so many Christmas picture books and I love sitting in bed with the girls reading to them. Even the older two who look at you funny when suggesting reading to them eventually sneak in to the twins room and get as close as possible. I never fail to tear up at the end of a book and thats when they snuggle me even more…which makes it the best part.
Myer Christmas Windows: This will be our 8th Christmas in Melbourne and the Myer Christmas windows have been apart of our Christmas traditions the last few years. My girls aren’t big on crowds so we avoid the parade and most other big Christmas events in Melbourne, with the exception of the Myer Christmas windows. They always do such an amazing job. I can’t wait to see this years “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” theme.
so what about you? What is your favourite thing about Christmas?