It still feels like Christmas is ages away, but it isn't. It will be on us in 18 days. That's less than 3 weeks. So this weekend I'm going to plan the menu, work out who brings what, draw the Kris Kringle, make shopping lists, draw up a timetable and communicate all of the above to all parties concerned with tact and joy. While also being firm. And make jam. I got this meme from Penni. I've also taken the liberty of Australianising it just a little. I can't answer questions about the holidays and mean Christmas, it just doesn't work for me. And Santa isn't in my lexicon. If you're from the US and copy it from me, please feel free to change it back. I've left the references to cold weather though.
Neither. It's too hot for hot anything and the thought of drinking raw egg in summer just makes me feel ill. Eventhough I know that we eat raw egg in homemade mayonaise or mousse. Actually I think I've only had eggnog once, Christmas in Ireland sometime in the eighties. Boy,was I homesick. So chrissy drinks for me would include beer, wine, champagne, diet ginger, lots of water.
Does Father Christmas wrap presents or just set them under the tree?
Father Chistmas wraps all presents and when he makes the delivery, places them in the pillow case left under the tree. Then he has his snack. Very large items, eg a bike, might be left under the tree with a bow around them. Presents from anyone else are wrapped and placed under the tree.
Coloured lights on tree/house or white?
We don't put lights on the tree or around the house but if we did they'd be coloured. The white thing while lovely, is far too tasteful and restrained for me.
Do you hang mistletoe?
When do you put your decorations up?
The box of plastic tree bits and decorations has already been retrieved from the shed. I'm thinking of putting it all up about a week before Christmas. Mainly because I think it might be very tempting for Grace to try climb up and pull it apart. Maybe next year we'll start a bit earlier.
What's your favourite Christmas dish?
My mum's sago plum pudding, bought to the table covered in flames and served with brandy spice sauce and cream. It's the recipe that her mother, my nan, used to make. It's such a favourite that my mum has to make extra, so there's enough for us all to take a piece home to have cold for breakfast on boxing day. I've made it once and didn't dissolve the sago properly, so it had hard bits in it. It occurs to me that I will need to be properly trained in the way of the sago plum pudding so that the mantle of pudding maker can pass to me (or sister Betty) when the time is right. But I think mum has many years of pudding making in front of her, so not yet.
Favourite Christmas memory as a child?
The big pine bough we used to have as a Christmas tree in the corner of the lounge. Cut from one of the pine trees out in the vacant block behind our house, and usually reaching nearly to the ceiling. We used tp spend a night decorating it together. And opening presents in the morning with my sister, Betty. As a kid my favourite presents were the new clothes made by my mother and the gold wrapped chocolate coins. There are lots of pictures of us wearing our Christmas dresses and smiling. I've already decided to make Grace a new outfit (or two) with matching clothes for her dolly. And in a year or two, a real Christmas tree.
When and how did you learn the truth about Father Christmas?
I honestly can't remember. So it must have been gentle. I magine we kind of knew but went along with it until we were almost teenagers.
Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
No. Absolutely not.
How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
More is more in my book when it comes to tree decoration. Which definitely works with the little plastic tree we have. I try and buy one or two new things every year and my taste runs to the kitsch. I like metallic balls, glass ornaments, little disco balls, old decorations and lots of tinsel. I might try and make something this year, and once Grace likes to make things, they'll definitely go on the tree and be kept from year to year.
I've also started a collection of Made in China Christmas paper ephemera. But only one thing per year, lest I get caught in a buying frenzy.
Snow! Love it or dread it?
Not part of my Christmas experience. Even in Ireland it didn't snow, although it was cold and dark, which made me even more homesick. My dread is the absolutely swelteringly hot Christmas.
Can you ice skate?
Well, yes I can actually. Not that it has anything to do with Christmas. When I was a teenager I used to speed skate. I think if I got on the ice now, I'd be wobbly for the first half hour and then pick it up again. Not that I'd ever speed skate again, you need to have no fear for that. And Black Sabbath.
Do you remember your favourite gift?
I think the pink and white striped sundress with a crossover back that my mother made me when I was about thirteen. It was hot.
What's the most important thing about Christmas for you?
That all parts of my family are welcome and get along. So as well as me and my sister and our menfolk and offspring, this includes my mum and her husband, my dad and his wife, my stepfathers's ex, my stepsisters, G's ex. Housemates, stragglers. There's room for everyone. I would like it to be the same with G's family but it isn't. We go to Tassie for some Christmases and they're different. OK but different.
What's your favourite Christmas dessert?
We've already talked about the plum pudding but there's also my mum's yo-yos and shortbread. And cherries. Lots of really, really good cherries. At least a box of the best I can find.
What's your favourite Christmas tradition?
I quite like the silly hats and bad jokes form the bonbons. And work Christmas parties with the really lame Kris Kringle where at least one of the gifts is a borderline (public service) code of conduct issue.
What tops your tree?
A gold star from the big bag of ornaments I got from the opshop two days before the first big, all sides of the family together at our place, Christmas. The day I decided we really needed a tree and some decorations of some sort, walked into the Salvos and they had exactly what I wanted. Some of the decorations are vintage and almost tasteful. But not the star, that's plain tack .
Which do you prefer: giving or receiving?
Giving? I like planning and wrapping presents, if not the shopping. Shopping's OK if I have lots of time and a good list, and can find what I want. Must plan shopping soon. Receiving's pretty fun too. I'm really looking forward to seeing whether Grace gets the present concept this year.
I like hymns and proper Christmas carols. The old traditional ones. I'm not religious but I like the power and magic of the Christmas story, especially through song. Best of all is massed singing, not by choirs, but by large congregations, large enough to have a variety of voices and large enough to carry those who don't sing well. Unfortunately, I'm one of those that don't sing well but I do enjoy singing and having my voice blend with others. We also have a record of old German Christmas choral music which usually gets some play at this time of year. And I quite like the cheesy old stuff, you know It's beginnng to smell a lot like Christmas or some such. And of course ye olde jingle bells...
These seem to appear mysteriously on my desk at work, to be eaten in the car on the way home. I don't buy them, though.
So I feel a little more Christmassy. Not quite as grinchy as I thought.