Last weekend, I had a conversation with a friend about Christmas and they're not doing Christmas this year, not even in an alternative way.Although I can see her point of view and it's such a personal thing that I wouldn't even dream of trying to convince her to change her mind, I'm surprised at how confronting I found the whole idea of opting out of Christmas altogether. It's been running through my mind all week at work, superimposed with the photos here. (Christmas 1972, I would have been eight. We lived in Ringwood in a street that I'm not sure exists anymore. I love that photo of Betty and me under the tree in our new nighties. And how cool was my mum?). Of course like many people, I skipped a couple of years as a young adult but now that I'm a parent, I find myself wanting to recreate the Christmases that I had as a child. Christmases that I loved and found terribly exciting and now I'm getting to relive that. We were very lucky to have parents that made Christmas fun without being too overwhelming and there was always a big (in my child's mind) pile of presents that we would rip into. Some were practical things like towels and nighties or new dresses made by my mum. I loved those new dresses and there are many photos of Christmases past where Betty and I are wearing our new dresses.
Then there were the big Christmas lunches. With the sense of ritual and dare I say, obligation. Perhaps also a side serve of tension at times. Especially as we got older and definitely around the time my parents separated. There was one truly awful Christmas that year and I think I refused to see them together for a few years, but it's all good now. I loved those lunches as a child and I still do now. Especially towards the end when the presents have all been handed out and I relax into it all. And this year I've enjoyed the preparation more than I have for the last couple of years. I'm less tense, more settled into this house. And yeah, I'm starting to accept/understand my role in this family as far as Christmas goes. Sometimes I think we get too worried that we'll overdo it, but I think that hasn't happened so far. In fact I'm quite looking forward to being there when Grace opens her presents and having lunch at Mum's. Tomorrow I just have some food shopping and prep to do and then it's relaxo all the way. Yay.
So anyway, that's me for a couple of days. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all who read here! See you on the other side.